Google makes Gmail security warnings more prominent for users

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Google is increasing the visibility of security warnings inside Gmail to help protect the service’s billion-plus active users more adequately.

The company is expanding its ‘safe browsing’ security notifications, which warn users when they are about to open suspicious links contained within emails, so that they show before the link has opened and as a full-page notice. Previously the warning would display before a link was clicked, but with greater prominence post-click Google hopes to cut down on users actually visiting malicious sites.

Google is also expanding its state-sponsored attack warnings inside Gmail, which others like Facebook have since embraced, so that they are full-page, too. These don’t impact a lot of people — just 0.1 percent of users will ever be served this kind of notice, Google said — but they can be hugely impactful.

“The users that receive these warnings are often activists, journalists, and policy-makers taking bold stands around the world,” Google said in a blog post.

Google is also continuing its ongoing push to standardize email encryption, another feature that’s crucial for activists and others who can be subject to hacking and surveillance. The company teamed up with a number of major names this week — including Comcast, Microsoft, and Yahoo — to propose a new system for email that promises to increase message security.

That’s not going to be implemented overnight, and Google has long sought to increase the use of encryption in email using its own services. Last month, it began warning Gmail users when they send and receive email over unsecured connections and, already, the company said that introduction has helped to increase the amount of inbound email sen to Gmail users over an encrypted connection by 25 percent.

“We’re very encouraged by this progress! Given the relative ease of implementing encryption and its significant benefits for users, we expect to see this progress continue,” Google said.