Email

Best new features in the updated Gmail

Aside from a new look, Google introduced substantial improvements to Gmail, including functions that let you enable confidential mode, snooze emails, unsubscribe faster, and enjoy greater protection from spam. Here are the most notable ones.

Confidential Mode

This feature lets you set an expiration date for your email after which it self-destructs. Sending mail on confidential mode doesn’t just auto-eliminate them; it also prevents receivers from copying, forwarding or downloading the message and its attachments. A sender also has an option to set a password for a receiver to open the message.

Assistive Unsubscribing

Managing email remains a time drain for many business users, so the assistive unsubscribe function is a welcome addition. With this tool, users can easily unsubscribe from unwanted promotional mail or newsletters without having to open an email to do so. This feature recommends unsubscribing from particular senders based on whether you open their email frequently or rarely.

Snooze Mails

Like the ‘Mark as Unread’ function, snoozing email reminds you to read or reply to important messages. The clock icon that appears within the email is the snooze button, which allows senders to have an email redelivered at a later time. Users can snooze emails based on a pre-set date (Tomorrow, This Weekend, Next Week, Someday) or pick a specific date and time.

Sidebar Apps

On the right-hand side of the new Gmail is a sidebar that allows you to quickly access your Google Calendar, the new notes button, and Google Tasks. You also have an option to install Gmail add-ons from the G Suite Marketplace, which includes various productivity tools that integrate with Gmail.

Moreover, you can conveniently archive, delete, mark as read or unread, and snooze mail without having to check the box next to the mail, via the inline button. Just hover over the right-hand side of the email line and these buttons will appear.

Security

Users of the new Gmail will also benefit from an added security feature that warns them of potentially harmful email content, particularly spam. The risk warning text doesn’t merely tell you of a possible risk but also offers an easy way out via a ‘Delete Now’ button, which lets users eliminate risky emails on the spot.

Other features include smart reply which lets you choose quick responses like ‘Thanks for the mail’ or ‘Not interested’ to reply to emails requiring you to respond to a meeting invite and similar messages; a nudging feature, which reminds users to respond to messages that haven’t been replied to; and an offline mode, which allows users to search, create, and delete emails when they're not connected to the internet.

These and other seemingly minor Gmail updates will help you save time and manage your inbox more efficiently. For more productivity tips and recommendations, call our experts today.

Don’t fall for distributed spam distraction

One of the most frustrating things about using email is seeing dozens of spam messages every day. Fortunately, they’re just minor annoyances that are easy to remove from your inbox. However, hackers have developed a way to make spam much more insidious. Here’s what you need to know about modern spam attacks.

Understanding DSD
Distributed Spam Distraction (DSD) is designed to inundate your inbox with thousands of nonsense emails. There are no dangerous links, ads, or attachments involved, just random excerpts of text stolen from books and websites. What’s more, the email and IP addresses used are all different so victims can’t simply block a specific sender.

These attacks last anywhere from 12 to 24 hours and can flood inboxes with as many as 60,000 messages. While they may seem like harmless annoyances, the true purpose of DSD is to draw victims’ attention away from what hackers are doing behind the scenes.

And what they’re doing is exploiting your personally identifiable information (PII) to make unauthorized purchases or pilfer cash directly from your accounts. The DSD acts as a sort of smokescreen to hide payment confirmation messages behind a deluge of spam messages.

New tactics
Over the years, hackers have developed new tactics involving DSD. Several reports have shown that, instead of nonsensical emails, hackers are using automated software to have their targets sign up for thousands of free accounts and newsletters to distract them with authentic messages. This allows DSD blasts to slip past spam filters that have been designed to weed out malicious code and gibberish text used by traditional DSD attacks.

What’s even more worrying is that any ill-intentioned individual can go to the dark web and pay for DSD services. They just have to provide a hacker with their target’s name, email address, and credit card numbers -- all of which can also be purchased in the dark web -- and pay as little as $40 to send 20,000 spam messages.

How to stop it
DSD is a clear sign that one of your accounts has been hijacked, so whenever you receive dozens of emails in quick succession, contact your financial institutions to cancel any unfamiliar transactions and change your login credentials as soon as possible. It’s also important to update your anti-spam software (or get one if you don’t have one already) to protect your inbox from future DSD attacks.

Hackers only initiate DSD attacks after they’ve obtained their target’s email address and personal information, so make sure your accounts and identity are well protected. This means you should regularly change your passwords and pins, enable multi-factor authentication, set up text alerts for whenever online purchases are made in your name, and be careful about sharing personal information.

For more tips on how to deal with DSDs or other cyberattacks, call us today. We offer powerful tools and expert advice that will ensure your business’s safety.