Google intends to halt viruses, ransomware, and other security threats right at the primary point of approach, which is email. Gmail, which is the most widely used email platform in the world, has received new security features to help organizations prevent email being used as the attack vector. Gmail already had a powerful inbuilt virus scanner that scanned attachments, but this is a new feature specifically designed to weed out ransomware. Incidentally, even Google’s G Suite users will have the opportunity to benefit from the new ‘Sandbox’ and other features.
Instances of mass ransomware attacks have become less frequent. Remote attackers have always preferred the more targeted approach in the form of emails. Incidentally, attackers target a large user base of an organization to send out hundreds of emails laced with potentially harmful and malicious content. Such attempts have proven to be highly effective and financially rewarding. Quite recently two Florida city councils succumbed and forked over $600,000 and $500,000 in ransom payments to decrypt and gain access to their own data that was held hostage by designers of sophisticated ransomware. Even a few organizations have chosen to pay large sums of money to gain control of their computer systems.
Google’s new ‘Sandbox’ features for Gmail attempts to address these very threats. Such threats usually arrive through the seemingly harmless Gmail inbox. The emails look very legitimate but some could be laced with malicious embedded scripts in email attachments. The Sandbox feature operates as a security layer between the email’s content and the computer, thereby safeguarding the systems from penetration and infection.
What Is Google Offering To Gmail And G Suite Users?
With the Sandbox feature, email attachments will open as if the user had actually clicked on the attachment. However, at the backend, Google will be checking and evaluating the script’s behavior and detect previously unknown threats. Incidentally, the same feature is also available to Google’s G Suite users.
G Suite administrators can set up rules to define which email messages are put through the security sandbox. They can choose to automatically move suspected and subsequently captured email to an admin-controlled quarantine section. Additionally, admins can also redirect phishing email and email-borne malware to quarantine. They can then scrutinize the suspicious digital packages, and even display a warning banner to users about the suspected dangers involved.
Do you use #Gmail at Work? If not, here's a good reason to move to paid G Suite. We can help, plus setup #SPF, #DKIM and #DMARC protections. New security sandbox to fight 0-day threats, ransomware, etc. | ZDNet #itsecurity #spoofing #spam #emailhttps://blueskydigit.al/2NeeOwN pic.twitter.com/ArsKPDiqET
— Kim Kuhlman (@blueskydigstrat) June 26, 2019
Google is offering a new default ‘advanced phishing and malware protection’ feature that includes these security tools. Additionally, the search giant will be boosting security arrangements against Business Email Compromise (BEC) fraud. One of the features will help organizations “identify unauthenticated emails trying to spoof your domain and choose to automatically display a warning banner, send them to spam, or quarantine the messages,” claimed Google.
Another additional security feature introduced is the security codes for browsers that don’t yet support login with security keys. These single-use authentication codes are perhaps aimed at companies and businesses that still use Internet Explorer to access internal business applications. Needless to add, many organizations continue to run their applications on the increasingly archaic IE owing to compatibility and legacy issues.
All Gmail Users Get ‘Confidential Mode’ Self-Destructing Email
Google is now offering the ‘confidential mode’ self-destructing email feature to all Gmail users. The company introduced the feature last year. Explaining the feature, Google said: “Confidential mode in Gmail offers built-in Information Rights Management (IRM), which removes the option for people to forward, copy, download or print messages. This helps reduce the risk of recipients accidentally sharing confidential information with the wrong people.” The new confidential mode can also be used to force the recipient to authenticate himself using a text message to view the protected email.
G Suite Update: Use security codes to log in where security keys won’t work directly https://t.co/zZTIvoWZom
— Kimbley IT Status (@KimbleyStatus) June 25, 2019
Interestingly, the majority of these features have been introduced to the general users of Gmail and G Suite. Apparently, Google is still putting finishing touches on them for enterprise customers. The features could roll out to corporations and companies in the next few weeks.
With targeted phishing and personalized ransomware attacks on the rise, Google has timed the release of these security features quite well. With these additional tools, system admins will have a much higher degree of awareness and control over the suspicious emails. Moreover, they can quickly quarantine suspected content and ensure gullible employees do not inadvertently let in viruses or malicious scripts to penetrate the secured digital gateways.