Menu
Google tightens Gmail spam filtering

Google tightens Gmail spam filtering

The company is tackling scammers' use of similar Unicode characters for tricking users into going to malicious websites

Google is tackling scammers' use of similar Unicode characters for tricking users into going to malicious websites

Google is tackling scammers' use of similar Unicode characters for tricking users into going to malicious websites

Google is boosting Gmail's ability to detect and block malicious emails from spammers and scammers that exploit similarities among Unicode characters to dupe users into clicking on bad links.

Unicode provides a standard for character encoding for all the writing systems in the world, along with technical symbols, punctuation and other text characters.

Because characters among different scripts are often very similar -- such as the Latin and Cyrillic scripts' characters for the lowercase letter "a" -- spam and phishing emails often combine them in website links that otherwise look legitimate to the unsuspecting eye.

Scammers set up a site with the URL of a known business -- a large bank or retailer -- using a mixture of Unicode characters, making the URL look like the one from that business. Then they include a link to that malicious site in spam and phishing emails, hoping people will click on it.

"The Unicode community has identified suspicious combinations of letters that could be misleading, and Gmail will now begin rejecting email with such combinations," wrote Google official Mark Risher, from the company's Spam & Abuse Team.

Google will use the Unicode Consortium's "Highly Restricted" open standard designation because the company believes it strikes a good balance "between legitimate uses of these new domains and those likely to be abused," Risher wrote.

The Unicode encoding standard provides the basis for "processing, storage and interchange of text data in any language in all modern software and information technology protocols," according to the Unicode Consortium.

Unicode is aimed at developers who want their software applications to work in any language in the world.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.


Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesGoogleMailinternet

Featured

Slideshows

Sizing up the NZ security spectrum - Where's the channel sweet spot?

Sizing up the NZ security spectrum - Where's the channel sweet spot?

From new extortion schemes, outside threats and rising cyber attacks, the art of securing the enterprise has seldom been so complex or challenging. With distance no longer a viable defence, Kiwi businesses are fighting to stay ahead of the security curve. In total, 28 per cent of local businesses faced a cyber attack last year, with the number in New Zealand set to rise in 2017. Yet amidst the sensationalism, media headlines and ongoing high profile breaches, confusion floods the channel, as partners seek strategic methods to combat rising sophistication from attackers. In sizing up the security spectrum, this Reseller News roundtable - in association with F5 Networks, Kaspersky Lab, Tech Data, Sophos and SonicWall - assessed where the channel sweet spot is within the New Zealand channel. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Sizing up the NZ security spectrum - Where's the channel sweet spot?
Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

The channel came together for another round of After Hours, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and partners descending on The Jefferson in Auckland. Photos by Maria Stefina.​

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours
Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Emerging start-up Consegna has officially launched its cloud offerings in the New Zealand market, through a kick-off event held at Seafarers Building in Auckland.​ Founded in June 2016, the Auckland-based business is backed by AWS and supported by a global team of cloud specialists, leveraging global managed services partnerships with Rackspace locally.

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland
Show Comments