Feeds

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

Web firm's crypto revamp praised by erstwhile critics

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
KER-CHING! CryptoWall ransomware scam rakes in $1 MEEELLION
Anatomy of the net's most destructive ransomware threat
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
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.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.