This news comes on the heels of Microsoft’s disclosure that the company monitors the private communications of its email users and is in direct response to email users concerned that their everyday private and business communications are being monitored by unwanted third parties.
According to US District Court documents released earlier this week, Microsoft monitored the email of a Hotmail user in order to find evidence of Intellectual Property (IP) theft. Microsoft is one of many email providers who now share data on email surveillance, sparking concerns among users regarding the limited privacy of their inboxes. In response, a team of former NSA cryptographers launched Virtru back in January, a free service to encrypt and control email messages and attachments among disparate email systems.
“We understand the capabilities of email companies, network providers, and government agencies in all countries to monitor email communications,” said Will Ackerly, former architect of the NSA’s cloud security team, and now a co-founder of Virtru. “Without client-side encryption and key management, you might as well be tweeting every email you send.”
At a TED Talk yesterday NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett defended surveillance of mainstream websites, citing the practice in other nations as well. Trying to strike a balance between privacy and security, President Obama meets again today with technology CEOs. Experts agree that the outcome will be more transparency on the rules of surveillance, but that messaging providers will be compelled by court orders to break their own encryption in monitoring communications.
An innovation of Virtru’s end-to-end encryption is that Virtru itself has never has access to content, focusing solely on managing encryption keys.
“Strong encryption is not a new technology, but it has always been too complex for average users to deploy, especially between disparate email providers, like Hotmail and Gmail,” continued Ackerly. “Our mission at Virtru is to embed strong, provable encryption and control into the email programs that most people already use on their computers and smartphones.”
Virtru is the first company to make email privacy accessible to everyone. With a single plug-in, Virtru empowers individuals and businesses to control who receives, reviews, and retains their digital information — wherever it travels, throughout its lifespan. The company has set a new standard for digital privacy based on the Trusted Data Format (TDF), created by Virtru Co-Founder Will Ackerly and used by the intelligence community to secure some of the nation’s most sensitive data. Virtru requires no special skills or knowledge, supports all popular email and file types, and can be used on a PC, Mac or mobile device. To learn more about the company, visit http://www.virtru.com/ and follow @virtruprivacy on Twitter.