Google prevents 10 million malicious emails every 60 seconds; Gmail users beware

Google Anti-Abuse and Gmail Abuse researchers inform on threats to corporate and consumer email accounts

Gmail Google Mail
Martyn Williams/IDG

Phishing messages, spam, and emails with malicious file attachments are assaulting Gmail users at an astonishing rate.

The Google Security Blog states that every minute, the company prevents over 10 million unsafe or unwanted emails from reaching Gmail users and threatening them with malicious attachments that infect a user’s machine if opened.

At the RSA Conference in San Francisco last week, Google explained some interesting differences between threats to Gmail consumer vs. corporate email inboxes. In a nutshell, business users are at greater risk than individuals.

The Gmail Q1 2017 stats:

  • Attackers send 4.3x more malware to corporate users than personal users
  • Attackers send 6.2x more phishing messages to corporate users than personal users
  • Attackers send 0.4x as much spam to corporate users than personal users

The hackers are smart enough to know there's more to gain from businesses than consumers.

Fortunately for the Gmail recipients, Google's state-of-the-art email classifier detects abusive messages with 99.9 percent accuracy. But there are some harmful emails that will still get through.

To enhance Gmail security, Google recommends:

  • Turn on Gmail's two-step verification (multi-factor authentication) which is a security system that requires something you know (your login ID and password) and something you possess (i.e. your phone) in order to gain access to a device or app.
  • Pay attention to the new security warnings in Gmail introduced this past summer. If you receive a message that can't be authenticated or with a link to a dangerous site known for phishing, malware, and Unwanted Software -- don't click.
  • Enterprise customers (G Suite Enterprise edition users) should consider using Google's new Hosted S/MIME -- which stores incoming encrypted email using Google's encryption.

With billions of malicious emails incoming every day, Gmail users are wise to heed Google's security advise. The 0.1 percent of bad mail that gets through is wreaking havoc on email accounts -- and contributing to the cybercrime epidemic that is costing the world trillions of dollars annually.

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Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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