Hackers have uncovered a method to gain access to Google accounts (Gmail) without the need for a password.

Prevent Hackers from Accessing Gmail Account 2024
Prevent Hackers from Accessing Gmail Account 2024

The security vulnerability poses a significant risk to users’ personal information and raises urgent concerns about the safety of online accounts.

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A recent analysis by cybersecurity firm CloudSEK has uncovered a dangerous form of malware that exploits third-party cookies to gain unauthorized access to individuals’ private data. This malware has reportedly been actively tested by hacking groups, posing a significant threat to online security.

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The exploit came to light in October 2023 when a hacker shared details about it on a Telegram channel. According to the disclosure, the vulnerability lies in cookies, which are commonly used by websites and browsers to track user activity and enhance efficiency.

Google authentication cookies, designed to allow users seamless access to their accounts without repetitive logins, became the target. The hackers discovered a method to retrieve these cookies, bypassing two-factor authentication.

Notably, Google Chrome, the world’s most widely used web browser with over 60% market share, is currently taking measures to tighten security around third-party cookies.

In response to the threat, Google stated, “We routinely upgrade our defenses against such techniques and to secure users who fall victim to malware. In this instance, Google has taken action to secure any compromised accounts detected.”

Users are advised to remove malware from their computers regularly, and Google recommends activating Enhanced Safe Browsing in Chrome to guard against phishing and malware downloads.

The security researchers at CloudSEK emphasized the need to continuously monitor technical vulnerabilities and human intelligence sources to stay ahead of emerging cyber threats.

Pavan Karthick M, a threat intelligence researcher at CloudSEK, highlighted the severity of the issue, stating, “This exploit enables continuous access to Google services, even after a user’s password is reset.

It underscores the complexity and stealth of modern cyber attacks.” The detailed security issue analysis is outlined in a report titled ‘Compromising Google accounts: Malware Exploiting Undocumented OAuth2 Functionality for session hijacking’ by CloudSEK’s threat intelligence researcher, Pavan Karthick M.

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