By Marcus Leach

Google has revealed that hackers in China have compromised the personal email accounts of hundreds of top US officials, military personnel and journalists.

Whilst Google said its security was not breached it did confirm that various passwords were obtained through fraud.

"We recently uncovered a campaign to collect user passwords, likely through phishing," a Google statement read.

"This campaign, which appears to originate from Jinan, China, affected what seem to be the personal Gmail accounts of hundreds of users including, among others, senior U.S. government officials, Chinese political activists, officials in several Asian countries (predominantly South Korea), military personnel and journalists.

"The goal of this effort seems to have been to monitor the contents of these users’ emails, with the perpetrators apparently using stolen passwords to change peoples’ forwarding and delegation settings.

"We have notified victims and secured their accounts. In addition, we have notified relevant government authorities."

The White House, in Washington, said it was investigating the reports from Google but did not believe official US government email accounts had been breached.