Alphabet’s Google Inc said on Tuesday that it would roll out an advanced protection program in order to provide stronger security for some users such as government officials and journalists who are at a higher risk of being targeted by hackers. The internet giant said that users of the program would have their account security continuously updated to deal with emerging threats.
The company said it would initially provide three defenses against security threats, which include blocking fraudulent account access and protection against phishing. The program would include additional reviews and requests in the account recovery process to prevent fraudulent access by hackers who try to gain access by pretending they have been locked out. The rollout of a suite of new email security services by Google follows a U.S. presidential election last year that was shaped in part by the disclosure of emails by anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks belonging to associates of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton that were obtained through phishing schemes.
U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that those hacks, which included a breach of Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s personal Gmail account, were carried out by Russia as part of a broader cyber campaign to help President Donald Trump, a Republican, win the White House. “If John Podesta had Advanced Protection last year, the world might be a very different place,” said Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, who was briefed on the new features by Google.
Hall said the new features would grow the number of high-risk consumers with strong protections against phishing campaigns, but that they would potentially create compatibility issues among some who already integrate custom security tools with their Gmail account.