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Iranian government said to be using MITM hack to spy on Gmail, other Google services

Hacker groups like Anonymous and LulzSec capture the bulk of mainstream media’s attention when it comes to hackers these days, but it looks like the Iranian government may have recently pulled off an attack that trumps both hacker groups and then some. According to reports, Iranian hackers with ties to the government have managed to executive an MITM attack that compromises Google’s SSL security. An MITM attack, or Man-In-The-Middle attack, is a cyberattack that allows an attacker to covertly intercept or even modify data as it is being transmitted between two computers over the Internet. Using a certificate issued on July 10th by Dutch SSL certificate authority DigiNotar, Iranian hackers have reportedly been able to spy on communications sent via Gmail and other Google services for more than five weeks. DigiNotar revoked the compromised SSL certificate on Monday, however most browsers do not check to see if a certificate has been revoked by default. As such, Mozilla has already released an update to Firefox and Thunderbird that revokes trust for the DigiNotar certificate, and Google said it will soon release a similar update for Chrome. Apple and Microsoft have yet to address the matter publicly or state if and when we can expect updates to Safari or Internet Explorer.


Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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