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article imageGoogle announces new Gmail features to make email safer

By James Walker     Jun 1, 2017 in Technology
Google has detailed its latest progress in its ongoing work to make email more secure. The company claimed its automated systems can now detect and filter out 99.9 percent of phishing emails. The statement comes after a recent high-profile Gmail scam.
In May, thousands of Gmail users were duped into falling for a phishing scam when attackers distributed an extremely widespread email purporting to be from Google Docs. The message made it through Google's spam filters and into inboxes worldwide, causing outcry on social media. Although Google responded rapidly to the situation, it wasn't enough to combat the days of negative publicity that followed.
In the weeks since the campaign, Google has released a series of blog posts explaining how it is working to make Gmail safer and prevent similar emails from being spread again. In its latest post, it revealed that it now blocks phishing emails with "over 99.9 percent accuracy." It identifies scams using a network of machine learning models that constantly assess emails flowing through its network.
The company's new early phishing detection model is now being introduced to take its systems a step further. The new neutral network performs selective analysis on a tiny subset of Gmail messages. In total, an average of less than 0.05 percent of all messages will be selected by the system. They'll be slightly delayed from reaching their recipient so they can be processed by advanced phishing analysis tools.
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This preventative approach should help to stop future phishing campaigns before they have a chance to get established. Google is fighting an uphill battle though: the company said that between 50 and 70 percent of the Gmail messages received each day are spam. With this volume of messages to isolate and destroy, staying on top of the situation isn't an easy matter.
"Security threats are constantly evolving and we’re always looking for ways to help people protect their data," Google said. "With new built-in defenses against ransomware and polymorphic malware, Gmail now blocks millions of additional emails that can harm users. We classify new threats by combining thousands of spam, malware and ransomware signals with attachment heuristics (emails that could be threats based on signals) and sender signatures (already marked malware)."
Google also announced a new mechanism it's launching for Gmail customers who use the web app as part of their work. The company is debuting a system that's designed to alert you to potential sensitivity issues if you're addressing an email to somebody outside of your organisation.
When you draft an email that's to an address on a different domain, Gmail will show a reminder not to send private information. It's designed to prevent you inadvertently sharing business files with external contacts you could have mistakenly selected. Even if you are intentionally messaging someone in a different firm, the prompt could remind you to think twice about what you're including in the email.
More about Google, Gmail, Phishing, Scam, Email
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