Gmail’s new search filter feature will make it easier- and faster – to find an email, Google improves malicious document detection in Gmail with deep learning and Max Schrems filing a complaint against Amazon over lack of basic email security.
“How to write a good email: 1) Write your email; 2) Delete most of it, and 3) Send it. ” – Dan Munz
In this article, we’ll cover the following email industry news:
- Google Adds ‘Search Chips’ to Gmail
- Gmail offers more security against malicious documents
- Max Schrems – Australian privacy activist – accused Amazon of not providing basic email security
Ready to dive in?
New Search Filter Feature Will Help Users Refine Search Results In Gmail
We’re all used to the search filtering method of entering a search term in the bar across the top of Gmail (for example – label:work, has:attachment, from:email@example.com, etc.) or use the drop-down box to perform an advanced search, for instance. However, these options are tedious, inconvenient and therefore under-utilised by many Gmail users. Therefore, to make searching easier, Google introduced a new set of filters referred to as “search chips.”
With search chips in #gmail you get faster results and can filter by:
✅ A colleagues name
✅ Attachment type
✅ A specific timeframe
— G Suite (@gsuite) February 19, 2020
There will be different filters available including those that will help users narrow down emails by the sender; whether or not emails have an attachment; by time frame, and more. In other words, users will also be able to use the new filters to exclude certain types of search results – like those that are calendar updates or chats, for example. Furthermore, Gmail users will also have the ability to specify emails by attachment type – such as text, spreadsheet or PDF. The gradual roll-out started on February 19 – to all G Suite users – and may take up to 15 days to complete.
More Security Against Malicious Documents In Gmail
According to Google, Gmail’s current machine learning model helps in blocking 99.9% of threats from reaching users’ inboxes. In order to make the model even more accurate, the company has added a new generation of document scanners that rely on deep learning to improve the company’s detection capabilities. “Strengthening our document detection capabilities is one of our key focus areas, as malicious documents represent 58% of the malware targeting Gmail users. We are still actively developing this technology, and right now, we only use it to scan Office documents” says Google. Moreover, the company states that the new scanner uses TensorFlow deep-learning model trained with TFX (TensorFlow Extended) and a customised analyser for each file type. The analysers are responsible for parsing the document, identifying common attack patterns, extracting macros, deobfuscating content and performing feature extraction.
Amazon Fails To Provide Basic Email Security
Do you remember Max Schrems? Let’s refresh your memory, he became known for campaigning against Facebook’s privacy violations including the company’s violation of EU privacy laws. Now that we’ve cleared up who Mr Schrems is, we discovered that the non-profit group he leads called Noyb has filed a complaint against Amazon over the lack of data security for sellers sending emails on the company’s marketplace platform.
Amazon Marketplace servers reject #TLS connections for emails. It seems many emails are sent without any encryption (like an “open letter”). We (@noybeu) have sent a complaint unter Article 32 #GDPR… ?https://t.co/2AHbo91vxF pic.twitter.com/JzlUXDNhez
— Max Schrems ???? (@maxschrems) February 19, 2020
According to the complaint, which was filed in the German state of Hesse on behalf of a seller on Amazon marketplace, emails are routed through Amazon servers that in some cases fail to provide the so-called TLS encryption. Consequently, this failure violates Article 32 of the EU’s GDPR which requires companies to implement appropriate security measures in order to protect the confidentiality of communications.
Noyb’s privacy lawyer Stefano Rossetti said: “TLS is like an envelope around a letter. If not used, anyone can read the content of an email in transfer.” Thus, the Amazon servers rejecting TLS connections (in certain cases) means millions of emails sent via Amazon may be exposed every day.
The Hesse data protection authority (DPA) will have to investigate the matter and verify whether or not Amazon’s systems appropriately protects users’ privacy. It’s likely that this case will also be handled by the Luxembourg Data Protection Authority. After all, Amazon has its European headquarter in Luxembourg. In such a case the DPAs can fine Amazon up to 2% of its global turnover, which would be up to € 4 billion.
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