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Google announced today that Gmail’s spam filter can now handle the suspicious “Unicode Homoglyphs,” giving people another tool with which to fight garbage e-mail.

Homoglyphs are the characters that look alike. One example Google gives is that “ဝ, ૦, and ο look nearly identical to the letter o”, but they are not the same. Scammers can possibly abuse Homoglyphs to trick Gmail users. Examples Google gives include “ShဝppingSite” vs. “ShoppingSite” and “MyBank” vs. “MyBɑnk.”

Starting today, Gmail will reject email with suspicious combinations of letters according to the “Highly Restricted” designation created by the Unicode Consortium. If someone is trying to send you an email that contains “ShဝppingSite” with a letter “ဝ,” it won’t go through.

This new feature is part of Google’s effort to make Gmail more global. Gmail announced a week ago that it started recognizing addresses that contain accented or non-Latin characters. Your Gmail can now send email to and receive messages from an address like 武@メール.グーグル. Filtering suspicious homoglyphs ensures these accented or non-Latin character email addresses are safe.

In July, Gmail also added support for 13 more languages, in addition to the 58 it already supports.


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