4 best encrypted email services that you can use

4 best encrypted email services that you can use

Popular, intuitive and feature-rich as it is, Gmail is not without its flaws. Privacy concerns have repeatedly raised heads when it comes to most of Google's web-based services, and unfortunately Gmail is no exception to this rule. The company has often faced criticism for the alleged snoop of user emails to search for keywords that are then used as targets – or as Google calls them "contextual" – advertising. Therefore, for those who feel uncomfortable using Gmail (or any other mainstream email service for that matter) due to privacy concerns, we have compiled a list of the best end-to-encrypted encrypted email services. end that you can use without worrying about any unauthorized entity that gets its hands on your private conversations.

important to remember that Gmail also encrypts your emails, so any random hacker is unlikely to access your messages, but Google has the keys to decrypt them and, as a company based in the United States, will have to comply with the laws of the country and deliver them law enforcement authorities if they receive a court order to do so. This is exactly why you may be better off using some of the services mentioned below if privacy is a priority concern for you. So without further ado, here are the 4 best email encryption services you can use:

1. ProtonMail

ProtonMail was founded at the CERN research center in Switzerland in 2013, but has only been available to the public since last year, after having been invited only for the first few years of its existence. by far the most popular encrypted email service available today you can access it through the website on your browser or via mobile apps available on Android and iOS. The service supports end-to-end encryption, which means your messages are encrypted from the moment they leave your device to the moment they reach the intended recipient (s). The company claims to use secure implementations of the AES, RSA and OpenPGP encryption algorithms, along with open source cryptographic libraries that have been checked by eminent cryptographers and cyber security experts from around the world, which should significantly reduce the risk of backdoors from both cybercriminals or government agencies with little respect for personal privacy.

Not only does the service use end-to-end encryption of its emails, it also uses the two-factor authentication and decryption on the browser side, which means that e-mails are decrypted locally on the client computer rather than on the company's servers. ProtonMail allows you not only to send e-mails to other ProtonMail account holders, but also to users outside the ProtonMail system, although they are password protected and can only be decrypted using a unique key shared between the sender and the recipient. You can also set an expiration date for your messages so that messages are deleted from ProtonMail servers on a permanent basis after a set period of time.

However, for all its security, ProtonMail has some drawbacks that have prevented it from becoming more popular than it currently is. First of all, does not offer IMAP or POP3 access, which means that not ProtonMail messages can be viewed in email clients such as Microsoft Outlook and Mozilla Thunderbird . For the same reason, you will not be able to configure your ProtonMail client to send email using any non-Proton email account. Although intended as a security feature, the fact that the company does not even offer support for POP3 and IMAP protocols as an option makes it difficult for many to switch to ProtonMail forever.

Visit the website (free, Premium plans start at $ 5 per month)

2. Wash basin

Lavabit a open source encrypted email service founded in 2004 by Leder Levison. The service known to have been used by the former CIA employee and Edward Snowden, who was reported by a NSA contractor, accused of disclosing confidential information about U.S. government surveillance programs to the media. The service actually decided to close operations in August 2013 after deciding not to comply with a U.S. court order to hand over its Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) private keys to law enforcement agencies investigating Snowden's losses. However, like a phoenix from the ashes, Lavabit was resurrected earlier this year with a completely renovated architecture that addresses the problem that led to the end of the service almost exactly four days ago.

In its latest avatar, Lavabit also has a lot of security improvements that make the service safer than ever. First of all, to fix the SSL key problem, the company claims that now stores your private keys in a tamper resistant format which will destroy the message and its associated metadata whenever it detects an attempted intrusion. Also, unlike its first iteration, the company does not even have access to SSL keys for messages sent through its platform, which should further pacify users desperate to preserve their online anonymity.

The most intriguing thing, however, the brand new DIME (Dark Internet Mail Environment) platform that the company promises to use for end-to-end encryption of redesigned emails. The open source platform, developed largely by the convicted hacker Steven Watt, aims to replace existing security protocols, OpenPGP and S / MIME . With DIME, it doesn't just encrypt the message, it also gets to obfuscate metadata which includes other potentially crucial information, such as the identity of the sender and the recipient. Until recently, Lavabit 2.0 was only available to its original users who had lost access to their accounts after the service was closed unceremoniously in 2013, but now the company has opened registrations for everyone.

Visit the website (premium plans start at $ 30 per year)

3. Tutanota

Tutanota is one of the newcomers to the world of encrypted e-mails, having entered the sector only a couple of years ago. However, in this short span of time, it has already become a respected name in the world of encrypted e-mail services uses 2048-bit RSA keys for end-to-end encryption and the AES-128 protocol for transmission, ensuring the security of your emails. At first glance, the service has many similarities to ProtonMail. Like ProtonMail, Tutanota also offers mobile apps on Android and iOS and, like ProtonMail, you will have the opportunity to use a free tier along with paid services which include more bells and whistles. However, while ProtonMail offers only 500 MB of storage space to its free users, Tutanota offers up to 1 GB, which certainly welcome you. In case 1 GB is not enough for you, you can always upgrade to the paid level which will cost you only 12 euros per year.

However, although the service largely similar to ProtonMail, including the interface design, there are also some important differences between the two. First of all, the service does not allow users to set timers for their messages to self-destructtherefore, unless done manually, messages remain on the company's servers, albeit in encrypted form. Another point worth mentioning here is that does not allow non-paying users to create alias email addresses, although paying users can create at least 5 or more, depending on the package chosen. Moreover, Tutonata uses an open source encryption algorithm GPL v3 licensed and independently verified and verified by cybersecurity professionals. Like ProtonMail, Tutanota also has its servers in Switzerland, protected by fierce privacy laws and far from the reach of the NSA and the FBI.

Visit the website (free, Premium plans start at 12 per year)

4. CounterMail

Based on a custom Squirrel email interface, CounterMail is another webmail service focused on privacy and security based on Sweden. one of the oldest and most popular encrypted e-mail services out there, and active since the 1990s. Like his colleagues and competitors on this list, offers also there end-to-end encryption using OpenPGP, with SSL-MITM to prevent Man-In-The-Middle attacks . The service actually comes with a number of interesting and unique features that set it apart from the crowd. First of all, CounterMail stores messages and other data in memory (RAM ) of the servers powered by the company's live CD, and not on any hard disk, therefore even the forensic computer will not be able to recover data once lost . For an additional layer of protection against keyloggers and brute force attacks, you can also purchase a USB dongle with your own customized key file which must be used in conjunction with your password for two-factor authentication.

Unlike other services on this list, CounterMail does not have a free level. However, it does come with a one week free trial, after which, you will have to pay $ 19 for 3 months, $ 35 for 6 months or $ 59 for the whole year, depending on your needs. accept also Bitcoin payments for more privacy e allows users to create aliases, so you'll never have to reveal your real email ID if you don't want to.

However, like any other secure email service available on the market today, CounterMail also has its drawbacks. Not only is the price a little higher, but the problem of not using hard drives to store data that gets meager amounts of storage space, regardless of which plan you choose. While the one-year plan gives you 500MB of storage space, the other two give you only half. You can of course buy additional storage space, but you will have to pay exorbitant prices for similarly sized storage options.

Visit the website (Premium plans start at $ 19 for 3 months)

The best encrypted email services to use

There are numerous other services that claim to safeguard mail with end-to-end encryption, but very few offer real details on data storage, protocols and cryptography policies in response to requests from law enforcement and court orders of reveal user data. That being the case, it would probably be wise to stick to what has been tried and tested, rather than experimenting with something new that may or may not turn out to be the diamond-in-the-rough that you hoped it would turn out to be.

Of course, many of us have very little to hide and would never really need anything with airtight encryption, but that doesn't mean we don't have a right to our privacy. In case you are particularly interested in privacy but don't want to leave the familiarity of your normal webmail provider, you can also install your encryption software and send encrypted emails via services such as Gmail or Yahoo Mail, but you will have to share your encryption keys with the recipient expected in advance for it to work.