Google announced that it has implemented another security measure to protect your mailbox against malicious or spammy e-mail messages. With the newly introduced support for non-Latin characters in Gmail, the company is now checking whether the message has any ambiguous words or phrases in the subject or message body. For example, ShဝppingSite and ShoppingSite may look the same, but “o” here is replaced with a unicode character “ဝ”, which can lead to confusion and potentially giving a way for the criminals to make their messages slip through spam filtering mechanisms. From now on, it will be significantly more difficult to do so.
Since Gmail has been quite effective in filtering spam messages, hackers found ways to circumvent these filters. It is obviously very dangerous when a message disguises itself as, let’s say, a PayPal notification, while the link to the alleged PayPal website would lead to a phishing website that steals your account details once you attempt to log in. Google, with the help of the list of potentially misleading unicode characters, will match them against words used in an e-mail message and if such words are found, it will effectively discard the message, protecting your inbox from spam or even worse, cyber criminals whose only intent is to steal personal data (and money) from you.
If you ever see a suspicious e-mail message in your inbox, please read our article which contains instructions on how to react to such messages. Also, we highly recommend that you have your computer protected against viruses and malicious apps.