Gmail releases alerts for when messages might be intercepted or are attempting to scam users

The site will now inform people if the message they’re sending isn’t encrypted, or if it’s not being sent by who it claims to be from

Google has added new warnings to Gmail in an attempt to keep its users safe.

The email client will now inform its users if the email they’re sending isn’t going to be encrypted, or if the person sending it might not be who they say they are.

Gmail and some other email services use TLS encryption, which is meant to keep messages safe as they are passed between people, ensuring that they can’t be read by anyone sat in the middle.

But not every service does so. Now Gmail will show a little lock in the corner of messages if the recipient’s service doesn’t use encryption, alerting users that they should be aware.

While an unencrypted email won’t necessarily be read, and it might be more trouble to go through other means to send the email, it is intended to serve as a reminder to users that the message might not be as secure as it might seem.

The company has also added a little message if a user receives a message from someone who can’t be authenticated. Google checks the sender of every message — and if someone fails that check, a little question mark will appear.

The question mark is intended to warn people that they shouldn’t send information to that person. Many scams, such as phishing, see people pretend to be another email sender so that people will send over personal information — and the scammer can then use that information to hack into bank accounts or other sensitive places.

“Not all affected email will necessarily be dangerous,” wrote John Rae-Grant, product manager, in the company’s announcement. “But we encourage you to be extra careful about replying to, or clicking on links in messages that you’re not sure about.

“And with these updates, you’ll have the tools to make these kinds of decisions.”

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