microsoftlogo1-1024x680Microsoft says it has added new layers of encryption to Outlook.com emails and OneDrive files as part of a broader push to protect customer data from hacking and government surveillance.

The addition of Transport Layer Security to Outlook.com will encrypt messages sent between Microsoft and other email providers. The company also enabled Perfect Forward Secrecy encryption in Outlook.com and OneDrive, which uses a different encryption key for each connection.

“We are in the midst of a comprehensive engineering effort to strengthen encryption across our networks and services,” said Matt Thomlinson, Microsoft’s vice president of Trustworthy Computing Security, in a blog post. He said the effort “helps us reinforce that governments use appropriate legal processes, not technical brute force, if they want access to that data.”

Citing documents from Edward Snowden and information from anonymous sources, The Washington Post reported in October that the NSA was able to access data from hundreds of millions of online user accounts through a program called MUSCULAR, by intercepting data transferred between the servers of large technology companies.

Microsoft’s Outlook.com encryption has been in the works since last year. Google recently called on other webmail providers to step up their efforts to adopt Transport Layer Security to provide end-to-end encryption for email.

The company has also been improving the encryption of data and messages in Office 365, Windows Azure and other online services.

Comments

  • Billy Moses

    What Microsoft doesn’t seem to understand is that, sure, they have encryption, but they are also the ones that hold master encryption keys and conply with government warrents. This is why I switched from using Outlook.com to using ProtonMail.ch. ProtonMail is based in Switzerland so that is doesn’t have to comply with American-based warrents and it’s encrypted email in which the company doesn’t have the encryption keys. So even if it was served a warrent and forced to hand over data, the only thing they could hand over is chipper text (giberish).

    • jsteven

      You can’t blame MS for complying to warrants, every company in the US has to do that by law. Also, If there is a warrant for your data, protonmail isn’t going to help you from an FBI raid to your house.

      • Billy Moses

        You’re actually absolutely right. This is why I plan on moving to the Alps once my savings allows. But in terms of FBI raids, I don’t keep paper on anything unless I have it scanned to PDF and stored in a TrueCrypt file. And as far as my computer drive, again… TrueCrypt. The FBI once spent 3 years trying to crack someone’s computer who they thought was harboring child porn – they were never able to crack it. (I’m not hiding child porn – you’re just going to have to trust me on this one.)

        • Spoonman

          You really ought to reevaluate your setup. TrueCrypt’s no longer being maintained, and security audits are turning up more and more security flaws in the product.

          • Billy Moses

            I think TC will be okay for the rest of this year, or until the official audit comes out in September. Nothing valid has come to light stating the software has been compromised.

            Mega is always an option, too. Mega.co.nz.

      • Billy Moses

        Respectfully, yes, I can blame Microsoft. Look at Silent Circle (Snowden’s old email provider). They were served and shut down rather than give up data.

  • James

    This is funny the company who has had a nsa back door in all of its operating systems since Windows 98 is worried about encryption. Trying to make your products more secure against the government is futile. All it takes is a undercover agent who works on behalf of the government to get a job a Microsoft and crack their codes.

    • Billy Moses

      Unless Microsoft encryption code becomes open sourse — which it’s not. If it became OS people would find the backdoor(s) and Microshit wouldn’t make a buck next year.

    • L. Ron Twizzler

      Yeah, you know that, do you? Because your a 003R H*X0R.

  • Uncle Dave

    While Google, Facebook, Amazon and others are mining your data, Microsoft is trying to protect it.
    Granted, MS still has access to it… it’s their system. But any help is better than actively collecting my information “to enhance my shopping experience” (BS, I say)… That’s right up there with “we’re taking your rights away for public safety”… hahahaha, Right!

  • Michael Wayne Kay

    Features are great but they won’t make up for the lack of access to an email account on Outlook.com. This is Day 10 without email access. It still says “Sorry, there seems to be a problem with Outlook.comright now.”

    After waiting 24 hours since answering the Escalation Team’s last question (which was a repeat question), Escalations responded with “Thanks for the update. We are researching your case further and will get back to you soon.” In other words, “we’ve done nothing so don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

    It’s now been another 18 hours since their message yesterday… no sense of urgency on their part. I’m surprised Outlook.com is still in business with this level of poor service on paid, Ad-Free accounts.

Job Listings on GeekWork