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Google announces new security features for Gmail based on machine learning

The new Gmail update brings security features like early phishing detection, click-time warnings for malicious links, unintended external reply warnings and built-in defenses against new threats.

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If you consider the number of cyberattacks that have occurred over the past month, names such as WannaCry, SambaCry, the Zomato hack, Eternal rocks, all have taken place over the last 30 days. And just in time, Google has pushed a major security update to its emailing client, which is uses machine learning to block phishing, one of the most common ways to obtain sensitive information like passwords, credit card details or usernames. Along with the early phishing detection feature, Google also announced security features like click-time warnings for malicious links, unintended external reply warnings and built-in defenses against new threats. Also Read - Common marketing gimmicks that brands should avoid to exploit consumers

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In its blog post, Google says that owing to the machine learning model in its phishing detection feature, Gmail is able to block sneaky spam and phishing messages from popping up in your inbox with over 99.9 percent accuracy. This is huge, given that 50-70 percent of messages that Gmail receives are spam. We re continuing to improve spam detection accuracy with early phishing detection, a dedicated machine learning model that selectively delays messages (less than 0.05 percent of messages on average) to perform rigorous phishing analysis and further protect user data from compromise, Google wrote. Also Read - Big threat for Google, Twitter, WhatsApp, and LinkedIn users

Essentially, Gmail is now displaying unintended external reply warnings to users, which is meant to help prevent data loss. For example, whenever you try to respond to someone outside of your company domain, Gmail will prompt you to the fact that you’re about to send that email to that person. And because Gmail has contextual intelligence, it knows if the recipient is an existing contact or someone you interact with regularly, to avoid displaying warnings unnecessarily. ALSO READ: Gmail lets you receive 50MB files, but sending still limited to 25MB; here s how it works

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Google explains that its detection models integrates with Google s Safe Browsing machine learning technologies for finding and flagging phishy and suspicious URLs. These new models combine a variety of techniques such as reputation and similarity analysis on URLs, allowing Google to generate new URL click-time warnings for phishing and malware links. So basically, the algorithm would find new patterns, and it would adapt more quickly than manual systems ever could, and get better with time.

Additionally, combating the multiple security threats, Google has also introduced new built-in defenses against ransomware and polymorphic malware. Which means, Gmail now blocks millions of additional emails that can harm users. These threats are classified 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). ALSO READ: Gmail to stop support for older Chrome browsers, Windows XP and Vista OS

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  • Published Date: June 1, 2017 1:35 PM IST



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