Monday 8 August 2016

Keep E-Mail Safe From Prying Eyes

Ever wish you could send someone an email and not have to worry about it being read by others somewhere along the way? Maybe you didn't realize sending someone an email doesn't mean it's necessarily protected in transit or on the recipient's email system.

Maybe you want to send your accountant your tax forms, or you're sending your doctor medical information. Maybe you're an international super-spy or just want to embrace your inner James Bond.

Whatever your reason people send sensitive information and documents over email every day, and often this email is unencrypted. Kind of scary when you start thinking about it in those terms.

There is another option, and it doesn't have to cost one cent.

Protonmail is an encrypted email service based out of Switzerland and subject to some very strict privacy laws as a result.

If you are trading emails with another Protonmail user everything (the email and any attachments) are end-to-end encrypted by default, and encrypted on Protonmail's hard drives.

If you're conversing with someone outside of Protonmail you can manually (in the free version) send them an encrypted email, with a self-destruct clock on it. Very Mission Impossible.

By default encrypted emails to non-Protonmail accounts expire after 28 days, but you have the option of reducing that down by varying increments to as little as an hour if you wish.

The recipient gets a message letting them know they have an encrypted email to view with a web link.

When they click on the link they are asked to enter the password (Which you theoretically called them with or otherwise established ahead of time.) and then they can view the message and any attachments.

From inside the message they have the option of responding securely or closing their browser displaying the email.

They can send attachments in the reply, and that's it. No option to forward etc.

The free level of service offers you 500 MB of space, and limits you to sending 150 messages per day.

Protonmail also makes free mobile apps for Android and iPhone which take advantage of its security. Because Protonmail uses public/private key encryption even the Protonmail admins can't read your email.

It's a great way to send confidential documents or have a sensitive conversation via email, much safer than using your gmail account.

If 150 messages a day or 500MB of mailbox space won't cut it for you Protonmail offers paid subscriptions that go up to 20GB of mailbox space and unlimited sending of emails.

I haven't found a need to go over the 150 emails per day as it's not my default email. I use it only when I need to exchange items with people that I'd rather not have to worry about being intercepted along the way.

Go ahead, give it a try. The price is certainly right, and we all have to send sensitive information to someone at times.

Happy surfing!

-The Home Geek

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