Facebook discovers email providers are using unique plugin for encryption; urges others to follow suit

Gigaom

If you are ambivalent about using STARTTLS — an extension that’s used to upgrade an insecure network connection between mail providers to an encrypted one — for your email encryption purposes, Facebook thinks you should give it a shot, as detailed in a Facebook blog post Tuesday.

The post by Facebook mail integrity engineer Michael Adkins details how Adkins conducted a short study to see whether or not mail providers are actively using STARTTLS. Adkins and Facebook were under the impression that the capability was not widely deployed throughout the industry.

To conduct the study, Adkins and his team analyzed a day’s worth of the company’s notification email logs, which contained data pertaining to “several billion emails to several million domains.” The majority of that data dealt with account-related notifications, like registration confirmations.

The Facebook team kept tabs on each SMTP server — the internet standard for sending emails —…

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