Google Gmail Will Alert People Of Suspicious Activity

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Buzz isn't the only concern for Google Gmail. The Mountain View, Calif. search engine posted an alert Wednesday that it would begin warning people if they thought their Gmail account may have been hijacked. The new feature would alert users to suspicious activity.

Google determines whether to warn people of "suspicious account activity" if its automated system matches the relevant IP address to a broad geographical location. While the search engine doesn't have the capability to determine the specific location where an account is accessed, Google Engineering Director Pavni Diwanji explains that a login appearing to come from one country, then again a few hours later from another, may trigger an alert.

The alarm, or written warning, pops up at the top of the person's account where suspicious activity occurred. The new alert provides the warning and the locale associated with the log onto Gmail. Clicking on the "Details" link next to the message allows the person to see the last account activity window that was used, along with the most recent location or access point.

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Providing a safeguard, Google says the technology has been set up so that only the legitimate account owner receives the alert, and attempts to turn the alert off required seven days to take effect.

The decision follows a move earlier this year to initiate HTTPS by default for Gmail users, but it's not clear whether the alert has anything to do with the hackers who gained access to the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.

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