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Gmail can scan images to stop confidential data being leaked

Google's optical character recognition tech can now peek inside image attachments.
Matt Brian, @m4tt
03.01.16 in Security

Businesses do a lot to secure their operations, but often it just takes one rogue employee to send themselves confidential files and they're doomed. Google launched its Data Loss Prevention (DLP) service to help companies avoid such a calamity, and now it's getting even more powers to avoid data losses. With the update, Gmail will be able to scan documents with optical character recognition to make sure attached images don't contain sensitive information like social security numbers or passwords.

Google's business platform already had the ability to scan documents, but it can now match keywords or certain text strings to an admin-approved blacklist. It's designed to stop someone from sending something by mistake, but it can also potentially identify when an employee is purposely trying to share company secrets.

Currently, optical character recognition is only available to paid Google Apps Unlimited customers. That makes sense given you're unlikely to need protection from sending credit card details in an image file from your personal account. If you do feel your account could use some additional security, though, make sure that you enable two-step verification and keep training those spam filters.

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