Google Halts Attempts to Hack Iranian E-Mail Accounts

Google Inc. (GOOG) says it has detected and blocked attempts from within Iran to steal the e-mail account details for tens of thousands of Iranians ahead of the country’s presidential election this week.

The activities have been disrupted for the past three weeks, Google said.

“The timing and targeting of the campaigns suggest that the attacks are politically motivated in connection with the Iranian presidential election on Friday,” the Internet-service provider said in a statement yesterday. The phishing attack directed users to “a fake Google sign-in page that will steal their username and password.”

Iranians will vote tomorrow for a replacement to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the first such election in four years. The last poll erupted into street protests after the declaration of Ahmadinejad’s victory. Political opponents and protesters said the outcome resulted from ballot rigging.

E-mails and social media accounts were a key tool for the 2009 protests. The demonstrations lasted for days before they were suppressed by the Iranian authorities.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ladane Nasseri in Dubai at lnasseri@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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