Google introduces ‘geo-protection’ to Gmail users

25 Mar 2010

Combining its previous remote signout and information with a new monitoring feature that checks where you have been signing in to check your mail, Google can now detect and alert you to suspicious activity on your account if it has been accessed in an unlikely geographic location.

Google is adding extra security to protect Gmail users against hackers by cross referencing the IP address of recent logins with the location that the user would usually come from.

If your Gmail account is reporting that you have logged in from Ireland an hour ago and are now logging in from China a mere 60 minutes later, chances are it is not the legitimate user and a warning will be displayed at the end of your account advising you to change your password immediately.

Google says this monitoring complies with its privacy policy and matches to a broad geographic location.

“While we don’t have the capability to determine the specific location from which an account is accessed, a login appearing to come from one country and occurring a few hours after a login from another country may trigger an alert,” explained Pavni Diwanji, engineering director, Google.

“If you think your account has been compromised, you can change your password from the same window. Or, if you know it was legitimate access (eg, you were travelling, your husband/wife who accesses the account was also travelling, etc.), you can click “Dismiss” to remove the message,” he added.

By Marie Boran

Photo: Google is alerting users to potentially unauthorised access to their Gmail accounts