Google expands security protections for Ukrainian users
Emma Vail March 1, 2022

Google expands security protections for Ukrainian users

Emma Vail

March 1, 2022

Google expands security protections for Ukrainian users

Google announced on Tuesday that it was increasing security measures to help protect Ukrainian civilians and websites, following similar moves by other technology giants in recent days.

In a statement issued by Kent Walker, the company’s President of Global Affairs, Google said the measures include  SOS alerts on its Search function, automated detection and blocking of suspicious activity, Gmail notifications of government-backed attack warnings, increased authentication challenges, and the expansion of its Advanced Protection and Project Shield programs. 

Tech companies including Meta have taken action in recent days to disrupt the flow of disinformation in the region and take down accounts that targeted Ukrainian officials with phishing attempts. 

As far as Google’s Search and Maps functions go, the company has disabled various live Google Maps features within Ukraine — such as traffic information — to prevent public access to population densities within different areas. The company also issued SOS alerts that will guide users to United Nations resources for refugees and asylum seekers when they search for refugee and evacuation instructions. 

Google has reportedly “expanded security protections” after its Threat Analysis Group reported an increased focus from threat actors on Ukrainian targets. The company has blocked attempted attacks without “any compromise of Google accounts as a result of this campaign.”

Google also increased the frequency of authentication challenges for Ukrainian civilians and is relying on its Advanced Protection Program to safeguard hundreds of high-risk accounts in the area. A campaign known as Project Shield is also being used to help protect over 100 websites belonging to news publications, human rights groups, political organizations, and other groups that are targeted by distributed denial-of-service attacks.

Following the statement issued by Google today, Apple reportedly stopped all sales of their technology in Russian online stores after Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister pleaded with them to shut down the app store and halt all Russian sales.

Emma Vail is an editorial intern for The Record. She is currently studying anthropology and women, gender, and sexuality at Northeastern University. After creating her own blog in 2018, she decided to pursue journalism and further her experience by joining the team.