Facebook says most outbound email is encrypted now

Microsoft and Yahoo have enabled STARTTLS, which dramatically raised the percentage of encrypted messages

Nearly all of Facebook's outbound notification emails are now encrypted while traveling the Internet, a collaborative feat that comes from the technology industry's push to thwart the NSA's spying programs.

In May, only 58 percent of the social networking site's email was encrypted when it was sent since the receiving entity must have the technology, called STARTTLS, enabled, wrote Michael Adkins, a messaging integrity engineer at Facebook, on a company blog.

Since that time, Microsoft, Yahoo and other email providers have enabled STARTTLS, which has pushed the percentage of Facebook's encrypted messages to 95 percent, he wrote.

Many major technology companies vowed to put stronger defenses in place to protect data after documents leaked by Edward Snowden detailed the depth of the NSA's surveillance programs.

Messages sent by Facebook also meet a high standard for encryption by having a valid audit trail for the digital SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate used for encryption.

Adkins wrote that of the 58 percent of messages that were encrypted previously, about half of those were "opportunistically encrypted."

That means Facebook could encrypt content using the recipient's SSL certificate, but there was a problem with the certificate that could indicate a security problem. For example, the certificate may have expired or not been signed by a trusted certificate authority.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesYahooMicrosoftsecurityMailsocial mediainternetFacebook

More about FacebookNSAYahoo

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Jeremy Kirk

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place