Google Inc. on Wednesday has announced that it will ramp up the security of its free email service Gmail by automatically encrypting all the traffic carried on it, primarily in the wake of row over Chinese attacks.
The search engine giant noted that it would begin implementing the ‘Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure’ (HTTPS) technology to protect its Gmail users from unauthorised intrusions and eavesdropping.
HTTPS is a well-known web-based protocol among geeks that merges the standard HTTP internet protocol with an extra layer based on the SSL or TLS protocol.
Such protection is normally employed by banking services as well as e-commerce websites to safeguard confidential customer details from cyber fraudsters.
As of now, the HTTPS protection technology is confined to login pages to safeguard passwords, and encryption of email traffic has been an opt-in procedure as yet.
However, with this new change, the search engine bellwether has moved all the users to HTTPS security by default, under which all the email traffic on Gmail would be automatically encrypted.
The company has further argued that the benefits of such a move would perceptibly be more important than the small impediment it would cause to the email delivery speed.
Sam Schillace, Gmail Engineering Director, commented on a blog post: “Over the last few months, we’ve been researching the security/latency tradeoff and decided that turning https on for everyone was the right thing to do”.
Gmail is now the gateway to much of our online lives. The login and password used not only controls users' inboxes but also their Google checkout account, their Nexus One phones and much more. Better late than never though; HTTPS is introduced after nearly five years.
(The New York Times)