Google’s new security alerts to arrive via app notifications

Google is introducing a new way to alert its users about critical security issues: expect direct alerts within apps

Google is introducing a new way to alert its usersGoogle is launching new security alerts for critical security issues that may occur to Google users.

The developers of Google are updating the critical security alert system for Google accounts.[1] The company revealed that specialists are working on redesigning critical security alerts and the way they are delivered to users. A new alert system will allow notifying people about potential security issues directly in the app they are logged into. At first, the new alerts will be available only for a limited number of people, but the company plan to expand the feature more broadly early next year.

Google[2] started deploying critical security alerts related to Google accounts in 2015. If someone tried to log in or successfully accessed the account, the activity was reported as a security breach via email.

The major benefit of the new alert system is that users will no longer have to check the email or phone's system to find the warning. Google will notify them directly in the Google app they are using at that moment. This way, people will be notified about the threat quicker.

Google announced new security and privacy measures in a recent blog post.[3] Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, vice president of product management at Google, explained that the new alerts are resistant to spoofing,[4] so users will always be sure that messages are legitimate and do not come from scammers.

The new alert system should reduce the number of phishing attempts

The new security alert will be displayed directly within the app, so this system should help users to effectively protect the personal data before it can be compromised. For example, if someone will try to log in from an unknown device to the Gmail account, a user will see a red exclamation mark next to his/her profile picture in the upper right corner.

If the user clicks on this alert, he/she will get a warning message about the security issues and a prompt to solve them. This will be a faster way to report security breaches. It will also help protect people from scammers who mimic Google's notifications for money extortion or other malicious purposes. Since the new alert system is resistant to spoofing, people will no longer be deceived by hackers.

Google is introducing Guest mode for Google Assistant

The tech giant also announced two new privacy-focused features. The first one is the Guest mode for Google Assistant – it is basically an incognito mode. This feature is designed to avoid interactions with Google Assistant[5] being saved to a Google account. The new Guest mode can be activated with a voice command. Once the feature is turned on, interactions with the Assistant won't be saved to the user's account. Rahul Roy-Chowdhury explained why Google decided to implement this incognito mode:

there are times you may not want your Assistant interactions saved to your Google Account. That’s why in the coming weeks, we’ll be introducing Guest mode—a new way to use your Google Assistant on home devices. <…> In addition, you always have the ability to go back and delete what you said to the Assistant just using your voice <…>. In fact, we answer more than 3 million privacy and security questions per month, globally.

Moreover, users will be able to edit their location history data in the Timeline manually. That means that it will be possible to add or edit all places they have visited in the past with just a few taps.

It is still unclear when exactly these new features will be available. Google only said that editing location history should be possible “soon”. Speaking of the Guest mode, Google was a little more specific and mentioned that it should be available “in the coming weeks”.

About the author
Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

Gabriel E. Hall is a passionate malware researcher who has been working for 2-spyware for almost a decade.

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