In recent years, Google has been working hard to improve privacy and security on their services, with the majority of emails sent and received on Gmail now being encrypted. However, to Google, this is not enough, and there are still large volumes of emails that are sent unencrypted. To keep their users safer and more aware of their privacy, Google plans to implement warnings for its users about any unencrypted mail they receive.
For a long time, emails were generally sent unencrypted, which left them open to interception and snooping of their contents. In the world we now live in, where safety and security online are almost constantly under threat, this is no longer acceptable. And while email providers can do little to ensure the safety and trustworthiness of emails they receive, is would be unreasonable to discard unencrypted emails that were received as until encryption is a required standard, it could cause users to lose important mail. And while unencrypted mail itself cannot harm a user or their privacy, the rise of techniques such as setting up malicious DNS servers to snoop on and redirect email to the attackers.
Google’s step to ensure users are aware of any emails they receive are unencrypted is a step in the right direction. It allows users to take care around unencrypted mail, as they have no assurance that its contents are private or unaltered. I will certainly sleep easier being aware of my email security and knowing which could be at risk.
Google’s study on trends in email security can be found here.