Google Security

Gmail’s Remote Signout And Logging

Google has recently upped their profile in regards to security and privacy. Last week Google made the subtle change of adding a privacy link to the homepage. This is common on most sites, but avoided by Google because they are very strict about cluttering their homepage. Privacy groups have wanted this for years, so this is a pretty large win.

Today Google announced it’s rolling out the ability to remotely sign out other computers from your Gmail account. You’ll also be able to view the IP address, interface (web, mobile, IMAP, POP3), and time that anyone has logged into your account. This is a groundbreaking change in regards to email security.

Now it’s possible for email users to review the logs and see if and when anyone else has accessed their personal email.

I suspect Yahoo, and Microsoft will be working to copy this feature, perhaps with their own enhancements (invalid password logging maybe?). I can also see Facebook and MySpace rolling out a similar feature in the near future. It’s an easy enough enhancement that provides a lot more comfort and security to the product.

Employers going through employees personal email has been hostile waters for a long time including a recent high profile case. This is certain to agitate that. I suspect there are a few companies who will be updating their policies in the next few weeks to try and protect themselves. There will even be a few who will sue Google claiming libel or that Google’s privacy policy should cover you when you log into someone else’s account provided you have one of your own. This is guaranteed to happen.

It’s a good move by Google. This feature greatly enhances the security of Gmail and puts it in a class well beyond what Yahoo or Hotmail currently provide. This is likely the biggest threat to email other than viruses which they all scan pretty well, and phishing, which they also do a decent job with.

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