Although no fix is presently available, the researchers advise that email decryption take place in a separate program, as well as disabling HTML rendering from your email client as a mitigation step.
A more detailed explanation and analysis will be forthcoming once the research is formally released tomorrow, but the vulnerabilities are thought to affect both PGP and the S/MIME public key encryption standard.
Academics from Münster University of Applied Sciences, along with their peers at Ruhr University Bochum, and KU Löwen in Belgium, said they were able to break two types of encryption that until now were so secure that even intelligence agencies couldn't penetrate.
The researchers have also confirmed that no reliable fixes possible for the vulnerability exist as of now.
Werner Koch of GNUPrivacyGuard (GnuPG), an open source PGP privacy suite, said the EFF's warning was "overblown" and said he hadn't been contacted.
Another way would be to use authenticated encryption via tools such as OpenPGP, he argued.
According to the researchers, users, for the time being, should stay away from plugins for email clients like Microsoft Outlook and Apple Mail as these services automatically encrypt and decrypt emails. It's important to note that this exploit is only useful if an unscrupulous individual already has access to the encrypted S/MIME or PGP emails.
PGP is considered the standard for email encryption and was first introduced way back in 1991.
PGP uses an algorithm to generate a "hash", or mathematical summary, of a user's name and other information.
PGP is used by activists, journalists and whistleblowers, including Edward Snowden, who revealed details of pervasive electronic surveillance by U.S. intelligence agencies before fleeing to Russian Federation.
However, to address this risk, experts have come up with a chip that uses ionic memristor technology to address security concerns. In cloning, hackers replicate nodes in a network, and then use it to exploit a vulnerability within that network. The researchers claim the chip is unclonable, and thus, protects the device from hacking, replication or counterfeiting by the hackers.