Gmail’s Confidential Mode Isn’t

Google recently rolled out a feature called “confidential mode”, which claims to prevent disclosure of an email message to anyone other than its intended recipient. The message can only be viewed by the person you send it to, and cannot be forwarded or copied.

Or can it?

What’s that old saying? Oh yeah: “If it can be seen, it can be copied.”

Let me show you how by sharing one of my so-called “confidential” messages.

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Enabling Google Two-Factor Authentication

A high percentage of the questions I’ve received over the years have related to account loss due to hacks or other compromises. Two-factor authentication is one of the best ways to prevent your account from being compromised, even if the hackers somehow get your password.

Exactly how it works and how to set it up isn’t always easily understood. On top of that, what I consider a critical step to maintaining your account access is often overlooked.

So, let’s set up two-factor authentication in your Google account.

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How Do Gmail Labels Relate to Folders?

Google Mail, or Gmail to most, is a wildly popular free email service. It’s fast, easy to use, and sports one of the best spam filters around.

What most people don’t quite realize is that Gmail looks at the world a little differently than most. And in doing so, it leverages something else that Google has a strong track record in: search.

Gmail labels are aren’t what most people think they are. Normally, that’s not an issue, but when accessing Gmail using a desktop email program via IMAP, it can cause a lot of confusion.

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How Do I Change My Gmail Password?

I can’t figure out how to change my password on Google for my Gmail account.

I’ll show you.

However, I do have to point out that in order to change your password, you must be able to log in. I mean, if you can’t log in then you can’t prove that you’re the rightful owner of the account. If Google did allow you to change your password without logging in first, then anyone could change it, whether or not they were actually authorized to do so.

So, step 1: login to your Gmail account.

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How Do I Copy Email from Outlook to Gmail?

I would like to copy all folders in Outlook 2003 to my Gmail account as I’m going to change from XP to Windows 7 soon. I’ve not been able to do this so far although I’ve successfully copied Contacts. In view of the expiration date of XP being soon, this could be a very useful article for a lot of people. Could you please give step-by-step-instructions for how to do this?

There are a couple of possible confusions in this question. Copying existing email to Gmail can be a very useful thing. I’ve done it myself. But I want to make sure you know exactly what it means.

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Why Do I Always Have to Sign Out Other Sessions in Gmail?


Leo, I’ve got one computer and I’m the only one who uses it. I don’t have any kind of mobile device that I use with Gmail. I never accessed any of my accounts from any other computer or location. Before I shut my computer down, I always go to Internet Options and clear my cache and cookies. I check every box except the top and bottom ones and then I go to disk cleanup where I always check all the boxes and clean up everything. I change my passwords at least once a month on the websites. I use it every day and yet, at least once a week I have to close other sessions in Gmail when I click on the Details. I have a free account so of course it’s next to impossible to get an explanation from Google themselves. Should I be concerned or is this some kind of a glitch in email? This isn’t new; it’s been happening for some time.

It’s actually a pretty nifty feature in Gmail. Basically, it’s telling you where Gmail has seen your account being accessed from. Naturally, it’s a little scary to see things like 1, 2 or 3 other places, when you believe that you’ve logged in from exactly and only one. I’ll throw out a few ideas as to why that might be and what, if anything, you need to do.

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How Do I Get Rid of Gmail Tabs?

Gmail just turned on some kind of tabbed inbox feature. It’s randomly putting mail into different “categories.” How do I turn that off?

Full disclosure: that was me asking the question.

While I was out on a trip, Google enabled their new “tabbed” inbox. My first reaction?

How do I turn this thing off?

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Do Gmail Preview Images Pose a Security Risk?

My question is somewhat similar to what others have asked before, but this time, I explicitly want to talk about Gmail. As you 
know, some attachments show a thumbnail of its contents on the email footer. There are times that I receive legitimate emails by mistake, so I open the email to reply and notify about it. By doing that and by being able to see the 
preview thumbnail, am I putting my computer at risk of malware? I never download things that I’m not expecting, but I’m 
unsure if just having this “default preview” setting, I may actually be executing whatever there could be without really knowing it.

By now, it’s just good common sense to turn off images in your email viewer. That prevents spammers from using images embedded in a message to confirm that they’ve found a real email address where someone actually reads their email.

Attachments, on the other hand, are a little different. They typically make it to your inbox, and your security depends on your ability to distinguish between safe and unsafe attachments. By now, you should know only to open attachments that you know are safe.

Google occasionally includes preview images of your attachments. Because attachments can be dangerous and images are sometimes an invasion of privacy, is there an issue here?

Not really. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I’ll explain why.

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How Do I Find the IP Address of the Person Who Created a Gmail Account in My Name?

How do I find the IP address of the person who created a Gmail account in my name? I tried the last ten IP address searches and it was all mine. How can I see the one where it was opened with?

This is a bit of a confusing question only because you seem to have access to the last ten IP addresses. That means you have access to the account created in your name.

If that’s true, then I’m afraid I don’t really know what caused this. If somebody created an account in your name, it would really depend on the steps that you took to go through and gain access to that account.

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Should I Be Worried about the “Open in Other Locations” Message from Gmail?

When I go to my Gmail account, mainly to clear out existing email, I always click on or open the Details link in the lower right. Sometimes, I see a “Sign out of other sessions” link so I can click on this to supposedly sign out any other session. So my question is: why do I see this and what “paranoid rating” (for lack of a better word) do I give this? I use basically three options for checking my email. One is using Mailwasher Pro, the second is using Thunderbird, and the third is using Firefox and going to Gmail.

Let me start by explaining this feature. If you have a Gmail account and you log in, there’s a link in the lower right corner that either reads “The latest activity was # minutes ago” or “Open in # of other places” followed by a Details link.

When you click the link, Gmail opens an Activity Information window which displays what the access type was, what the IP address was, and the date of the access. For instance, if I was logged into Gmail and opened the Activity Information window, I’d see that I’m accessing it from my IP address, which is somewhere in the United States.

This is really neat feature – one that can ultimately protect your Gmail account from hackers.

Read moreShould I Be Worried about the “Open in Other Locations” Message from Gmail?