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Providers Looking to Enhance Security of E-Mails

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With online security receiving more attention daily, one of the Internet’s oldest forms of communication may be getting just a bit safer.

ietf-logoSome of the world’s top e-mail providers have joined together for a proposal which could change the way messages land in users’ inboxes. The proposed changes – brought forward by providers including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft – would mean enhanced security if the Internet Engineering Task Force puts a stamp of approval on the idea.

The issue is the fact e-mails are still being sent using technology more than 30 years old. As reported by PC Mag, e-mails are still sent in plain text, making it very easy for hackers to intercept the data. An upgrade in the early 2000s added a layer of encryption, but it was not widely adopted and also has flaws.

The providers are hoping to change how that data is transferred and, finally, lands in a recipient’s inbox.

A highly technical draft proposal outlines adopting a system known as SMTP STS would add layers of security.

“SMTP STS is a mechanism enabling mail service providers to declare their ability to receive TLS-secured connections, to declare particular methods for certificate validation, and to request sending SMTP servers to report upon and/or refuse to deliver messages that cannot be delivered securely,” the proposal states.

The proposal is set to expire in September meaning the task force can examine it and its implications before a decision may be made.

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W. Brice McVicar

W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.

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  • I’d take some issue with the notion that it’s “very easy” for hackers to read email. To do that, they either need to hack into some part of the email chain (router, server, etc.), the end user’s computer or network. Not impossible for sure, but it’s not as if the average hacker can sit around reading anyone’s email they like.