New built-in Gmail protections to combat malware in attachments

(Cross-posted from the Google Security Blog)

Posted by Sri Somanchi, Product Manager, Gmail anti-spam

Today we announced new security features for Gmail customers, including early phishing detection using machine learning, click-time warnings for malicious links, and unintended external reply warnings. In addition, we have also updated our defenses against malicious attachments.

Let’s take a deeper look at the new defenses against malicious attachments. We now correlate spam signals with attachment and sender heuristics, to predict messages containing new and unseen malware variants. These protections enable Gmail to better protect our users from zero-day threats, ransomware and polymorphic malware.

In addition, we block use of file types that carry a high potential for security risks including executable and javascript files.

Machine learning has helped Gmail achieve more than 99% accuracy in spam detection, and with these new protections, we’re able to reduce your exposure to threats by confidently rejecting hundreds of millions of additional messages every day.

Constantly improving our automatic protections

These new changes are just the latest in our ongoing work to improve our protections as we work to keep ahead of evolving threats. For many years, scammers have tried to use dodgy email attachments to sneak past our spam filters, and we’ve long blocked this potential abuse in a variety of ways, including:

  • Rejecting the message and notifying the sender if we detect a virus in an email.
  • Preventing you from sending a message with an infected attachment. 
  • Preventing you from downloading attachments if we detect a virus.

While the bad guys never rest, neither do we.

These protections were made possible due to extensive contribution from Vijay Eranti (Gmail anti-spam), Timothy Schumacher (Gmail anti-spam), Harish Gudelly (Google anti-virus), and Lucio Tudisco (G Suite anti-abuse)

Launch Details
Release track:
Launching to both Rapid release and Scheduled release

Editions:
Available to all G Suite editions

Rollout pace:
Full rollout (1-3 days for feature visibility)

Impact:
All end users

Action:
Change management suggested/FYI
More Information
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Anti-virus scanning attachments


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