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PGP Email has Critical Flaw
15 May 2018, 04:19 | Clyde Nash
Uninstall PGP: EFF warns of exploit that may reveal plaintext of encrypted emails
The new critical vulnerability is dubbed as EFAIL, and the researchers say that there is no permanent fix available now.
The second vulnerability partially incorporates the first, and relies on an attacker being able to guess parts of the encrypted communication, which is generally possible due to the nature of the protocol involved. "In 2018, businesses must re-evaluate how they communicate, opting to phase out email for secure communications solutions that are open-source, independently audited and end-to-end encrypted".
"This vulnerability might be used to decrypt the contents of encrypted emails sent in the past".
Asking his online community if any of the members use PGP, responses ranged from "LOL, no" to "Most don't even know what that is" to a member saying he set up PGP, but no client has ever wanted to use the encryption option.
After the embargo on releasing details about the vulnerability was lifted, Mr Schinzel and colleagues published their research revealing how the attack on PGP emails worked. Attacks using the EFAIL vulnerability take advantage of "active content" in HTML emails, such as externally loaded graphics, to extract the plain text through those requested URLs.
Schinzel and his team's research has been corroborated by Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and has been described in detail by the researchers in a paper published earlier today.
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Cybersecurity experts in Europe have identified flaws in the popular PGP and S/MIMEemail encryption standards that could expose plaintext versions of encrypted messages to hackers. "If you use PGP/GPG or S/MIME for very sensitive communication, you should disable it in your email client for now".
A team of nine academics is warning the world about a critical vulnerability in the OpenPGP and S/MIME email encryption tools.
Cluley also pointed out that it is not a new problem - the root problem of mail clients attempting to display corrupted S/MIME messages has been known about since 2000. Then the emails are changed in a particular way and sent to a victim.
The researchers recommenddisablingHTML rendering in your email client to prevent your PGP messages from being decrypted. And that person's email client decrypts the email and loads external content, "thus exfiltrating the plaintext to the attacker".
YOUR EMAILS could be vulnerable to interception following a discovery of a major flaw in PGP/S-MIME encryption, far and away the most popular was of protecting emails. But the researchers cautioned that since attacks could become increasingly sophisticated in future, strategies which bolster OpenPGP and S/Mime standards are required for a long term fix.
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