Feeds

Yahoo! To! Switch! On! Webmail! Crypto! By! Default! Next! Year!

Never mind NSA backdoors, Purple Palace has got your back

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

Following in the footsteps of Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, Yahoo! has said that it will make SSL encryption the default for all users of its Yahoo! Mail service beginning in January.

The Purple Palace confirmed the plan in an emailed statement to the Washington Post on Monday.

Yahoo! has only offered SSL encryption for its email service since January of this year, well behind other, competing webmail services, and the feature is currently only enabled for users who opt in.

By comparison, Google's Gmail service has made SSL the default since January 2010, and the online ad giant has been gradually switching on the protocol for search and other services ever since.

Microsoft followed suit in 2012 by adding encryption to its own webmail service during the migration of its users from Hotmail to Outlook.com, and Facebook switched on SSL by default for all of its worldwide users in August of this year.

Yahoo! has been criticized for dragging its feet to do the same, even as security researchers have raised concerns that SSL web encryption may actually have been compromised by domestic spying programs, based on documents revealed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

In July, Snowden made the eyebrow-raising claim that Microsoft had collaborated with the NSA and the FBI to build a government backdoor into its encrypted Outlook.com service, a charge Redmond has since denied in a letter to the US Attorney General.

More crucially, however, researchers now believe that spy agencies including the NSA and the GCHQ have been actively working to compromise many of the encryption methods used on the web for years, and that deciphering SSL-encrypted communications may present little difficulty for them.

If that is in fact the case, then Yahoo!'s decision to switch on SSL years after most of its competitors is not just very late, but very little.

Still, any move toward increased security at the Purple Palace is welcome. In a statement to the Washington Post, the company said it "takes the security of [its] users very seriously." ®

The next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.