Before Edward Snowden’s revelations about mass surveillance and its impact on privacy most of us didn’t pay much attention to the Government’s watchful eyes. Flash forward to 2014 and there’s been a dramatic shift in how people are taking an active role protecting their online identity, communication and personal data. Enter the world of encryption.
Encrypting your emails isn’t just about scrambling contents so the NSA can’t peep out what you’re sending and receiving. It’s also about keeping yourself safe if a password breach should occur, staving hackers from your account and unwanted ‘someones’ from sifting through your contacts and address book (phishing expedition, anyone?).
Since Snowden’s preferred email encryption service Lavabit was shutdown you might be wondering about alternative email encryption providers. To help in your hunt we’re featuring a few for you to explore.
Email encryption services
Virtru is available as a Chrome and Firefox extension that can be used with webmail clients like Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail. If you’re less of a desktop user then take advantage of the Android app (they have an Apple one too), plus plugins for Outlook and Mac Mail programs.
You can encrypt a variety of file type attachments, revoke emails that you didn’t intend to send and communicate with others who may not have the browser add-on installed (they receive through the web-based secure reader). The best part is Virtru is free.
Learn more about how Virtru works.
Although Riseup has typically associated with social and political activists it is a solid email encryption service that anyone can use. In fact, its user base has shifted to a whole new populace of average joes and janes that want digital privacy.
Riseup delivers a unique level of privacy and security by stripping any personally identifiable information from the email’s header and logs. It also stores emails on encrypted partitions and utilizes encrypted transmission for communications.
The Riseup team is comprised of volunteers who are concerned with providing secure and surveillance-free services. As a result, they rely on donations and funding from users and supporters. If you like what they’ve built consider pitching in.
Launched in 2012, the German encrypted email provider Tutanota offers 1GB free storage with plans for additional paid storage in the future. Tutanota offers complete data privacy, which means that even they can’t access what users are doing. So, if you lose your password, you lose your password.
Tutanota is easy to use and set-up, ad free, secure and free.
Squelch your paranoia with a free secure email account from Switzerland-based ProtonMail. Committed to constructing a system that is inaccessible it works by encrypting messages in the user’s browser before it reaches the server. Why does this matter? Because ProtonMail isn’t able to ‘decrypt’ messages if their servers are compromised and that makes them less vulnerable.
Couple the above with the Swiss Federal Act on the Surveillance of Postal and Telecommunications that dictates governments don’t have the authority to demand access to the email system. P.S. ProtonMail is forever free.
Have you used any of the above encryption services? Are there any others that you prefer? Share with us in the comments below.
We have no commercial relationships with any of the vendors discussed in this blog, and disclaim endorsements & responsibility for them & their sites, applications, goods, & services.
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