secure password

Google, Microsoft, Yahoo bring together a new SMTP encryption protocol

A group of independent security researchers along with major tech companies in Silicon Valley filed last Friday, 18 March 2016, a proposal for a new e-mail protocol called SMTP STS (Strict Transport Security).

Secure Password smtp

The SMTP there was never a secure protocol, mainly because at the time 1982 was invented, online surveillance was not such a big problem among the few thousands of computers that were connected to the Internet at the time.

As the Web was growing, and hackers first appeared, and then space criminals, technology companies brought the STARTTLS extension to STMP as a method of using encrypted channels to send emails.

Unfortunately, STARTTLS was never as safe as originally planned, mainly due to a series of design flaws that allowed attackers to fool the servers to tell their email sender that they do not support encryption and that they should send the data to plain text .

This is exactly the hole security researchers are trying to fix with this new extension of the SMTP protocol called STS.

In theory, this new extension looks like HTTPS's HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) extension. Just like HSTS, SMTP STS checks the confidentiality of the message and the authenticity of the server and thus proceeds to the startup process of an encrypted e-mail communication channel.

STMP STS will allow two e-mail servers to cryptographically authenticate each other and decide in a secure way whether to use encryption, whether encryption is supported, and what to do if they do not supported.

Among the biggest names of companies involved in this effort are Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and Comcast. Currently, the proposal is only a draft specification for the IEEE (Internet Engineering Task Force), but judging by how many and large companies are involved, the chances are we will see it as an official specification very soon.

Last year, Oracle had submitted a similar proposal called DEEP (Deployable Enhanced Email Privacy).

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Written by Dimitris

Dimitris hates on Mondays .....

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