Google names and shames Email Providers not supporting encryption


By Bryan Parsons

Tech General
6 April 2016

padlock-308589_1280Encryption has recently become a hot topic, with many big stories in the media;

  • FBI want a back-door into iPhones: The FBI were taking Apple to court in an attempt to force Apple to create a back door into their iPhones.
  • UK government: They are trying to pass legislation which bans end-to-end encryption on messaging services, such as WhatsApp, iMessage and Snapchat- or at least allows it to be unencrypted on demand. They want a way to view your messages should they need to.

Email Encryption

The latest news story relates to Google Mail. They have started highlighting any emails that you send from your Google Mail account which are not encrypted and therefore can be intercepted and read by anyone.

The majority of email providers (SpiderGroup included) support encryption, allowing emails sent or received to be encrypted, however this only works if the other end supports encryption too. So if you send an email to a provider who doesn’t support encryption or they send you one, it will be sent un-encrypted.

Previously it’s not been easy for an email user to identify if their emails will be encrypted or not. But try drafting an email in Google Mail now and after entering the email address, you may notice an unlocked padlock symbol if encryption is not supported (as shown below).

Google Mail have basically taken the step of naming and shaming email providers who don’t support email encryption. Since Google took this step, the amount of inbound encrypted emails have increased by 25%.

We couldn’t find a list of providers who don’t support encryption, but a quick look through my contacts on Google Mail revealed @Orange.net and @O2.co.uk addresses do not support encryption. If you’re using one of these, it might be time to move on.

Does any of this affect you?

It could. It’s certainly nice to know that no one else is reading your messages, even if they are just about what’s for dinner tonight or what you got up to on the weekend. If you’re using SpiderGroup’s hosted desktop, you can rest easy as all our services use encrypted traffic to protect you and your data.

For more information, why not get in touch with our Tech team? You can call us on 0117 933 0570 or fill in our contact form and we will get back to you.

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