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July/August 2009

Editor's Desk: Google security needs HTTPS by default

By MICHAEL S. MIMOSO Google's credo is "Do no evil." Some of the best security minds in the industry are imploring Google to do the right thing when it comes to the security and privacy of its free email and productivity application offerings. In case you missed it, 38 security thinkers and researchers wrote an 11-page letter to CEO Eric Schmidt asking him to enable HTTPS encryption on Gmail, Google Docs and Google calendar by default. That list of 38 is a roll call of security pioneers and current thought-leaders, everyone from Gene Spafford, Steve Bellovin, Bill Cheswick and Bruce Schneier to white hats RSnake, Joe Grand and Jeff Moss. They point out that Google's current insecure default settings put the privacy of its cloud-based services users at risk. "Anyone who uses these Google services from a public connection (such as open wireless networks in coffee shops, libraries, and schools) faces a very real risk of data theft and snooping, even by unsophisticated attackers. Tools to steal information are widely available on ...

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