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January 2017: Volksverschlüsselung - Usable Encryption for Everybody

Friday, January 27, 2017

January 2017: Volksverschlüsselung - Usable Encryption for Everybody

People are increasingly sending highly sensitive information via email. End-to-end encryption ensures that only the sender and the recipient of an encrypted message will be able to read the message in plain text. However, most encryption solutions are too complicated for the majority of people. The Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology's (SIT) Volksverschlüsselung software is able to simplify email encryption so that even IT laypeople can easily create and use cryptographic keys.

Fraunhofer SIT and Deutsche Telekom are offering Volksverschlüsselung to private users free of charge. Users need to register with a Telekom account. They can also register and identify themselves via the online function of the new German ID cards, if the ID cards are activated and the appropriate reading device is used. Additional information, including the software, can be found here.

The Volksverschlüsselung software is user-friendly. In a nutshell, the software generates cryptographic key pairs and installs them in the right places on a user's computer. It ensures that the keys will be provided to installed mail tools, browsers, and other applications like Microsoft Outlook and Thunderbird. The user's private information remains private and never leaves the user's environment.

Volkverschlüsselung's transparent, central infrastructure provides various services for retrieving, reviewing, and revoking keys. The infrastructure is similar to that of a phone book, in which everyone can look up and retrieve a user's public key in order to send an encrypted email to a friend.

Fraunhofer SIT is in the process of working on additional features for the Volksverschlüsselung software, such as the secure transfer of keys from desktop computers to mobile devices and new online registration possibilities.

Source & Image: Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology (SIT)