Friday August 17, 2018
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Gmail: Google Alerts its Users About the New ‘Confidential Mode’

Central to these fears is the new "Confidential Email" feature that can require users to click a link in order to access these messages.

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reportedly issued an alert on the "potential emerging threat... for nefarious activity" with the Gmail redesign, the report said. Pixabay
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Gmail users have been alerted about a new Google Mail feature which could be leveraged by online crooks to carry out a wave of scams, media reported.

The company, in April, unveiled its brand new design which introduced a clean new user interface and a swathe of new features including the ability to snooze a message, auto-generate smart replies and self-destruct emails in the brand new “Confidential Mode”.

“It’s the Confidential Mode which is at the centre of security fears,” Express.co.uk reported on Saturday.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reportedly issued an alert on the “potential emerging threat… for nefarious activity” with the Gmail redesign, the report said.

“We have reached out to Google to inform them of intelligence relevant to their services and to partner to improve our mutual interests in cyber security,” Lesley Fulop, DHS spokesperson said.

Central to these fears was the new “Confidential Email” feature that can require users to click a link in order to access these messages.

Gmail
If you’re a Gmail user using the official Google Mail website then the “Confidential Email” appears when you click to open it, Pixabay

If you’re a Gmail user using the official Google Mail website then the “Confidential Email” appears when you click to open it. It shows a date for when the content will expire and informs the users that the email can’t be forwarded or downloaded.

However, it’s different if you’re a Gmail user viewing the message as a third-party client or a non-Gmail user who receives a confidential email.

In those cases, instead of the message appearing in their browser, users have to click a button to view the email. And this is where the security fears lie.

With the Gmail redesign, scammers could send out fake versions of confidential email alerts and trick a user into entering sensitive details.

“The tech giant is committed to protecting the security of users’ personal information and hence, had created “machine learning” algorithms to detect potential phishing scams that cyber criminals carry out,” said Google spokesman Brooks Hocog.

Also Read-Is Gmail safe? Google is Allowing Third-party App Developers to Scan Through Your Account

Phishing scams are where cyber criminals try to trick victims into clicking on seemingly trustworthy links in order to steal sensitive personal information.(IANS)

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Google Admits of Tracking Users Even with Their Location “Turned off”

But just turning off Location History doesn't solve the purpose. In Google Settings, pausing "Web and App Activity" may do the trick

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Google clarifies tracking users even with location data turned off. Pixabay

After facing criticism over reports that certain Google apps track users’ whereabouts even when they turn off location data, the tech giant has revised its Help Page, clarifying that it does track location data in order to “improve Google experience”.

Previously, the Help Page stated: “You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”

The page now says: “This setting does not affect other location services on your device, like Google Location Services and Find My Device.

“Some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other services, like Search and Maps”.

The new language confirms that location data is, indeed, being tracked by some Google apps.

“We have been updating the explanatory language about Location History to make it more consistent and clear across our platforms and help centres,” CNET reported on Friday, quoting a Google spokesperson.

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Google on a smartphone device. Pixabay

The Associated Press earlier this week ran a story saying an investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store users’ location data even if the users explicitly used a privacy setting forbidding that.

Researchers from Princeton University confirmed the findings.

In an earlier statement, Google had said: “Location History is a Google product that is entirely opt in, and users have the controls to edit, delete or turn it off at any time.

“As the (AP) story notes, we make sure Location History users know that when they disable the product, we continue to use location to improve the Google experience when they do things like perform a Google search or use Google for driving directions.”

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But just turning off Location History doesn’t solve the purpose. In Google Settings, pausing “Web and App Activity” may do the trick.

However, according to the information on Google’s Activity Control page, “Even when this setting is paused, Google may temporarily use information from recent searches in order to improve the quality of the active search session”. (IANS)