Google’s mail client, Gmail, is launching a new option very soon that will change how you send and receive emails. Be on the lookout for the big update with a new design and features, including Confidential Mode. The new design was revealed in the spring of 2018, alongside other updates.
Confidnetial Mode Features Include:
- Stop users from forwarding certain emails
- Restricts the ability to copy, download, or print certain emails
- Add an “expiration date” after which the email is no longer viewable
- Messages may not be forwarded without a code
- Special SMS code sent to the recipient’s phone allows access
- An input of Gmail password to open confidential emails
Using confidential mode as a setting on sensitive company emails may help reduce problems in the workplace, as well as restrict the distribution of sensitive company information. In addition, Google will also let Gmail users require a passcode to open emails, perfect to ensure that only the intended user will open and read confidential information. These features will largely appeal to businesses that want more control over how emails are used by recipients, but they won’t stop people from taking a screenshot or a photo of an email.
There is an increased vulnerability with the confidential mode, however – despite the additional security the feature promises. When someone receives an email forward that’s been set in confidential mode, they’re prompted for their Google login username and password to determine whether or not they’re the intended recipient – a feature of “Confidential Mode.”
This may cause more problems than it’s intended to solve – the feature actually invites more phishing scam attempts, designed to trick people into revealing their log-in information. Once a victim has arrived on the linked page of a confidential email, a Google-like page will prompt them to enter their Gmail log-in and password. The phishers will then have access to the account. Unfortunately, with Gmail’s confidential mode, the sender doesn’t have full control of the email after it is sent; Google itself does. They will grant or revoke access to the email based on the sender’s choices.
In essence, the confidential mode will enable a little more control over the emails you send out. However, if your company uses it, make sure that your browser is always in secure mode, to prevent phishing attempts, and that you confirm with the sender that the email came from them, to reduce the likelihood of phishing.