Facebook launches new ECC key encryption options

The social media network has unveiled support for a new set of public keys.


Facebook has added extra encryption options for users who wish to disguise their Internet activity.

On Tuesday, the social media giant announced support for OpenPGP's standard elliptic curve cryptography (ECC) public keys, including NIST curves P-256, P-384, and P-521.

The public key support builds upon Facebook's launch of OpenPGP key support in June. The support permits end-to-end encrypted notification emails to be sent from Facebook to your linked email accounts.

Facebook's additional encryption service offers "high levels of security for relatively smaller key sizes," according to the tech giant, which also removes some of the complication of using and configuring PGP keys. ECC keys, widely adopted in modern cryptography, can now be posted on your profile and Facebook will use them to further encrypt email notifications.

The firm is also exploring the idea of support for non-NIST elliptic curves in the future.

In additon, Facebook software engineers Jon Millican and Steve Weis say ProtonMail has added support for PGP encrypted Facebook notification emails.

In a blog post, ProtonMail said version 2.3 of the secure email service will automatically decrypt PGP email messages sent from the social network in both the web and mobile ProtonMail apps. As a result, users will not have to install PGP, generate keys or use plugins on the ProtonMail side beyond importing your ProtonMail key into Facebook.

The company said:

"If we truly want to have a more private and secure internet, working together will be crucial and we applaud Facebook for sticking with open standards. As OpenPGP is universal, in the future, we will also be able to integrate with countless other services."

While it is unlikely that the majority of Facebook users will choose to adopt these features -- or use Facebook's Tor .onion address -- in a more privacy-conscious world, the social media giant is doing what it can to stay attractive to those who want to stay hidden as possible.

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