A hacker has cracked the security of thousands of Gmail accounts, prompting a nationwide effort to recover them.
The hackers targeted the Gmail account of the CEO of a national security firm, and the accounts of several other prominent figures in the security and defense industries, The Washington Times reported.
The Gmail account for the chief executive of the cybersecurity firm, James A. Risen, and his wife, Maureen, were among the accounts breached.
The account of a former senior White House official was also breached, according to the Times.
Some of the accounts were already on Google’s email system when the hacker breached them, and Google is currently investigating the incident, a company spokesman said.
The company does not know who was behind the breach.
It is unclear how many of the more than 15,000 Gmail accounts in the breach had been encrypted.
Gmail security officials have said that there is no way for the hackers to decrypt the messages.
“The only way to recover the information is to reset the password,” a company official told the Times, adding that there was no way to prevent people from logging into Gmail.
“If you think your password has been changed, you’re in for a real surprise,” the official said.
Google said it had reached out to all affected users to help them reset their passwords.
The company is asking users to log into their Gmail accounts and change their passwords, and is asking them to contact the company directly to do so.