Google is one of the most successful tech companies in history. It seems like most everything it touches turns to gold.
It began as a simple search engine in the late 1990s but has become a force to be reckoned with over the years. Think of everything Google has to offer nowadays. From its own line of smartphones, to Google Maps, to the very popular Chrome browser, there are plenty of success stories to talk about.
Gmail has also taken off as one of the world's leading email services. There are nearly 1.4 billion people worldwide who use Gmail. Now for the bad news. A Gmail redesign could put all of those people at risk of attacks from cybercriminals.
New Gmail feature could go horribly wrong
Google recently added a new feature in its Gmail redesign. The feature is called "Confidential Mode" and the Department of Homeland (DHS) says it could present an emerging threat.
DHS officials are so concerned about the update that they circulated a warning to other U.S. law agencies and government cybersecurity workers. Confidential Mode lets you set an expiration date on sensitive emails and add two-factor authentication to messages.
Here's the problem: To access sensitive messages, you must click a link inside an email. Do you see where this is going?
Yep, DHS officials think this will lead to criminals ramping up phishing attacks. The fear is they will start sending phishing emails, pretending to be from Google that contain malicious links.
If you click on the malicious link, the criminal will be able to access personal information that could lead to all kinds of problems. Stolen credentials, draining bank accounts and identity theft to name a few.
Cybercriminals are extremely sophisticated with their attacks these days. They have technology at their disposal that help them spoof messages to look legitimate, like it was actually sent by the official company. That's why phishing scams have become a favorite tool for criminals over the past few years.
Google responded to DHS by saying its new feature doesn't pose any additional security risk beyond what people who use the internet already are exposed to. We'll have to see how this plays out.
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Private web browsing doesn't hide everything
There’s a lot of talk these days about protecting your privacy online, and for good reason. Whether you are searching for the latest news, shopping for something special or just browsing your favorite social media sites, there are steps you can take to help keep your activities discreet by doing so privately.