Twitter toughens encryption to thwart online snooping

November 23rd, 2013 in Technology / Internet
The logo of social networking website 'Twitter' is displayed on a computer screen in London on September 11, 2013


The logo of social networking website 'Twitter' is displayed on a computer screen in London on September 11, 2013

Twitter on Friday announced it has toughened the encryption of traffic at the globally popular one-to-many messaging service to thwart online snooping.

Twitter followed in the footsteps of Google and Facebook, adding a layer of security called Perfect Forward Secrecy to protect data that would like kept from prying eyes.

"On top of the usual confidentiality and integrity properties of HTTPS, Forward Secrecy adds a new property," Twitter explained in a blog post.

"If an adversary is currently recording all Twitter users' encrypted traffic, and they later crack or steal Twitter's private keys, they should not be able to use those keys to decrypt the recorded traffic."

The non-profit Electronic Frontier Foundation is among online rights champions who advocate for this kind of added protection on personal Internet traffic, according to San Francisco-based Twitter.

"We are writing this not just to discuss an interesting piece of technology, but to present what we believe should be the new normal for web service owners," Twitter said of the announcement.

"A year and a half ago, Twitter was first served completely over HTTPS," the company added. "Since then, it has become clearer and clearer how important that step was to protecting our users' privacy."

US Internet titans whose businesses are based on maintaining the trust of users have been kept to strengthen privacy protection in the wake of disclosures of broad scale cyber spying by the National Security Agency.

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed US surveillance on a global scale, straining Washington's ties with key allies and putting pressure on Internet firms to show people that their online privacy is being guarded.

Among the disclosures were spy tools for decoding data and a practice of saving encrypted information so that it might be unscrambled in the future.

© 2013 AFP

"Twitter toughens encryption to thwart online snooping." November 23rd, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-11-twitter-toughens-encryption-thwart-online.html