Google to start deleting THOUSANDS of Gmail accounts – is yours safe?
Check your Gmail NOW: Google warns it will start deleting THOUSANDS of accounts this year – here’s how to make sure yours is safe
- Google warned that numerous accounts could be deleted from December 2023
- Accounts that have failed to set up two-factor verification are at risk of deletion
- Users that have not logged in for two years also risk being deleted from Google
Google has warned that numerous Gmail users will soon be wiped from the platform in an effort to tighten its security.
The tech giant announced that thousands of abandoned email accounts could be deleted from December amid hacking and scam fears.
Users who rely on compromised passwords will be among those deleted, in addition to those whose accounts have gone without regular security checks for two years.
This includes the failure to set up two-factor verification, according to Google.
In a blog post, it said: ‘People want the products and services they use online to be safe and secure. Which is why we have invested in technology and tools to protect our users from security threats, like spam, phishing scams and account hijacking.
Google warned that numerous abandoned accounts could be deleted from December 2023
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‘Even with these protections, if an account hasn’t been used for an extended period of time, it is more likely to be compromised.
‘This is because forgotten or unattended accounts often rely on old or re-used passwords that may have been compromised, haven’t had two factor authentication set up, and receive fewer security checks by the user.’
While Google’s deletion policy was announced yesterday, it will not take effect until December this year.
The mass deletion will take a ‘phased approach’, starting with accounts that were created and never used again.
The decision comes just a week after Twitter similarly announced it would ‘purge’ accounts that had been inactive for several years.
Many users were left confused over when this would take place and if they could access data from these accounts, as Elon Musk later said it would be ‘archived’.
While Musk’s deletion goal is to ‘free up abandoned handles’, Google’s primary focus is to protect users from spam and account hijacking.
Accounts that have not been used or signed into for at least two years are at the highest risk of deletion.
Personalised YouTube content is at risk too if an abandoned Gmail account is linked to it (stock image)
HOW TO KEEP YOUR GOOGLE ACCOUNT ACTIVE
This is especially the case for those that rely on old or re-used passwords that may have since been compromised.
Criminals can used compromised accounts for anything from identity theft to a vessel for malicious content.
Deletion of these accounts will see all content removed too, including that from Google Documents, Workspace, Drive, Meet, Calendar and Photos.
YouTube content is also at risk, with many Google accounts linked to the video-streaming platform.
Thankfully, before any account is deleted, Google will send numerous notifications to warn the affected user.
Emails will even be sent to any recovery emails that have been provided in connection to a Gmail account.
But users can also take a number of other steps to ensure their account is seen to be active.
Signing in and simply reading or sending an email is one way to make it clear your account is in use.
Watching a YouTube video or using Google’s Drive or Search are also among other ways to do so.
Google added: ‘The policy only applies to personal Google Accounts, and will not affect accounts for organisations like schools or businesses.
‘This update aligns our policy with industry standards around retention and account deletion and also limits the amount of time Google retains your unused personal information.
‘We are going to roll this out slowly and carefully, with plenty of notice.’
Google will now write your emails for you as Gmail is set to use generative AI
Google will now write your emails for you, the tech giant has announced.
Gmail, its messaging service with over 1.8bn users worldwide, will use the latest generative AI to compose detailed emails with just a simple prompt.
Revealing the latest development at its annual I/O conference, Google boss Sundar Pichai demonstrated how it could draft a letter to an airline demanding a refund for a cancelled flight.
The ‘Help Me Write’ feature will incorporate details from previous emails, and also give the user the option to ‘elaborate’ – in which it will write a longer, seemingly more persuasive and emotional, message.
Mr Pichai said the company was using the latest generative AI – the software behind its chatbot Bard and rival ChatGPT – to ‘radically’ reimagine all its core products.
(File photo) Google’s Gmail service will use AI to write entire emails from just one prompt
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