Google launches anti-phishing feature for Gmail

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Google has deployed an anti-phishing feature for Gmail mobile application which will stop useless emails from entering your inbox. Phishing is essentially fraud emails which apparently come from reputable companies (but they do not) with an aim to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. A new mechanism to control this is currently available only for Apple iOS device users. The tech giant said the latest feature will take around two weeks to be available everywhere. Google, in a statement, said that if you click on a link that Google thinks could be suspicious, you will be warned. The app will ask if you are “sure you want to proceed”.

The feature in the app, that the company added to Gmail Android app back in May, will also raise a warning when a user clicks on a link Google knows to be malicious. The search major has claimed that 50 per cent to 70 per cent of the emails that pass through Gmail are spam and that their detection system achieves a 99.9 per cent accuracy score.

Google is applying their machine-learning expertise to the problem of recognising suspicious email. A warning, “The site you are trying to visit has been identified as a forgery, intended to trick you into disclosing financial, personal or other sensitive information”, will be displayed after a user clicks on a shady link. Forbes, in a report, said, “An early phishing detection algorithm identifies email that has phishing characteristics. The email is flagged and subjected to further analysis including a Safe Browsing test that can delay delivery by up to four minutes.”

According to Forbes, it is estimated that 85 per cent of companies were hit with phishing attacks in 2016, 90 per cent of phishing attacks contained ransomware and the average cost of a phishing attack was $1.6 million. As a matter of fact, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) hack that roiled the 2016 US presidential election was a phishing attack.

“Humans are the weakest link in cyber security, and phishing is the biggest attack vector. Over 60 per cent of email is now opened on the mobile, and this move by Google will help save a lot of debacles,” Ankush Johar, Director at HumanFirewall.io, told IANS. “Incidentally, a lot of the recent issues involving large cons and heists of money have been attributed to phishing, including the $100-million Facebook and Google con in April 2017.”

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