Microsoft 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.