June 26, 2016

Gmail Will Warn You About Accounts that are Unsecured


gmail security

Google has shown its commitment to ensure that your email is more secure.

The company has introduced a new security feature for Gmail that will alert you and let you know if the account you are sending to or receiving from is secure.

In a blog post on the official Gmail blog, Product Manager John Rae-Grant wrote: “… when it comes to the security of your email, we don’t mess around. Gmail has always supported encryption in transit using TLS, and will automatically encrypt your incoming and outgoing emails if it can. We support industry-standard authentication to help combat email impersonation. And there are tons of other security measures running behind the scenes to keep your email safe.”

Introducing the new TLS encryption security feature, he explained: “Of course, it takes at least two people to send and receive an email, so it’s really important that other services take similar measures to protect your messages — not just Gmail. Unfortunately, not all email services do.”

How it Works

From now on, when you receive a mail in your Gmail account from, or are about to send to, someone whose email service does not support TLS encryption, you will see a broken lock icon in the message. This red icon will appear at the address bar.

If you are about to send a Gmail to someone and the icon shows when clicked on, a message will appear explaining the reason for the icon. It will indicate to you that the recipient’s email service does not support encryption. You will also be warned about the security of your message, especially if it contains sensitive and very confidential information.

The other part of this security feature comes into play when you receive a message that can’t be authenticated. A question mark will appear instead of the sender’s profile photo, corporate logo or avatar.

Rae-Grant cautioned, though, that this does not necessarily mean all affected emails are dangerous. “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,” he wrote.

About TLS Encryption

Industry standard encryption, Transport Layer Security (TLS), is a protocol that encrypts and delivers mail securely, for both inbound and outbound mail traffic. This is very important since it helps ensure that your mail is secure and remains private while it moves from one email provider to the other.

Adopting TLS encryption can be likened to putting your letter in a sealed envelope while sending it to your friend, as opposed to just writing the message on a postcard and handing it over to someone to deliver to the recipient.

In the case of emails, Rae-Grant exlained, the email providers of both the sender and receiver must support TLS.

Image: Small Business Trends via Google

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Lisa Froelings


Lisa Froelings Lisa is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends focusing on marketing technology, productivity and general small business news. She has a background in business and productivity consulting including experience in human resources working for a major retailer before deciding to build her own business.

One Reaction

  1. Interesting how a private company can do more to further encryption just with some UI tweaks than government regulations (and at a lower cost).

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