Google adds security enhancements to Gmail, Meet and Chat

Cyber Security

The tech giant introduces its own version of verified accounts in Gmail, rolls out increased moderation controls in Meet, and enhances phishing protection in Chat

Google has announced a host of new features for its G Suite family of applications that are aimed at bolstering the security of Gmail, Meet and Chat users. The company is also introducing new ways for IT administrators to manage and secure devices using the Admin Console.

The search engine giant is piloting a new feature that will display the logo of an organization or brand in the avatar slot of the Gmail user interface. That should give people more confidence that the email message is from a legitimate sender and ultimately thwart phishing attacks that spoof genuine companies.

The new functionality uses the Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) standard and allows organizations that use the DMARC technology to validate the ownership of their logos and securely transmit them to Google. The BIMI standard is being developed by the AuthIndicators Working Group, which Google joined a year ago.

“BIMI provides benefits to the whole email ecosystem. By requiring strong authentication, users and email security systems can have increased confidence in the source of emails, and senders will be able to leverage their brand trust and provide their customers with a more immersive experience,” said Google.

Source: Google Cloud blog

The videoconferencing platform Google Meet also received a security boost in the form of new controls that allow the host to manage who can join meetings and how. Uninvited guests who have been ejected out of a meeting won’t be able to re-join unless the host re-invites them. Meanwhile, attendees who’ve had their knocking requests denied multiple times will be automatically banned from sending more requests.

Additionally, hosts are also receiving advanced safety lock capabilities that let them decide on the method through which people can join meetings and what level of participation they are allowed once they join. While safety locks are engaged, anonymous users, i.e. those not logged into their Google accounts, will be blocked from joining the meeting.

Google has also bolstered phishing protection in Google Chat. Previously launched on Gmail, the new safeguard checks links sent in Chat against real-time data from Safe Browsing and warns users if it finds anything suspicious. Blocking and reporting Chat Rooms if anything malicious is afoot is another feature that is being rolled out to users over the coming weeks. Google also added a filter that automatically detects and limits abusive content, such as spammy invites across G Suite.

RELATED READING: Would you get hooked by a phishing scam? Test yourself

IT admins will get a slew of new and enhanced tools to manage G Suite, including a redesigned devices page for better device management as well as Apple Business Manager integration allowing them to easily manage their organization’s iOS devices. Google has also introduced some new tools to its Data Loss Prevention feature.

The updates are being released to respond to the needs of people working remotely after COVID-19 has forced a lot of companies to shift to teleworking. If working from home is starting to feel demoralizing, ESET Chief Security Evangelist Tony Anscombe has some advice on how to overcome the associated challenges.

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