Access to Gmail for Chinese users remains restricted but now a state owned newspaper has offered words of advice on the matter.
Global Times, which is controlled by the Chinese authorities, said if the government has indeed blocked access to Gmail, then there must be good reasons – such as “newly emerged security reasons”.
The editorial said it that is the reason for the service not working, users “need to accept the reality of Gmail being suspended in China”.
But the editorial is interlarded with ifs and buts. It suggests that there may be a technical glitch on Google’s side. And it said the Western press has accused the government of strengthening cyber censorship.
“The issue at heart is to what extent Google is willing to obey Chinese law, on which China’s attitude is steadfast,” it continued.
Chinese law was the reason that Google decided to quit the mainland in 2010.
Global Times accuses Google of running into conflict with other authorities.
“China welcomes the company to do business on the prerequisite that it obeys Chinese law; however, Google values more its reluctance to be restricted by Chinese law, resulting in conflict.”
Reports said that the Chinese government blocked access to Gmail accounts on Friday in a bid to further throttle Google.
A freedom of speech group, GreatFire.org, claimed the government was making an attempt to wipe out any Google presence in mainland China, according to a Reuters report.
While practically all of Google’s services have been throttled in mainland China, its email service Gmail was available to people until a block was imposed on Friday.
That block is still in place today. The Chinese government operates a regime which some have dubbed the Great Firewall of China which prevents citizens from seeing internet content that it doesn’t like.
China does not officially admit that it censors some internet services and maintains that it’s all in favour of foreign investment.
Apart from Google.
Search engine behemoth Google advised users of its Gmail email software to change their passports after a Russian website was hacked.
Apparently five million passwords were hacked from a Russian site called Bitcoin Security with people from the UK, Spain and Russia.
It’s not entirely clear what all those passwords were doing on the Russian site in the first place.
Google said it was advising folk to set up two step verification on their accounts.
A representative said Google had no evidence that its own servers had been compromised.
The passwords relate not only to Gmail but other Google services.
A hole in Android, Windows, and iOS makes Gmail a doddle to hack to steal personal information.
Researchers at the California Riverside Bourns College of Engineering and the University of Michigan have identified a weakness they believe to exist across Android, Windows, and iOS operating systems that could allow malicious apps to obtain personal information.
So far the attack has been tested only on an Android phone, but it is believed that the method could be used across all three operating systems because all three can access a mobile device’s shared memory.
Zhiyun Qian, an associate professor at UC Riverside aid that one app can in fact significantly impact another and result in harmful consequences for the user.”
First, a user must download an app that appears benign, such as a wallpaper, but actually contains malicious code. Once installed, the researchers can use it to access the shared memory statistics of any process, which does not require any special privileges.
The researchers monitored changes in this shared memory and can correlate see if someone is logging into Gmail, H&R Block, or taking a picture of a cheque to deposit it online via Chase Bank. They managed to hack with a success rate of 82 to 92 percent. Using a few other side channels, the team was able to accurately track what a user was doing in real-time.
It is not that easy. The attack needs to take place at the exact moment that the user is performing the action. Second, the attack needs to be conducted in such a way that the user is unaware of it.
Of the seven apps tested, Amazon was the hardest to crack, with a 48 percent success rate. This is because the app allows one activity to transition to another activity, making it harder to guess what the user will do next.
The team will present its paper, “Peeking into Your App without Actually Seeing It: UI State Inference and Novel Android Attacks” (PDF), at the USENIX Security Symposium in San Diego on August 23. You can watch some short videos of the attacks in action below.
Among the flurry of announcements at the hours-long Google IO conference yesterday, there was one that threatened to step on Paypal’s turf – sending cash will soon be as simple as sending an email.
Provided you have a Google account set up for Google Wallet with your bank, at least in the US it is now possible to send cash for free, and all you have to do is click on a $ sign under attachments. You can link up credit or debit cards as well, which Google promises will charge low fees – a flat fee of 2.9 percent. Receiving money is free.
Users will be limited to sending $10,000 per day, or $50,000 for each five day period, which will be more than enough for most casual users. Google says sending money with your Google Wallet balance is always free and “usually instant”.
For now Google is rolling out the feature to all US Gmail users who are over 18, and earlier access will be available if friends have the feature and are actively using it.
Google also says it has purchase protection which “covers you 100 percent against eligible unauthorised payments”.
The service, if it picks up, could threaten to bite at Paypal’s ankles. It doesn’t take much searching online to find complaints about the latter, and casual users are likely to be particularly interested. For small trading, sending a protected payment via email is going to be quick and easy.
Still, there will be those turned off by such services. Having an account phished or simply compromising your own password potentially puts your cash at risk.