Gmail attack hits senior US officials

Google said Wednesday that hackers in China have gained access to hundreds of Gmail accounts, including those of senior U.S. government officials.

"This campaign, which appears to originate from Jinan, China, affected what seems to be the personal Gmail accounts of hundreds of users including, among others, senior U.S. government officials, Chinese political activists, officials in several Asian countries (predominantly South Korea), military personnel and journalists," said Eric Grosse, engineering director for Google's security team.

Google pointed to China as the origin of another attack on its systems last year, increasing the tension between the search giant and Chinese authorities. China's Foreign Ministry denied responsibility for the attack on Thursday.

The phishing scam involved tricking users into revealing their passwords so hackers could access the accounts and have copies of every message forwarded to external users. Google's announcement indicates a high degree of planning for the attack.

Google said the incident was not due to any security failure on Gmail's part, but still recommended users implement additional security measures such as switching to two-step authentication when logging into their account.