Google is praising Gmail’s ability to detect and block emails from spammers and scammers that use a feature of similarity among Unicode characters (a standard for character encoding for all the writing systems in the world, along with technical symbols, punctuation and other text characters) to fool users into clicking on bad links.
Spam and phishing emails often combine characters among different scripts (such as the Latin and Cyrillic scripts’ characters for the lowercase letter “a”) which are often very similar, in website links that otherwise look legitimate to the unsuspecting eye. So scammers set up a site with the URL of a known business—a large bank or retailer—using a mixture of Unicode characters that look the same to the untrained eye, making the URL look like the one from that business. Then they include a link to that malicious site in spam and phishing emails, hoping people will click on it.
The Unicode community has identified suspicious combinations of letters that could be misleading, and Gmail’s filters reject emails with such combinations by using the Unicode Consortium’s “Highly Restricted” open standard designation.
Google’s Gmail spam filter reroutes emails assessed as being spam to a separate inbox, from which they are automatically deleted after 30 days. If Gmail is incorrectly marking legitimate emails (the ones you actually want to receive) as spam, you can disable the spam filter by using Gmail’s customer filter option to route the spam email directly to your inbox rather than to spam folder.
The steps you need to follow:
– Sign into your Gmail account and click “Create a Filter” button (next to the “Search the Web” button) at the top of the page
– Type “is:spam” into the “Has the words” text-field. Click “Next Step.”
– Click the check box next to “Never Send It to Spam.” and click on the “Create Filter” button.
Mail detected as spam now goes directly to your inbox, rather than to the “Spam” folder.
Although you might think that the filters are the best thing ever invented, if you’re ready to really lock down your account, it’s time to turn on the whitelisting features of Gmail. For example, enabling Gmail’s Priority Inbox is a great way to start training Gmail to understand who’s important and who isn’t (so you don’t have to create a different rule every time for different user accounts from which you want to receive e mail). Once it knows, it’ll only notify you of the people who are actually important. You can take it to another level and add some useful organizational toggles to your inbox so you only see the emails you actually want to see. You can even set up a whitelist so only the messages from domains you approve make it into your inbox at all, and everything else is routed elsehwere.
Similarly, mobile apps like Dextr for Android can be configured to only show you email from the people you allow, so you can focus on what’s important, without the persistent newsletters, spam and other junk email.