Gmail v6.7 Prepares to Add Security Warnings for Unencrypted Messages and Suggestions to Unsubscribe from Email Lists
Email security is a big topic lately, and it’s important that we all take care of our own sensitive data. In order to protect its users from accidentally leaking private data, Google already automatically encrypts all messages sent internally through Gmail servers with TLS.
Not all email services support encryption, however, and if you send or receive a message to or from a service without encryption support you will see a red padlock warning you that the message could have been compromised en route. For whatever reason, the Android app for Gmail does not warn you when you’re dealing with a recipient whose email client does not support encryption. At least, not for long. A teardown of Gmail v6.7 reveals that Google will soon be bringing their message security warnings over to the Android app. In addition, we’ve found evidence that Gmail will show a suggestion to unsubscribe from an email list if the service thinks you aren’t interested in further messages from the sender.
Disclaimer: The evidence we dig up from the APK files of an app are not definitive. Google may choose to pull these features without any indication in a future release.
Emails, Emails, and more Emails
There are several strings within the Gmail update that point towards the inclusion of security warnings. Let’s dive in.
<string name="ces_supported">Standard encryption (TLS). ^1</string>
<string name="ces_not_supported_generic">This message was not encrypted. ^1</string>
<string name="ces_not_supported_specific">^1 did not encrypt this message. ^2</string>
<string name="ces_indicator_description">Unencrypted message</string>
<string name="ces_message_header_content_description" formatted="false">%s. %s</string>
<string name="ces_compose_subject_icon_content_description">Message not encrypted. View security details</string>
<string name="ces_dialog_title">Your message may not be secure during delivery</string>
<string name="ces_dialog_more_details">VIEW DETAILS</string>
<string name="ces_details_title">Message security</string>
<string name="ces_details_header">No encryption supported</string>
As you can see, you will now see an additional heading within the details of a message. This heading will tell you whether or not the sender of an email used encryption in transit. You will also be warned that the message may not be secure during message delivery when you attempt to reply to the message. Gmail will also show you what kind of encryption was used, if any, when you receive a message.
Say No More to Spam
Some people have given up cleaning up their massive inbox due to the sheer amount of spam they’ve accumulated. Thankfully, Gmail will soon add a feature that will give back control of the inbox to the user: unsubscription recommendations. Let’s take a look:
<string name="suggest_unsubscribe_description">Unsubscribe from %1$s?</string>
<string name="unsubscribe_confirmation">Unsubscribed from %1$s</string>
How exactly Google will determine when to show this recommendation is unknown, but it will likely be based off of your reading habits. As in, if you are frequently removing messages from an email list, Google may think you are a candidate to show this suggestion.
We have yet to see security warnings or unsubscription recommendations show up within this latest Gmail update, so it’s possible that they will either show up within a future update or it may go live via a server-side update. Nevertheless, we hope that these security warnings will help people to make more informed decisions regarding who they should share sensitive data with. And if you’re looking to finally clean up that bloated inbox, hopefully the new unsubscription suggestions will push you to make the effort.
You can download Gmail v6.7 over on APKMirror.