Google Chrome bags new data encryption extension

A new end-to-end extension is being added to Google's Chrome Web Store that will encrypt data and emails sent by users

Chrome

Google has introduced a security extension for Chrome aimed at adding extra protection to data and emails sent through the browser.

The Chrome extension will offer additional security for users by encrypting outgoing emails, which the message's recipient can decrypt them at their end. Similarly encrypted incoming messages will also remain that way until the user chooses to decrypt them through their own browser.

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This new tool fits in with Google's ongoing mission to improve online security for its users, and the browser extension aims to simplify the process of using end-to-end encryption tools for everyone.

Services such as PGP and GnuPG have previously required a certain level of knowledge and effort to use, while this new tool from Google promises to make things easier by releasing an extension that uses OpenPGP, supported by many existing encryption tools.

When announcing the tool on their blog, Google wrote: "Your security online has always been a top priority for us, and we're constantly working to make sure your data is safe."

Data previously collected by Google suggests that around 40 to 50 per cent of emails sent between Gmail and other email providers are not encrypted, while many web-based email services have still not introduced encryption for their users.

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End-to-end encryption offers additional security and is recommended for those sending more sensitive messages between different email providers. The impending introduction of Google's extension relates to this requirement.

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It comes following news of leaked emails, photos and information by the NSA, which underlines the need for additional security measures when exchanging data online. While the extra layer of protection that end-to-end encryption provides will give users peace of mind, Google's efforts to make the use of these tools simpler and more accessibly will no doubt be welcome.

While the extension isn't yet available to all, Google have released a code that will allow the community to evaluate it before lands in the Chrome Web Store for general users. This will help to determine whether the extension is secure enough to offer the level of protection it promises.

Once it is approved, users will be able to use it through any web-based email provider, ensuring their emails are protected from unwanted interception and prying eyes.

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