New Software May Improve Encryption of Government Email

In the wake of a series of cyber attacks on the U.S. government from internal and external sources, encrypting and protecting documents at every level has become an essential part of maintaining national security. There are a variety of different programs that can turn a simple conversation into a protected and encoded document that will prove challenging for cybercriminals to crack.

New software that could see usage by government employees is being tested at the Georgia Institute of Technology that might make the process even smoother. Encrypting emails is a slow and often difficult process that in the end can be completely useless if the recipient does not have the access to the appropriate encryption tool.

Eric Gilbert, a Georgia Tech assistant professor, believes they may have found a way to expedite this process. Their encryption software is based around the way parents talk to young children.

“It’s kind of like when mom and dad are talking about potential vacation spots while the kids are nearby,” said Gilbert. “They can’t say or spell Disney, or the children will get too excited. so they use other words and the meaning is implied.”

A version of the system called Open Book has been used to encrypt emails sent through Google Mail. It works by substituting specific words that would give away details with vague words. Furthermore, it has the capability to analyze a conversation between two people and replace words with codes and phrases that would only be recognizable to the two people conversing.

This process is instant, automatic, and continues to improve the more it is used by two people. While the software is still in development and unready for commercial use, Gilbert believes it could be used to keep eavesdroppers in the dark and reliably protect government secrets.