Secure end-to-end-encryptionfor everybody from now on: End-to-end encryption for everyone: Deutsche Telekom and the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology (SIT) offer their Volksverschluesselung software from now on in Germany.
The Volksverschluesselung service will allow Windows users to make their own computer encryption-capable with just a few clicks. The software can be downloaded at www.volksverschluesselung.de for free. The source text can also be viewed there.The user-friendly software was developed by the Fraunhofer SIT and the corresponding infrastructure is operated by Deutsche Telekom in a high-security data center.
Important factor for digital autonomy
"Encryption is the basis for autonomous digital communication. We are supporting Volksverschluesselung as an important factor in this autonomy and are stepping up to our digital responsibility in doing so," said Thomas Kremer, Board member for Data Privacy at Deutsche Telekom, in Berlin. "Burying your head in the sand and thinking 'no-one is interested in my e-mails anyway' makes users easy prey. We want people to take responsibility for their digital communications," he continued.
Prof. Michael Waidner, Head of Fraunhofer SIT: "Volksverschluesselung allows people to improve their digital autonomy and protect themselves against unwanted mass surveillance. With our new service, we are supporting the government's digital agenda and meeting the requirements of the charter to strengthen trustworthy communication which was presented and signed by representatives from business, science and government at the last IT Summit."
Volksverschluesselung generates cryptographic keys
Volksverschluesselung is software which generates both the required cryptographic keys, as well as suitably configuring the users' e-mail programs. For the actual encryption most users do not need a new program; most e-mail programs support encryption out of the box if suitable keys are available. Thus even unexperienced users can send encrypted e-mails.
Keys solely in the user’s hands
Volksverschluesselung generates the cryptographic keys directly on the user's device. These private keys remain solely in the user's hands and at no time fall into the infrastructure operator's hands. To use the encryption, the software simply needs to be installed and users need to identify themselves as part of a simple one-time process. With the initial version, users are identified electronically via the Deutsche Telekom login process or with the aid of an electronic ID card. Users also have the option of registering personally for a range of Fraunhofer events.
Registration is soon to be simplified
Registration is soon to be simplified in subsequent stages, for example those interested will be able to show their ID in Telekom Shops to register for Volksverschluesselung. Thomas Kremer: "Our priority is to give Volksverschluesselung a wide footing and have as many users as possible. There is nothing more frustrating than wanting to use encrypted communication, but finding no recipients to do so."
Volsverschluesselung is to be developed continuously
Once released, Volksverschluesselung is to be developed on a continuous basis. At present, Windows users can use e-mail programs such as Outlook or Thunderbird for encrypted e-mail communications. In further steps, versions for Mac OS X, Linux, iOS and Android are planned. The software initially supports the S/MIME standard; it will also support OpenPGP in a subsequent step.
Commitment to trustworthy communication
Fraunhofer SIT and Deutsche Telekom are fulfilling a commitment to bolstering trustworthy communications with Volksverschluesselung – a commitment that representatives from government, business and science have made with an eponymous charter as part of the 2015 IT Summit. The charter had been developed in the Encryption focus group within the "Building security, protection and trust within society and economy" platform of the IT Summit.
Below we have put together key questions and answers on Volksverschluesselung. You can find more questions and answers and information about Volksverschluesselung and encryption in general at www.telekom.com/verschluesselung and www.volksverschluesselung.de.