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Google Security

Gmail Goes HTTPS Only For All Connections 141

Trailrunner7 (1100399) writes "Perhaps no company has been as vocal with its feelings about the revelations about the NSA's collection methods as Google has, and the company has been making a series of changes to its infrastructure in recent months to make it more difficult for adversaries to snoop on users' sessions. The biggest of those changes landed Thursday when the company switched its Gmail service to HTTPS only, enforcing SSL encryption on all Gmail connections. The change is a significant one, especially given the fact that Google also has encrypted all of the links between its data centers. Those two modifications mean that Gmail messages are encrypted from the time they leave a user's machine to the time they leave Google's infrastructure. This makes life much more difficult for anyone—including the NSA–who is trying to snoop on those Gmail sessions." GMail also does TLS for SMTP, but regrettably Talk (what's left of it) does not do TLS for XMPP server-to-server connections, effectively forcing XMPP server admins to lower their security if they want to federate with Google.
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Gmail Goes HTTPS Only For All Connections

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  • Re:Doesn't matter (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Agent ME ( 1411269 ) <agentme49@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday March 20, 2014 @03:26PM (#46537353)

    If perfect forward secrecy is used in the connections (which most HTTPS sites seem to do last I checked), then knowing the private keys doesn't even help them decrypt a connection, *unless* they're actively man-in-the-middling the connection from the start (which I'm sure they do often against interesting people, but probably not anywhere near 100% of everything).

  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @04:53PM (#46538125) Journal

    ... people fully EXPECT the NSA to be upto nasty secret snooping habits. That is actually the minor part of the story that caused the outrage. The more dangerous fact is that the NSA can demand companies or individuals turn over data to them and impose a gag order thus forcing them to keep it secret.

    I agree that the latter IS a big problem. But I don't agree that it's the ONLY problem, or the only BIG one.

    National Security Letters are still relatively narrow compared to what the NSA did. They also tapped the fibers Google and others used to communicate with each other, and used these taps to snoop everything that went across them, without Google's knowledge.

    I encountered a Google engineer with job responsibilities related to that at a conference last year, and he was LIVID. They'd tapped fibers OWNED BY GOOGLE - trespassing and damaging them (aong with Google's credibility) in the process - with no letters, warrants, wink-wink-nudge-nudge, or what-have-you. Google has since been installing encryption thorughout it's network - not just where it leaves the building, but even from rack to rack.

    Maybe they're still stuck disclosing SOME stuff. But at least they're trying to know what it is, do their best to minimize it (and protect their model), and avoid inadvertently firehosing EVERYTHING into the maw of the NSA.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI