This kind of action makes it a lot tougher for anyone outside of the system to pick through emails and other digital information, including hackers and government wire taps.
Another layer of security was also added to searches on Yahoo’s home page, which are now also automatically encrypted, reports the Associated Press, and the company says it’s in the midst of beefing up other services, like video chats, in the next few months.
“Whether or not our users understand it, I feel it’s our responsibility to keep them safe,” Alex Stamos, Yahoo’s recently hired chief information of security (recently as in, hired a month ago), told the AP.
The technology industry has been speeding up its security efforts after last year’s revelation of widespread government surveillance under the National Security Agency. The stickiest part for big technology companies like Yahoo and Google was perhaps the news that the government had been collecting information from lines leading in and out of companies’ data centers.
Yahoo vowed to make the change to encrypt its centers late last year by March 31, so this announcement comes right about on time. The company still has work to do to catch up with Google’s security measures, saying it hasn’t yet because some of its services need content and ads provided from outside sources which may be difficult to encrypt without a little convincing.
The company says it’s well on the way toward doing just that.
“Some partners already understand this is the way the wind is blowing,” Stamos said. “We are moving to a world where all content is encrypted all the time.”