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Home >Technology >News >Google takes on stronger measures to tackle covid related phishing emails

Gmail blocks over 100 million phishing emails and more than 240 million covid- 19 related spam messages on a typical day, as platform aggregator G-Suite finds more paying customers, it said in a recent blogpost. The covid-19 pandemic has opened floodgates for cybercriminals and hackers with an increasing number of phishing, malware scams hitting internet users.

In G Suite, advanced phishing and malware controls are turned on by default, ensuring that all G Suite users automatically have these proactive protections in place, the search engine giant said.

“Incident management is a key aspect of Google’s over security and privacy program and is key to complying with global privacy regulations such as GDPR. In addition, a full-time dedicated team called Project Zero aims to prevent targeted attacks by reporting bugs to software vendors and recording them in external databases," said Mark Johnston, Head of Security, Networking and Collaboration Specialists, Google Cloud, Asia Pacific during a recent security briefing to Mint.

These measures take precedence during times when users are largely working from home outside the jurisdiction of enterprise firewalls to monitor malicious content sent across mails. The pandemic related work from home measures have also resulted in higher number of paying customers for G-Suite, the portfolio of business services that includes brands such as Gmail, Docs, Sheets, and Drive with both businesses and academia confined to homes, noted Johnston.

While there has not been an increase in the number of cybercrimes, there has been a change in the tactics being employed by attackers to lure and trick users online resulting in the higher frequency of such emails. Liberal usage of a variety of subjects such as: coronavirus, COVID-19, personal protective equipment and alleged cures are seen in these scam emails.

“Prior to the pandemic, we were seeing the usual scams such as hackers impersonating banks, telcos and shipping companies. However, we are now seeing many of them use the pandemic as a lure for their phishing campaigns revolved around some of these familiar themes: invoices, packages, fines, taxes, etc," noted Sunil Sharma, managing director sales, Sophos India & SAARC.

This includes mechanisms to distribute downloadable files that can install backdoor entries. Google also worked with the WHO to make it harder for bad actors to impersonate the “WHO" domain on the internet, filtering malicious emails from reaching the recipient’s inbox.

Among other changes that Google is making to G-Suits, the company has added the video conferencing platform Meet an independent part of G Suite. Video conferencing platforms like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Meet among many others as enterprises turn to video conferencing to keep their business running. In India, Google has been ramping up efforts to take G-Suite to the small and medium enterprises with partnerships with Airtel and systems integrator Shivaami to offer Software as a service application bundles.

“G Suite has surpassed 6 million paying companies (up from 5 million in Feb 2019) and over the last few weeks, we have helped millions of students and employees reliably and securely continue their education and work from home," he said.

Earlier in April, Google also surpassed a new milestone, with more than 2 million new users connecting on Google Meet every day, and they're spending over 2 billion minutes together---that’s more than 3,800 years of secure meetings in a single day, said Johnston.

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