Yahoo is planning to finally join the 21st century and turn on SSL encryption for its webmail users in January 2014.
According to the Washington Post, the internet company will enable encryption for all its webmail users, and help protect their privacy, from January 8th.
Without SSL/HTTPS, everything your browser sends and receive from Yahoo Mail is sent as unencrypted text - and could be grabbed in transit (known as "sniffing") by malicious hackers and snoopers when you check your webmail via WiFi in the coffee shop.
GMail, Hotmail, Outlook.com, and others have provided this essential level of security to their users by default for ages - so it's something of a mystery why it's taken Yahoo so long. Maybe they were busy spending all their time thinking up new logos, or devising reckless plans to recycle email addresses...
If you can't wait until January 8th, 2014 - and, in my opinion, you shouldn't wait - why not turn on SSL/HTTPS on your Yahoo Mail account now? You've been able to enable the option since January 2013, if you knew where to find the option in Yahoo Mail's settings.
Here's how you do it:
- Click on the cog in the top right hand corner of your main Yahoo Mail Screen
- Select "Settings"
- Choose "Security"
- Select "Use SSL".
Seriously, it will be good to see Yahoo finally enable SSL/HTTPS for all its webmail users. It's just a crying shame that they have dragged their feet so much about doing it. One wonders how many users had their privacy put at risk by Yahoo's tardiness?
Update: A Yahoo spokesperson has been in touch with me, offering the following comment:
In addition to making https a default feature by January 2014 for all Yahoo Mail users, we plan to implement 2048-bit encryption keys, which will provide our users with a further layer of security.