New System Eliminates Complex Encryption Software

A new technique for encrypting emails gets rid of the complicated, mathematically generated messages usually associated with encryption software. Instead, emails are made vague by leaving out key words.

Researcher Eric Gilbert introduced a technique called Open Book designed to address encryption’s social usability problems. It uses data mining and NLP to make messages more vague than the originals. The prototype uses a Google Mail plug-in called Read Me, which works by substituting specific words with ambiguous ones. In their study, email recipients using Open Book were able to correctly decipher the sender’s missing words or phrases 95% of the time. When researchers showed the same vague email to strangers, only two percent of were interpreted correctly.

Gilbert, Eric. “Open Book: A Socially-inspired Cloaking Technique that Uses Lexical Abstraction to Transform Messages.” In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 477-486. ACM, 2015