Google launches new online safety tool

2015-04-30 09:12 - Duncan Alfreds, Fin24
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Cybercrime. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

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Cape Town - Google has launched a new tool designed to protect internet users from phishing attacks.

The search giant launched its "Password Alert" extension to Chrome on Wednesday which works to alert users should a username and password be entered on a non-login page.

"Once you've installed it, Password Alert will show you a warning if you type your Google password into a site that isn't a Google sign-in page. This protects you from phishing attacks and also encourages you to use different passwords for different sites, a security best practice," wrote Drew Hintz, Google security engineer and Justin Kosslyn of Google Ideas on the official blog.

Password Alert works in two ways to help keep internet users secure: It responds to a password entered on a non-login page, and also encourages people to use multiple passwords to stay safe.

"You should immediately reset your password to keep your Gmail account secure. Also, please make sure your Gmail password is not used on other services," says the message displayed by the service.

Verification tools

Phishing and other malware attacks are set to increase as criminals focus on stealing personal and financial information.

"The most effective phishing attacks can succeed 45% of the time, nearly 2% of messages to Gmail are designed to trick people into giving up their passwords, and various services across the web send millions upon millions of phishing emails, every day," said Hintz and Kosslyn.

Once you have lost control of an email address to hackers, it can often be used to send similar attacks to your contacts, or compromise your financial accounts by requesting changes in your information.

Cyber criminals use phishing attacks such as these to lure people into divulging their personal and financial information. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Google said that it also offers additional verification tools to ensure that accounts are not hacked.

"We also offer tools like 2-Step Verification and Security Key that people can use to protect their Google Accounts and stay safe online. And of course, you can also take a Security Checkup at any time to make sure the safety and security information associated with your account is current," said Hintz and Kosslyn.

Internet companies are on the front-lines of cybercrime and social media giant Facebook has also implemented security protocols to ensure that users have some security on the platform.

If you access Facebook from a new device or location, the company requires that you verify your Facebook credentials either through the security question, phone number or friend recognition feature.

Attitude

According to Kaspersky Lab, users in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa faced a number of security threats in the first three months of the year. At least 41% faced threats from local networks and removable media, and 21% faced direct threats from the web.

The company said that a lax attitude toward cyber security can help spread malware.

"A complacent attitude toward cyber security doesn't only put money, data and reputation at risk, but also prompts the spread of cyber threats," said Sergey Novikov, deputy director of GReAT at Kaspersky Lab.

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