For a while Google has been protecting users of its popular Gmail service from phishing e-mails by rejecting any message it knows is fake from senders such as eBay and PayPal.
This week Google announced a new tool that makes it even easier to know if an e-mail is legit. Gmail users can now enable a new feature "Authentication icon for verified senders" which places a key icon next to e-mails that have been verified as "Super-Trustworthy" by Gmail.
Right now the Super-Trustworthy designation will only appear on e-mails from eBay and PayPal since they have completed the numerous steps needed to get verified, but the Gmail team expects to roll this designation out to banks and other senders shortly.
The feature relies on technology called DKIM which lets senders verify that e-mail is actually from them. Simply put, DKIM is like the seals that kings used to use on important documents to make it easy for the reader to know it was real and hadn't been tampered with.
Turning on the icons is as simple as visiting the Labs section of Gmail and enabling the "Authentication icon for verified senders" plugin which is close to the bottom of the page.
If you haven't visited this section of Gmail before you'll also find plenty other cool features and plugins that will help you get the most out of your Gmail account. Personal favorites include Yelp restaurant reviews, Flickr images and YouTube videos all viewable from inside an e-mail.
If you don't have a Gmail account or an e-mail address that uses DKIM to stop phishing e-mails you should really look into getting one since it will become more useful as banks and others start making using it.
By making sure that all of my eBay and PayPal accounts are tied to a Gmail address I can now block all e-mail from these senders to my work and other e-mail accounts, greatly reducing the amount of spam I get.
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