Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Endpoint

5/31/2017
03:15 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Google Arms Gmail Security with Machine Learning

Google rolls out four security updates to protect enterprise Gmail accounts from phishing, data loss, and other threats.

Google is adding four new security measures to protect Gmail business users from spam, phishing, data loss, ransomware, and other workplace security threats.

"Email attacks are constantly evolving, and the email attack vector is by far the preferred way for attackers to gain access to enterprise data," says Gmail product manager Sri Somanchi. "We see all kinds of attacks, including phishing, malware, and ransomware attacks."

Machine learning is a common theme in today's updates. Google reports about 50-70% of the messages Gmail receives are spam, and machine learning helps block it with over 99.9% accuracy. It's aiming to weed out spam with early phishing detection, Google's machine learning model used to selectively delay messages for phishing analysis.

The system learns by comparing genuine messages with a similar pool of fake emails, Somanchi explains. It tracks attributes of each message to find details that differentiate suspicious from legitimate mails, and uses those indicators to perform future phishing checks.

Gmail's phishing detection models integrate with Google Safe Browsing, a machine learning model for detecting phishy URLs. The two models combine techniques, like URL reputation and similarity analysis, to enable URL click-time warnings for malware links. The machine learning systems adapt as they find new patterns with the idea of improving accuracy.

Unintended external reply warnings are intended to help users think twice before sending sensitive data to third parties. If someone tries to respond to someone outside the company domain, they see a warning to verify whether they intended to send that email.

"Using forged emails to target enterprise users to reply with sensitive data has become an increasingly common phishing scam," Somanchi says.

Contextual intelligence determines whether the recipient is an existing or regular contact, so warnings are not displayed unnecessarily. Given the potentially severe consequences of phishing attacks, he continues, the warnings are set by default and can only be disabled by an administrator.

Google notes that it has also implemented defenses against ransomware and polymorphic malware.

"We correlate spam signals with attachment and sender heuristics, to predict messages containing new and unseen malware variants," Somanchi explains. "These protections enable Gmail to better protect our users from zero-day threats, ransomware and polymorphic malware."

All of these features will be available to enterprise users over the next one- to three days. All are also available to consumers, with the exception of unintended external reply warnings.

Today's rollout arrives nearly one month after a Google Doc phishing attack scammed more than one million users. Victims were tricked into clicking a link that enabled access to their Google Drive through OAuth authentication connections, giving the attacker permission to act on behalf of their account.

It also follows Google's February publication of data highlighting security threats putting organizations at risk. Research found attackers send 4.3 times more malware, 6.2 times more phishing emails, and 0.4 times as much spam, to corporate inboxes than to personal email addresses.

Related Content:

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
JulietteRizkallah
50%
50%
JulietteRizkallah,
User Rank: Ninja
6/6/2017 | 4:04:48 PM
New attack vector is unstructured data
This is welcome news from Google as we will see an increasing amount of breaches through emails which carry many sensitive unstructured data ( think board presentations attached to a gmail account of a Board member).
BPID Security
50%
50%
BPID Security,
User Rank: Strategist
6/1/2017 | 12:38:34 PM
Privacy v. some benefit?
It seems that Google is reading my mail and this is supposed to be a good thing?

If the government read your mail to keep you from getting "junk mail" you would be up in arms. but because it is Google and people do not take the time to learn their tech then it's OK for them to filter based on content.

The fact that Gmail publically states they read your mail, regardless of the benefit (protecting people from their own stupidity) in not a reason to rejoice.

Here is a heuristic tip you can include in your own filtering: "read the fine print". you'll make better decisions than a computer.

 
Data Leak Week: Billions of Sensitive Files Exposed Online
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/10/2019
Lessons from the NSA: Know Your Assets
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  12/12/2019
4 Tips to Run Fast in the Face of Digital Transformation
Shane Buckley, President & Chief Operating Officer, Gigamon,  12/9/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-5252
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-14
There is an improper authentication vulnerability in Huawei smartphones (Y9, Honor 8X, Honor 9 Lite, Honor 9i, Y6 Pro). The applock does not perform a sufficient authentication in a rare condition. Successful exploit could allow the attacker to use the application locked by applock in an instant.
CVE-2019-5235
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-14
Some Huawei smart phones have a null pointer dereference vulnerability. An attacker crafts specific packets and sends to the affected product to exploit this vulnerability. Successful exploitation may cause the affected phone to be abnormal.
CVE-2019-5264
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
There is an information disclosure vulnerability in certain Huawei smartphones (Mate 10;Mate 10 Pro;Honor V10;Changxiang 7S;P-smart;Changxiang 8 Plus;Y9 2018;Honor 9 Lite;Honor 9i;Mate 9). The software does not properly handle certain information of applications locked by applock in a rare condition...
CVE-2019-5277
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
Huawei CloudUSM-EUA V600R006C10;V600R019C00 have an information leak vulnerability. Due to improper configuration, the attacker may cause information leak by successful exploitation.
CVE-2019-5254
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
Certain Huawei products (AP2000;IPS Module;NGFW Module;NIP6300;NIP6600;NIP6800;S5700;SVN5600;SVN5800;SVN5800-C;SeMG9811;Secospace AntiDDoS8000;Secospace USG6300;Secospace USG6500;Secospace USG6600;USG6000V;eSpace U1981) have an out-of-bounds read vulnerability. An attacker who logs in to the board m...