Twitter Inc has adopted an online security technology that would make it much harder, if not totally impossible, for hackers to spy on and compromise its users. This action would ultimately make it more difficult for outsiders, even the US government, to potentially uncover data.
The microblogging site has taken a more advanced protection layer called ‘forward secrecy.’ In 2011, the company started the use of traditional HTTPS encryption to provide protection to users. But apparently, it is not enough anymore as hackers and other parties have learned how to get through it.
Forward security is an effective security measure using temporary individual keys for encryption of each Twitter session. This replaces the common single master key used by the Website. Twitter assures it users that it would provide more protection to them against hackers and other data gatherers.
In HTTPS, large quantities of information could be unscrambled if spies successfully steal even a single private key to encrypt all data. Thus, forward secrecy could help effectively prevent attackers and hackers from exploiting that logical weakness.
Forward secrecy in the industry
Forward secrecy was first used by Google Inc to prevent external organizations from using a single key to decrypt present and past messages. Twitter is the latest technology firm to adopt it. The Website’s move is also among the most recent responses from online firms after former spy agent Edward Snowden leaked about the classified surveillance programs by the US government.
For quite some time now, Google, Microsoft Corp, Facebook Inc, and Yahoo Inc have been publicly complaining about the government’s action to prevent them from disclosing its efforts to collect users’ data from them. This led some of those to adopt newer privacy technologies that would more effectively secure user data.
However, there could be a minor setback from the implementation of forward secrecy. This additional security could add lag time when users connect to Twitter. But this should not be a cause for alarm among the Website’s users.
The lag time could take just about 150 milliseconds for US users and up to 1 second for users in other countries especially those farther away from the online site’s servers. This means that the possible delay as a result of the adoption could almost be negligible. Twitter asserts that the small lag time could be very much worth the benefits.