It only took a few hours after Google publicly called out email providers who are sloppy at email encryption, but Comcast is following suit and is supposedly working to ensure that its customers’ emails are being safely guarded in the open web. The company is currently working on beta testing TLS encryption regarding emails sent between two mail providers, according to Charlie Douglas, a Comcast spokesman.
In a study by Google on data covering a year’s worth of message delivery, Comcast was listed as one of the worst domains when it comes to coding messages to alleviate privacy concerns; less than 1 percent of emails sent by Google to Comcast were encrypted. Douglas told the Wall Street Journal that the company plans on testing its encryption protection on customers “within a matter of weeks” and is being “very aggressive about this.” The Wall Street Journal earlier noted Comcast’s plans.
For encryption to work properly, it takes two to tango, as both email providers need to have the proper security protocols set up on their servers. Google currently supports TLS encryption, the industry standard, so if Comcast were to support the function as well, emails should be codified and secure.
TLS (transport layer security) encryption is a protocol that allows for emails to be encrypted through the use of public key infrastructure.
In May, Facebook urged email providers to take advantage of the STARTTLS extension, which is used to convert an insecure network connection between email providers into a secure and encrypted connection. Facebook’s announcement came a few months after Twitter’s statement that also prodded email providers to use the STARTTLS extension.
It will be interesting to see whether or not other companies Google singled in its study as poor encryptors— including Groupon and Constant Contact—will join the bandwagon.