Google reveals cool anti-phishing feature for Gmail users
07/28 / Update below. This article was originally published on July 23
Confidence in Gmail took a hit earlier this month when a serious spam filter flaw sent potentially malicious emails directly to users’ inboxes. Now Google has revealed an ingenious way to regain user trust.
In a official blog post Called ‘Security First’, Google has announced a new security standard for Gmail that has the potential to permanently eliminate the threat of billions of phishing emails. Dubbed “BIMI” (Brand Indicators for Message Identification), it integrates authentication directly into company logos and means you never risk falling for a fake eBay email again. or banking.
Update 25 07: Google has begin deploy a number of its big gmail upgrades wider. Initially targeting G Suite users, the integration of messaging and meeting functionality with Gmail has taken a new step for end users with the addition of Meet integration to Gmail on Android by Google. It should be noted that the Meet integration will be enabled by default, so if you don’t want it you need to go to the app settings, deselect “Show Meet tab for video calls”. Google is clearly keen on aggressively upgrading its Gmail and email tools, so expect more announcements in the near future.
Update 07/26: A source with knowledge of Google’s plans for Gmail tells me that, like his major redesign projects for service, we may be waiting longer than expected for BIMI to flow through to end users. Much will depend on the pilot program, with G Suite customers and its adoption by end users, but it is positioned primarily for business-to-business communication. My source still expects the feature to eventually hit standard Gmail accounts, but it might not be until 2021. Until then, be sure to watch out for phishing emails in Gmail, being since the service’s spam filter was recently displayed. it is not infallible.
Update 07/28: Google contacted me to tell me that it will indeed deploy BIMI authentication for all Gmail users. Google hasn’t set a timeline for the rollout, but it has revealed that regular Gmail accounts will be part of the pilot program. This dramatically increases the chances that Gmail users will receive BIMI protection at the same time as businesses. This is great news, given that they are just as likely to be affected by phishing scams as companies using G Suite. At the time of this update, the Google blog post is still titled “Safety Comes First: Announcing 11 New G Suite Security Features” and no announcements have been added to the Gmail official blog for regular users, but it certainly is.
BIMI works by allowing companies to validate the ownership of their company logos directly with Google. “Once these authenticated emails have passed all of our other anti-abuse checks, Gmail will begin displaying the logo in existing avatar slots in the Gmail user interface.” The second part of this system is great because it allows Gmail users to easily identify verified emails.
Yes, there will be a transition period as companies apply for these validations, but the benefits are so clear that I would expect them to act quickly on this. In fact, there is an advantage for early adopters, as emails that display their company logo in your inbox will more easily grab your attention than others.
What about the disadvantages? Yes, there are a few. Most importantly, Google is piloting this program with G Suite users rather than Gmail users in general. The second is that the pilot will not become “generally available” for several months. That said, after decades of trying to spot increasingly sophisticated phishing emails, waiting a little longer seems like a small price to pay for a potential game changer.
Barely a week after Gmail’s ambitious overhaul, it’s safe to say that Google is now on a roll.
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