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Google Ratchets Up OAuth Policies in Wake of Phishing Attacks

Google says it responded to the widespread Google Docs phishing campaign within one hour of detecting it.

Google has tightened up its policies surrounding OAuth third-party authentication-sharing after last week's mass phishing campaign that the search engine giant says affected less than 0.1% of its users. 

The attacks sent victims an email posing as an invite to a Google Doc from one of their own contacts and requesting access to their Google account. If the user allowed access, his or her contacts list was then sent the same phish. The attack abuses OAuth, a standard method of allowing third-party apps access to an online account.

Google in a blog post on Friday said it responded to the attacks within an hour of detecting them. "We removed fake pages and applications, and pushed user-protection updates through Safe Browsing, Gmail, Google Cloud Platform, and other counter-abuse systems," Mark Risher, Google's director of counter abuse technology, wrote.

"In addition, we're taking multiple steps to combat this type of attack in the future, including updating our policies and enforcement on OAuth applications, updating our anti-spam systems to help prevent campaigns like this one, and augmenting monitoring of suspicious third-party apps that request information from our users," he said.

Affected Google accounts have since been recovered and locked down, according to Google. 

For more details on Google's actions and recommendations, read the blog post here.