Yahoo Reveals Plans for Encrypted Mail

At this week’s Black Hat conference Yahoo revealed that it will be taking a few cues from Google and will encrypt its Yahoo Mail service.

Yahoo CIO Alex Stamos told attendees at Black Hat that they can expect the service to be rolled out in 2015.

What’s most interesting about the announcement though is that Yahoo Mail will not only have end-to-end encryption but will be compatible with Gmail’s encryption once it’s available too, meaning Yahoo and Gmail users can communicate securely.

“What this means is that eventually not only will Yahoo Mail users be able to communicate in an encrypted manner with other Yahoo Mail users,” said Stamos, “but also with Gmail users and eventually with other email systems that adopt similar methodologies.”

Tech giants have been unwilling to use encryption for their customers’ email services due to its cost but since the Snowden revelations many attitudes have changed.

Stamos went on to say that Yahoo will release the open source code before the end of the year in the hopes that others will help them sort out bugs.

“We don’t have any other providers to talk about yet, but the hope is that this is open and will be adopted by many others in the email ecosystem,” said Yahoo, speaking with CNET.

Cybersecurity researcher Bruce Schneier also spoke with the Wall Street Journal on Yahoo’s encryption plans, say that they will cause issues for authorities.

“What’s going to happen when the FBI goes to Google or Yahoo and says, ‘I want the email from this guy,’ and Google or Yahoo says, ‘We can’t give it to you?’” Mr. Schneier said.