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Yahoo! to Integrate Email Encryption to Allay Security Fears

Tickers in this article: GOOGL YHOO

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Yahoo! is following Google’s lead in its plans to create a more secure email service, mirroring a shift in demand for increased privacy online.

Alex Stamos, hired as Yahoo! Chief Information Security Officer in February, addressed network security conference Black Hat 2014 Thursday evening and announced the company was exploring end-to-end encryption of its email system. The feature would make use of PGP encryption which scrambles data so it is unreadable to hackers.

That technology currently relies on encryption key, a piece of code stored on the device, to unlock rather than the use of usernames and passwords. However, sources note Yahoo! is working to make the technology more consumer-friendly before introducing it to their services, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The encryption feature, which users would opt to turn on or off, is expected to be available to Yahoo Mail’s estimated 273 million user accounts with functionality to be rolled out in 2015.

Google is approaching the problem of e-security in a similar way. In June, the company said it was exploring new technologies to increase security and privacy of Gmail, an email system used by 425 million unique users.

--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.