Most emails 'an open book'

Because encryption's too expensive...
Written by Dan Ilett, Contributor

Because encryption's too expensive...

Only a quarter of UK businesses encrypt emails, leaving the rest open for anyone to read as they travel over the internet, research has found.

Sending an unencrypted email is similar to sending a postcard through the postal system. It can be read by anyone who has the ability to intercept it.

According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) survey, businesses are failing to invest in technology to encrypt emails, though companies report relatively few incidents of data interception.

Chris Potter, information assurance partner at PWC, told silicon.com: "If emails are intercepted, they can be read. The number of interceptions on the internet is relatively low but we have seen a rise in the number of companies experiencing data interception. There is probably a greater need to encrypt than before."

Potter said encryption technologies are still too expensive for most companies to buy.

He added: "It's a cost and administration burden. It's quite awkward for businesses to communicate with their partners. You would think there is a better solution. Past technologies have been tarnished with big costs and too few business benefits."

The survey of 1,000 companies found 88 per cent of business internet connections are over broadband, which means companies effectively share bandwidth with others to reduce the cost of hiring data lines.

The survey was sponsored by the Department of Trade and Industry.

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