SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Google said it shut down an email spam campaign that impersonated its online file service, Google Docs.
According to online reports - in particular, a detailed user thread on Reddit - clicking on an emailed share link, purportedly from a known source, was taking users to a site that asked permission for a fake app calling itself "Google Docs" to access their accounts. If they agreed, the app would then send additional copies of the original email to the users' contacts.
Earlier reports suggested the attack was a phishing scam potentially aimed at harvesting personal information and maybe even Google login credentials.
But in a statement late Wednesday, Google said that while the campaign accessed and used contact information, no other data was apparently exposed.
Google said it was able to stop the campaign in about an hour. It has disabled offending accounts, removed fake pages and updated its Safe Browsing feature, which issues warnings when users visit dangerous sites.
Users don't have to take additional action, although Google encouraged those who want to be extra safe to run its security check feature.
One telltale sign for identifying the spam email: It appears to be directed to the address email@example.com, and is only blind copied to the recipient.
If you have a Gmail account, you may want to think twice before opening any attachments.
Experts say an e-mail scam involving a fraudulent Google Docs link is making its way around the internet.
The e-mail comes from someone inviting the user to share or view a Google Docs file.
When you click the link, it will ask for access permissions to your G-mail account, which does not happen with actual Google Docs links.
If you open the link, it will spam everyone in your contact list with the same e-mail, spreading the scam forward.
Even if the e-mail comes from someone you know, be sure to double check with the sender to avoid any hacks or viruses.
If you do open the link, you will need to go to your G-mail settings and remove permissions for the Google Doc that was sent to your e-mail.