Google’s introduction of new encryption tools may be one of the most favorable security developments in a while. A New York Times article, Google Offers New Encryption Tool, explains:
The tool, called End-to-End, uses an open-source encryption standard, OpenPGP, that will allow users to encrypt their email from the time it leaves their web browser until it is decrypted by the intended recipient. It will also allow users to easily read encrypted messages sent to their web mail service. The tool will require that users and their recipients use End-to-End or another encryption tool to send and read the contents.
This could be a major blow to the N.S.A. Despite numerous cryptographic advances over the past 20 years, end-to-end email encryption like PGP and GnuPG is still remarkably labor-intensive and require a great deal of technical expertise. User mistakes — not errors in the actual cryptography — often benefited the N.S.A. in its decade-long effort to foil encryption.
The point is: NSA can decrypt or otherwise access just about any message–even if they have to break into your office and install spying tools on your computer. However, they can’t decrypt or steal every message. Even they don’t have that many resources. Increasing the use of encryption makes everyone safer from snoops, whether garden variety or super snoop.
Lincoln Mead has some fresh ideas on Internet security in the ABA’s Law Practice Magazine. Here’s one that was new to me:
Web sessions come in two flavors: “http” and “https.” The latter is the important one as it designates that your connection to a Web server is encrypted. By default, the Web server will provide unencrypted “http.” You can force your browser to use “https” by installing a small browser plug-in. In Chrome and Firefox, use HTTPS Everywhere (https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere). However, in Internet Explorer and in Safari, no option currently exists to force “https.”
One consideration for forcing “https” is that it can affect the speed of the browser, as the tool tries to complete an “https” connection to services that may not offer such access.
Evernote is a slick app, but my guess is few lawyers come close to tapping the power of this tool. Jim Calloway passes along some tips from Australian lawyer Philippe Doyle Gray and provides his own tips on how to get more of the very popular Evernote app:
Don’t be a cheap skate. Subscribe to Evernote Premium for only $45 per year. Your monthly upload limit then increases from 40 MB to 1 GB per month. You get a PIN lock for mobile devices for improved security. Search tools are greatly enhanced as well. I use Evernote’s web clipping service all of the time to save web pages for future reference.