NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Major technology companies are beginning to encrypt e-mail messages.
Google, Microsoft, Comcast, Yahoo, Facebook, and AOL and other companies are either already encrypting your e-mails, or are working on getting their users encrypted. The companies are doing this in response to fears over government spying and other hackers.
These companies are using an encryption called Transport Layer Security (TLS) to basically convert your email into coding that looks like gibberish until it arrives to who you sent it to.
The only downside is that TLS is a two-way street; your email will only be encrypted if the person who you are sending it to also has an email provider that uses TLS. Tony Russel-Smith, a Service Technician with YES Computers, explained: “It could definitely be a false sense of security for users, because the thing about SSL or TLS encryption is that every link in the chain; from you sending the message to the person receiving it, it has to be encrypted. If it’s unencrypted at any point, then it might as well be broken.”
One critic of TLS is former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the man who leaked documents revealing online spying by the security agency. Snowden says that TLS security is just too easy for the government to decode.