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Gmail is about to get its best new security feature in a long time

Published Jan 26th, 2017 11:39AM EST
Gmail Malware JavaScript Files
Image: Shutterstock

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Malware attacks often creep in via email, as attachments that unsuspecting users open on their work and personal computers. These malicious programs can potentially unleash hell on those machines in the process. Google is now looking to make Gmail even safer when it comes to malware attacks by adding a new feature that blocks any JavaScript that would otherwise hit your inbox inbox.

Google already blocks certain file types that can execute programs on a computer, including .exe, .bat, and .msc files. But starting February 13th, Gmail users won’t be able to open .js files from Gmail. In fact, Google will not even let you receive JavaScript attachments anymore.

A warning telling you that some files are blocked will pop up, and you won’t be able to attach a .js file to an outgoing email in Gmail no matter what you do. You can’t even archive it. Google will detect .js files in archives including .zip, .tgz, .gz, and .bz2 files, so there’s no point trying.

Naturally, if you have genuine reasons to share .js files, you still can do it, but you’ll have to go through Google Drive instead of attaching them to Gmail emails.

The worry with JavaScript attachments is that they can open the door to severe malware attacks, including ransomware. The malicious .js files might not do any harm by themselves, but they can act as downloaders for other programs that could lock you out of your computer or install other malware.

It’s great to see Google strengthening Gmail security, especially in light of the fact that hackers continuously come up with more sophisticated attacks. Just recently, Gmail users discovered a pretty scary phishing attack that’s able to fool even some of the most savvy Android users into handing hackers their Google account credentials.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.