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Beware of Google Docs phishing scam

Priority Level: 
4 May 2017

Users are warned to be aware of a reported phishing scam involving a fake invitation to share a Google Docs document.

The scam sees a user receive a legitimate-looking email that may appear to be from a trusted contact inviting them to share a document on Google Docs.

Users who click on the link are directed to screens that request permission for a malicious service to access their email account, contacts and other sensitive information. If a user grants permission, the malicious service can impersonate the user when sending messages on to other Google email users.

Users may also face the risk of having information and messages from their email accounts compromised.

The scam reportedly targets Google personal and corporate email accounts.

A statement released on the Google Docs Twitter account said 'we have taken action to protect users against an email impersonating Google Docs, and have disabled offending accounts.

We've removed the fake pages, pushed updates through Safe Browsing, and our abuse team is working to prevent this kind of spoofing from happening again.

We encourage users to report phishing emails in Gmail.

If you think you clicked on a fraudulent email, visit g.co/SecurityCheckup and remove apps you don't recognise.'

Google Docs has also tweeted that they are ‘working to prevent this kind of spoofing from happening again.'

Spoofing occurs when emails are altered to appear to have come from a different source and is a method attackers commonly use to gain users' trust and increase the likelihood of a successful attack.

Staying safe

If you are unsure of the legitimacy of any message you receive, you should avoid clicking on any links or opening any attachments. You should check with the purported sender using contact details sourced from legitimate sources (not from the suspect message itself).

If you have clicked on the link or inadvertently granted permission to the malicious service, you should immediately revoke that permission using the steps recommended by Google Docs.

You should also check your account details to confirm that nothing has been changed and as an extra precaution, change your Google passwords immediately.

More information

Stay Smart Online includes information about protecting your email.

The information provided here is of a general nature. Everyone's circumstances are different. If you require specific advice you should contact your local technical support provider.