Yahoo! Inc. announced that it will join rival Google (GOOGL - Free Report) in an effort to keep its user emails safe from hackers and government officials. The tech giants are teaming up to build an end-to-end encrypted email system that is mathematically impossible for hackers to crack and for governments to read by next year.
As per the tech giants, the encryption tool will be based on PGP encryption and will be an optional feature that users will have to turn on. PGP encryption is a popular computer program to encrypt or decrypt data and provides cryptographic privacy and authentication for data communication. PGP uses a public key system, where each user has a unique encryption key stored on laptops, tablets and smartphones known only to them.
However, it is a very tedious software as there is no password-reset function and users have to undergo several steps to send even short emails.
More and more companies are trying to beef up their security systems since ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked information about NSA’s global Internet surveillance program PRISM, under which the agency collects user data of Internet companies like Google, Facebook Inc. (FB - Free Report) , Apple Inc. (AAPL - Free Report) , Yahoo! and Microsoft. As part of this operation, they can keep online activities under surveillance to determine any threat to national security.
The NSA has to get permission for data-mining under Section 702 and then these companies conform to it by providing access to data keeping the personal details of the customers safe. However, Internet companies have alleged that the NSA sometimes collects data without their consent.
As technology companies bank on Internet usage to generate revenue and profits, they are anxious that hackers and the government’s spying activities will hamper their prospects. Therefore, it is necessary that they take adequate steps to prevent tapping of user data and offer more secure connections. Google, Microsoft and Facebook were some of the first companies to take action by improving security for their users.
Yahoo! currently holds Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) while Google carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).