Yahoo! Encrypts! All! The! Things!

Yahoo has offered a public status update for its encryption projects, including announcing an encrypted version of Yahoo Messenger.

Yahoo has offered a public status update for their various encryption projects, including an announcement that a new, encrypted, version of Yahoo Messenger will be released in the coming months.

On Wednesday, Alex Stamos, Yahoo's CISO, posted a blog on the status of the company's encryption projects. Yahoo initiated the project due to a number of public concerns over security and privacy, including revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) had been monitoring user traffic as part of a massive surveillance program.

As of March 31, Stamos said that all traffic moving between Yahoo data centers was now fully encrypted. Google is doing something similar, and in both cases the technological giants seem to be taking this action in an effort to top the NSA from intercepting traffic without proper court permissions.

Earlier this summer, leaked documents from the NSA outlined a program called MUSCULAR, which focused on capturing the traffic that moved between the various data centers owned by Google and Yahoo. Based on the leaked documents, MUSCULAR enabled the NSA to capture data that might've been missed under the PRISM program or court orders.

However, Google and Yahoo are not the only targets. Facebook and Microsoft are referenced in the leaked documents too, but Yahoo seems to be the first to complete the data center encryption project. Google has been working for some time now to encrypt the data that moves between their data centers, but based on the company's public statements, that project is ongoing.

Other progress noted by Stamos includes the move to secure Yahoo Mail, including enabling mail encryption between their servers and other providers that support SMTPTLS. The Yahoo homepage, and other Yahoo portals now support HTTPS, but not by default, as users will need to alter the URL to include https:// if they wish to use it.

Yahoo has implemented TLS 1.2, Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS), and 2048-bit RSA for their homepage, email, and digital magazine services, but the process to move all Yahoo-branded properties up to these levels remains ongoing.

Finally, Stamos said that a new version of Yahoo Messenger, one that supports encryption, will be deployed in the coming months.

"Our goal is to encrypt our entire platform for all users at all time, by default," Stamos wrote.

"This isn't a project where we'll ever check a box and be "finished." Our fight to protect our users and their data is an on-going and critical effort. We will continue to work hard to deploy the best possible technology to combat attacks and surveillance that violate our users' privacy."

This story, "Yahoo! Encrypts! All! The! Things!" was originally published by CSO.

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