Google says it will send warnings several times before deleting old accounts in December, a move designed to prevent hackers from using inactive accounts to send scam emails.
If you also have a Gmail account and you use it occasionally, then be careful, Google has issued a new warning, all Gmail accounts that have not been used for more than two years will be closed.
The new policy (opens in new window) takes effect in December, at which time Google may delete inactive accounts where applicable. “We will take a phased approach, starting with accounts that were created and never used again,” the company said.
The change comes nearly three years after Google announced (opens in a new window) it could delete content in a user’s account, such as in Gmail or Google Photos, if they’ve been inactive for two years. This coincides with the end of free unlimited storage for Google Photos and Google Docs.
The search giant is now expanding potential deletions from content to full accounts in an effort to crack down on hackers abusing Google services for phishing schemes. As the company notes, unused Google accounts are easier to break into because they’re often protected with old, easy-to-guess passwords.
“Our internal analysis shows that abandoned accounts are at least 10 times less likely to have 2-Step-Verification set up than active accounts. Meaning, these accounts are often vulnerable, and once an account is compromised, it can be used for anything from identity theft to unwanted or malicious content such as spam,” Google said in a blog post. said in.
To prevent consumers from being caught off guard, the company will send affected users “several notifications in the months leading up to the deletion for both the account email address and the recovery email.”
“We’re going to roll this out slowly and carefully, with plenty of notice,” the search giant said. So Google will not delete inactive accounts immediately. This policy also only applies to personal Google Accounts—not accounts for organizations like companies or schools.
“The easiest way to keep your Google Account active is to sign-in at least once every 2 years. If you’ve recently signed in to your Google Account or any of our services, your account is considered active And it will not be removed,” the company said.