Microsoft encrypts its webmail, your Outlook account is now secure


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Microsoft is stepping up its webmail encryption, according to CNet. The update comes weeks after Google released an update to its transparency report showing that less than 50% of emails received in Gmail accounts from Microsoft’s Hotmail, Live, and MSN email services were encrypted.

The software giant is currently implementing a series of changes to its products to better protect them against spies and cyber thieves. Outlook.com, Hotmail.com, Live.com and MSN.com are now secure with Transport Layer Security protections. TLS is the next generation secure socket layer and provides secure communications over the web. It is often used in tandem with Forward Secrecy or in Microsoft’s case, Perfect Forward Secrecy, which can protect your information even if someone manages to decrypt Microsoft services. Microsoft will only use PFS for its OneDrive cloud storage service.

PFS is not new, Google has been using it since 2011, but many businesses and websites do not.

Microsoft is also launching a “transparency center” at its headquarters in Redmond, Washington. Governments can review software for open flaws or “backdoors,” although Microsoft has not indicated which products will be available for review, according to the CNet report.

This particular update to its encryption platform probably has less to do with Google’s transparency report and a lot more to do with the disclosures of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden about programs for NSA espionage. His leak of sensitive government documents had a major impact on companies whose data the US government was hijacking, including Microsoft. Most recently affected was Verizon, which lost a contract with the German government because it complied with U.S. government oversight.

Microsoft is probably trying to avoid the same fate. Last week, the company launched Interflow, a security platform for Microsoft customers to exchange information about cyber threats. Three days later, Advocate General Brad Smith said more needed to be done to protect private data. All of its efforts to improve security on its platforms show that the company is betting that better encryption will translate into better business.

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