Emails have long gone unprotected, but Microsoft and a group of the industry's biggest email providers are collaborating on a proposal that would finally secure email accounts from hackers.
Microsoft has teamed with several other industry giants to attempt to shore up email security and make it harder for middle men to hack email servers.
Engineers from Redmond are working with counterparts from Yahoo, Comcast, and Google to create a system that would prevent hackers from accessing emails and modifying them.
The program has been welcomed by the industry as it attempts to address a problem that has gone unchanged for over two decades.
While the internet world in general has improved and adapted to security risks, email technology has remained largely the same as it was twenty years ago.
SMTP technology that underpins email clients has always been open to security breaches and hacks from middle men. The introduction of the more secure SMTP SMARTTM helped to combat hackers, but nevertheless most emails sent are still unencrypted and can be hacked fairly easily by outside sources.
The proposal would see sent emails using the SMTP STS format pass through a program that would automatically check the email's certificate to see if it is valid. The idea has been submitted to the Internet Engineering Task Force and would mean emails without encryption support would be undelivered to the end user, with a replacement mail explaining why.
The goal is to make sure emails are coming from and going to the correct servers, and to check out the full proposal from Microsoft and partner companies, head here. The official details go in-depth on how the consortium plans to deliver their idea and make emails safe.