Mailvelope 2.0: Faster and more secure

By Thomas Oberndörfer - October 16, 2017

Version 2.0 has yet again made Mailvelope clearly safer, faster, and more comfortable.

Even before the release of Firefox 57 (late November) we are primed for WebExtensions, the new, improved architecture for add-ons in Firefox. As of Firefox 57, add-ons are sealed off from each other more effectively and are no longer capable of accessing deeper layers of the browser. The security issue in combination with Mailvelope and the popular open-source browser that came to light last May will thus be resolved.

Yet, not only security has benefited: Mailvelope now utilizes the latest version v2.5 from OpenPGP.js. On the one hand, the performance of encryption operations has been increased, on the other hand, improved compatibility with OpenPGP Standard has been achieved. This will decrease the likelihood of errors when messages or keys are exchanged with other PGP applications.

Also the user interface has seen improvements in Mailvelope 2.0. Major parts of it have been rewritten with the React UI Library. This migration will facilitate better maintenance of the projected further development by larger development teams. Another asset of Mailvelope 2.0: The Mailvelope UI components are now shown more efficiently in the pages of the respective webmailers. Handling Mailvelope has thus become significantly more fluent.

As developers of an extremely security-relevant browser extension, we rely on the solid security architecture of the browser that we support. We therefore highly appreciate the changeover to WebExtensions by Firefox.
Thanks to the fact that Mozilla‘s WebExtensions and Google‘s Chrome Extensions provide a nearly identical environment for developers, not only the development of Mailvelope, but also that of extensions by other developers will be significantly easier and faster.
For the user, that means: Faster updates and swift further development of new features because there is no more need for inconveniently adapting Mailvelope to the different architectures of two different browsers.

The major part of the changes to Mailvelope 2.0 is of technical nature and will not immediately be apparent to the user. Innovations concerning ease of use and simplified user guidance for setup and operation of Mailvelope will be realized especially in future versions. Yet, marked improvement is brought by Mailvelope 2.0 to those who need to send large attachments. The size limit for the encryption of attachments has been raised to 50 MB. Above that, Mailvelope now supports the GPG binary format (*.gpg files) for decryption and encryption.