Google Enhancing Security features for Gmail Users
Google’s security team announced several new features in order to increase the visibility of security warnings inside Gmail to help protect the service’s billion-plus active users more adequately than before.
It expanding its ‘safe browsing’ security notifications, which warn users when they are about to open suspicious links contained within emails, so that they show before the link has opened and as a full-page notice. Previously the warning would display before a link was clicked, but with greater prominence post-click Google hopes to cut down on users actually visiting malicious sites.
The company is also expanding its state-sponsored attack warnings inside Gmail, which others like Facebook have since embraced, so that they are full-page, too. These don’t impact a lot of people — just 0.1 percent of users will ever be served this kind of notice, Google said — but they can be hugely impactful.
With regard to links to potentially dangerous web sites, Google is expanding their safe browsing tools to cover other web browsers and email clients. Google already helps protect Gmail users by identifying these sites in mail messages. Should a user go ahead and click on the link though, they will be presented with additional warnings regarding the danger they may be subject to.
Google said in a blog post:
The users that receive these warnings are often activists, journalists, and policy-makers taking bold stands around the world.”
Google is also continuing its ongoing push to standardize email encryption, another feature that’s crucial for activists and others who can be subject to hacking and surveillance. The company teamed up with a number of major names this week including Comcast, Microsoft, and Yahoo to propose a new system for email that promises to increase message security.
It’s not going to be implemented overnight, and Google has long sought to increase the use of encryption in email using its own services. Last month, it began warning Gmail users when they send and receive email over unsecured connections and, already, the company said that introduction has helped to increase the amount of inbound email sent to Gmail users over an encrypted connection by 25 percent.
We’re very encouraged by this progress! Given the relative ease of implementing encryption and its significant benefits for users, we expect to see this progress continue.”
Users who may find themselves the target of state sponsored attacks via email, they will get a new, full-page warning that helps with suggestions for users to stay safe.
These might include steps like setting up two-factor authentication and the use of a security key. This new full-page warning will be in addition to the small message Google currently uses.
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