Gmail’s broken lock alert: your watchdog against unencrypted emails

Think your emails are safely zipping through the internet? Not always! While Gmail shields your messages with basic encryption, some senders might be using flimsy protection, leaving your messages exposed like postcards in a blizzard. But fear not, vigilant emailer! Gmail has a secret weapon to warn you: the broken lock icon.

What’s the broken lock? Just like the padlock symbol on your bank website, Gmail uses a little lock icon next to sender or recipient names. But when it’s broken, it’s flashing a red alert: “Hey, this email isn’t using strong encryption!”. Think of it as a friendly watchdog guarding your inbox.

Why should you care? Unencrypted emails are like unzipped suitcases on a crowded train – anyone can peek inside! Hackers and snoopers could potentially read your messages, steal personal information, or even inject malware. Yikes!

So, what to do? When you see that broken lock, here’s your action plan:

  • Be cautious: Avoid sending sensitive information like passwords or financial details in these emails.
  • Think twice: Is the sender someone you trust? Unfamiliar broken locks might be red flags.
  • Use encrypted alternatives: For truly sensitive conversations, consider switching to platforms like ProtonMail or Signal that offer stronger encryption options.

Cybersecurity tips:

  • The broken lock doesn’t mean your email is automatically doomed. It’s just a helpful heads-up to be mindful of your communication and take extra precautions when needed.
  • Enable Gmail’s “Always use TLS” setting for an extra layer of protection. This forces Gmail to use encryption whenever possible, even if the recipient’s server doesn’t offer it.

So, keep your eyes peeled for that broken lock, and use it as your guide to safer, more secure communication.