Feeds

'Good job, NSA! You turned Yahoo! into an encryption beast'

Web firm's crypto revamp praised by erstwhile critics

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Yahoo! has announced major encryption improvements designed to thwart dragnet surveillance efforts by the likes of the NSA.

Alex Stamos, Yahoo!'s recently appointed CISO (chief information security officer), said the internet giant has finished encrypting traffic between its data centres. Stamos also outlined a roadmap for future improvements, including plans to encrypt Yahoo Messenger within months, in a blog post.

"We implemented the latest in security best-practices, including supporting TLS 1.2, Perfect Forward Secrecy and a 2048-bit RSA key for many of our global properties such as Homepage, Mail and Digital Magazines. We are currently working to bring all Yahoo sites up to this standard," Stamos explains, adding that as a process that requires continuous improvement, the project to improve security at Yahoo! will never be completed.

Leaks by whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that Google and Yahoo! data centre interconnects were being tapped by the NSA's spies as part of a programme code-named MUSCULAR.

The scheme is designed to hoover up any data missed by PRISM and other NSA programmes and involves tapping into fibre-optic links leased, or run, by Google (and others) between its data centres. Encrypting traffic between its data centres is Yahoo!'s response to MUSCULAR. Google and other tech giants including Microsoft and Facebook are moving in the same direction but Yahoo! has arguably managed to leapfrog its competitors.

Encryption experts who had previously been highly critical of Yahoo!'s historically sloppy approach to privacy protection, including its rollout of sub-standard always-on https connections for webmail in January, are full of praise for its latest plans.

"I'm gonna need to find another company to make fun of now that Yahoo! is taking encryption seriously," said Matthew Green. a cryptographer and research professor at Johns Hopkins University. "Any suggestions?"

"I would also like to say: good job NSA. You turned Yahoo into an encryption powerhouse. *Yahoo*," he added.

Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union, also praised Yahoo!'s revamped approach to crypto in an update to his personal Twitter account. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.