Google announced a bundle of new security features or improvements for its Gmail email service that are being rolled out currently.
Three of the four new features are available exclusively to Google Suite customers, the fourth to all users of Gmail.
All Gmail users benefit from better protection against malicious attachments according to Google's announcement. This includes Google Suite customers who use Gmail, regular Google users who use Gmail on the Web or in one of the applications that support the email service.
Google describes the new protective features in the following way:
We now correlate spam signals with attachment and sender heuristics, to predict messages containing new and unseen malware variants
The first draws links between signals that are associated with spam, and sender and attachment heuristics. Basically, what it does is try to predict whether an email attachment is malicious based on patterns, and not on signatures.
.ADE, .ADP, .BAT, .CHM, .CMD, .COM, .CPL, .EXE, .HTA, .INS, .ISP, .JAR, .JS (NEW), .JSE, .LIB, .LNK, .MDE, .MSC, .MSI, .MSP, .MST, .NSH .PIF, .SCR, .SCT, .SHB, .SYS, .VB, .VBE, .VBS, .VXD, .WSC, .WSF, .WSH
These attachments are blocked outright, but also if they are included within archives, and password protected archives.
Gmail users who need to transfer blocked files using Gmail are asked to use Google Drive or other services instead. Basically, instead of sending the file as an attachment, a link that points to it is provided instead.
The following three security improvements were launched exclusively for Google Suite customers who use Gmail:
All features are enabled by default once they are rolled out in the next couple of days. You can turn two of them off in the following way (provided that you are a Google Suite administrator):
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