Hoping to make its cloud services more secure, Google is extending a Gmail security mechanism to other services.

Thomas Claburn, Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

July 1, 2010

2 Min Read

In another of an ongoing series of security enhancements, Google on Wednesday said that this week it will begin presenting warning notifications on users' Google Dashboard pages when suspicious logins occur at any service associated with one's Google Account.

"Using the IP address you provide to us, our automated system can determine your broad geographic location," explained Google product manager Yariv Adan in a blog post. "If you log in using a remote IP address, our system will flag it for you. So if you normally log into your account from your home in California and then a few hours later your account is logged in from France, you’ll get a notice like the one above at the top of your Dashboard page -- alerting you to the change and providing links for more details."

Image Gallery: Top 10 Google Videos

Google has set up its Dashboard notifications to provide a 'more details' pop-up window that provides an opportunity to change a possibly compromised password on the spot.

The notification is similar to a warning message added to Gmail back in March, which itself represented an expansion on IP log information presented to Gmail users in 2008 for similar purposes.

The reason to provide such information is to make the user aware of possible unauthorized logins and to mitigate the risk that an attacker might breach a given account and might configure it to forward copies of messages to the attacker without the account owner's knowledge.

For Google, which has been encouraging businesses to ditch on-premises computing in favor of its cloud-based services, allaying security concerns about its offerings remains an ongoing chore.

The breach disclosed by the company in January hasn't made that job any easier. In January, Google revealed that some of its intellectual property had been stolen as a result of a sophisticated cyber attack traced to China and said that one of the primary goals of the attack appeared to be to access the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.

A Google spokesperson was not able to immediately provide figures indicating the number of suspicious logins flagged by the company's system.

About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

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