Yahoo! Catches Up With Google and Microsoft, Will Encrypt Email to Keep the NSA Out of Your Inbox
Now that @yahoo.com address is a little less embarrassing.
Email is one of the least secure ways to communicate, but it’s also one of the most common. With the recent revelations that the NSA is spying on everyone security has become a bigger priority in people’s lives, and businesses are looking to cash in. Yahoo! just announced they’re joining Google and Microsoft in efforts to encrypt their email service.
Yahoo!’s encryption will roll out early next year and, combined with the efforts of Google and Microsoft, will protect over one billion accounts from government snooping, although really Google and Microsoft are doing most of the heavy lifting there. Yahoo! has 110 million email users while Google and Microsoft boast over 400 million each.
The Yahoo! encryption will be pretty good. Literally. They’re using PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) encryption. It uses two separate encryption keys, one public and one private, to encrypt data. It’s not a perfect system. Subject lines and sender/recipient data are not encrypted, so the NSA can see who you’re emailing.
It’s also not known whether the NSA can crack PGP encryption. Some believe they already can, but even if that’s true it would still prevent agencies like the NSA from gathering large collections of email at once. They would have to target specific emails they believe would be worth decrypting. Still though, compared to the current system of the government of just being able to do basically whatever they want to look at your email, it’s pretty good.
Not all of the details of the encryption plan are in place yet, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction to get people to trust their email again.
Now if someone would just do something about trusting the government we’d be all set.
- Remember Heartbleed? The NSA knew about it and exploited it for years
- The NSA also posed as Facebook to spread malware
- Read this leaked NSA advice column