Gmail Taking Email Hacking Seriously with New Forwarding Filter Notice

If you have set your Gmail account to forward some or all of your mail to another account, Gmail is temporarily notifying you with a prominent red box across the top of your Gmail window.

The explanation from Google says the notice will only be up for about a week and "will appear for a few minutes each time you sign in to your account."

Google's reasoning: "Displaying the notification in this way helps ensure that you have a chance to see the notice, rather than someone who might try to gain unauthorized access to your account and use this setting improperly."

A Google spokesperson told LAUNCH in an email that the change "was not prompted by an incident" and pointed us to this July 26 Gmail blog post, which has the tone of a friendly reminder.

In early June, Chinese hackers got into the Gmail accounts of senior U.S. officials and others.

After discovering in December 2009 that hackers got into the Gmail accounts of human rights activists in China, Google began defaulting all accounts to "https" mode to encrypt email content, not just login data.

In March 2010, Google shut down its Chinese search engine and redirected its Chinese-language site to Hong Kong largely due to online censorship issues and the hacking incident. To keep its operating license in China, Google agreed last summer to set up a new landing page that offers a link to the Hong Kong site but does not automatically redirect users.