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article imageGoogle offering 2GB free storage as reward for updating security

By James Walker     Feb 9, 2016 in Technology
Google is giving users 2GB of free Google Drive cloud storage in return for spending two minutes of their time to complete a Security Checkup. The offer is part of Safer Internet Day, designed to raise awareness of security issues online.
Google users can claim their free permanent extra storage by heading to the "My account" section of Google account settings. Completing the three-step process will add 2GB of storage to their allocated Google Drive amount. Users generally have 15GB of free storage so this offer would increase the quota to 17GB for non-paying users.
The Security Checkup is designed to be completed in just a few minutes. It gets users to confirm their account recovery options are up to date, check their password is secure and validate all the devices that are signed into their Google account. If the Checkup is completed by February 11, the 2GB of free storage will be granted.
Google said on its blog: "Online security and safety are being discussed more often, and with more urgency, than ever before. We hope you'll take a few minutes today to learn how Google protects your data and how we can work toward a safer web, for everyone."
Google has also outlined some of the other ways in which it helps to protect people online. Today, it announced some changes it is making to Gmail that will let people see how secure their connection is with at-a-glance indicators.
A small broken lock icon will be added to messages that weren't sent over a secure connection, letting the recipient know that the sender couldn't be authenticated. The message may have been intercepted by a third party if encryption wasn't enforced, such as when using Gmail to talk to people on private domains or less respected email providers.
Google's DoubleClick advertising division today shared an update on how it protects website users from adverts infested with malware. DoubleClick can now spot the most prominent ad fraud botnets and automatically blocks this traffic. The top three botnets, responsible for injecting the majority of fraudulent or malicious adverts into DoubleClick, consist of over 500,000 connected computers.
"Ad fraud botnets are armies of malware-infected computers that are controlled by malicious fraudsters intent on generating large amounts of non-human ad traffic volume, typically for unscrupulous publishers," said Andres Ferrate, Chief Advocate of Google Ad Traffic Quality. "As a result, ad fraud botnets are a major threat to the budgets of advertisers, the reputation of publishers, and the safety of consumers. And this threat is considerable, given that hundreds of thousands of computers around the globe are infected with malware used specifically for ad fraud."
An update to DoubleClick's detection mechanisms lets it expand on the traffic filtering feature with a new component. It is now resilient and able to detect and predict possible future changes to the malware behind the botnet traffic, requiring less manual updates to keep advertisers, the network and users secure.
Google has teamed up with publishing platform Medium to host a virtual roundtable on the state of online security today and its possible evolution in the future. The outcome of the talk, moderated by noted security journalist and researcher Kevin Poulsen, can be read and discussed on Medium as Google encourages "everyone" to understand the importance of digital security and let their voice and views be heard.
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