Gmail’s Confidential Mode for All G Suite Users from June 25
Gmail’s confidential mode would be available for all G Suite users from June 25.
Google had launched Gmail’s confidential mode in beta earlier in August 2018. Now, Google has announced its plans to launch the confidential mode for all G Suite users. This will happen on June 25.
Google has clarified that once the Gmail confidential mode becomes generally available for all G Suite users, it would be set to default ON for all domains with Gmail enabled, unless the user chooses to disable the feature.
Gmail Confidential Mode: What’s it?
The Gmail confidential mode makes it possible for the sender of an email to revoke a sent email or even add expiration dates to it. It will also be possible to block printing and forwarding of emails.
A blog post from the G Suite team explains it in detail; it says- “Confidential mode provides built-in information rights management controls in your emails by allowing senders to create expiration dates and revoke previously sent messages. Because a sender can require additional authentication via text message to view an email, it’s also possible to protect data even if a recipient’s email account has been hijacked while the message is active. Additionally, with confidential mode, recipients don’t have the option to forward, copy, print, or download their content or attachments.”
Thus, the sender of an email in confidential mode can configure various options including setting a date for expiration or self-destruction (as regards setting expiration, it can be configured from 1 day to 5 years), demanding password entry for the mail to open etc.
The confidential mode works with all email providers because these emails wouldn’t be containing the actual email. The recipient would be getting an email that contains a link to the Google servers that hosts the email. When the recipient clicks on the link, Google would demand a login to confirm that it’s the intended recipient. Once the recipient logs in, the email would be made available. In case the sender realizes that the email was sent by mistake or if the sender wishes to withdraw access, opening the email and clicking on the Remove access button in the Sent folder would do the job.
While using the confidential mode, since the sender can require additional authentication (via text message) from the recipient to view an email, it becomes possible to protect data even if the recipient’s email account is hacked when the message is active.
When the Gmail confidential mode was launched in beta in August 2018, experts pointed out that though recipients cannot save or print the mail as such, it’s not possible to stop the recipient from taking a screenshot. Similarly, experts also pointed out that this feature could be used in future for launching phishing attacks, especially since there is a link that necessitates login from the part of the recipient.
How to use Gmail confidential mode
Users can at present go to Apps> G Suite > Settings for Gmail > User settings and choose either the “Disable” or the “Enable now (beta)” option. Once the feature is launched for general use, users can choose the “Enable when the feature is in general availability” option. Google provides users with details instructions about protecting emails using the confidential mode and also regarding how to send and read confidential messages, how to work with Gmail confidential mode messages in vault etc.
So now, it’s going to be a wait till June 25, when the Gmail confidential mode will be made available on all G Suite editions, with one to three days for feature visibility on both the rapid and scheduled release domains.
Julia Sowells960 Posts
Julia Sowells has been a technology and security professional. For a decade of experience in technology, she has worked on dozens of large-scale enterprise security projects, and even writing technical articles and has worked as a technical editor for Rural Press Magazine. She now lives and works in New York, where she maintains her own consulting firm with her role as security consultant while continuing to write for Hacker Combat in her limited spare time.