How to encrypt your emails
Email is among the earliest forms of communication. If you are reading this post, you probably have one. It’s easy to use, and you can easily retrieve your information from any electric device you have. Emailing is a universal electronic mean of communication. You may have Microsoft office thanks to some godaddy coupons, but you aren’t sure how to send emails securely. However, one of the major problems with these forms of electronic communication is that they aren’t very private.
Now, most email providers don’t offer a means to encrypt our messages. Thus, leaving email users vulnerable to hackers, thieves as well as government agencies. Obviously, it’s not good when someone reads your private information such as bank details and other sensitive information. So, encrypting it will be the best option.
Today we have instant messaging services that are end-to-end encrypted, such as WhatsApp, Skype, and Facebook messenger. They are ideal when sending a private message. But, if you want to use your email, perhaps due to the advantages listed above, then you don’t have to worry. You can learn a few things in this post on how to send a secure email to your rightful recipients.
How Does the Encryption Work?
You might be wondering what encryption is. Well, this is simply scrambling up your message content, and only those with a key are able to decrypt it. This scrambling helps to ensure that the intended recipients only read the message. A computer makes encryption a bit complex, making it more impossible for hackers and other unintended receipts to access it.
Now, to ensure that only your intended recipients will be able to decrypt the message, the encryption uses public key cryptography. It works in a very interesting way. Every individual has a pair of keys. The keys are basically digital codes that enable you to decrypt a message that is encrypted.
All these keys are stored on public servers along with the names and the email addresses of the users. Everyone can access them. So, if you want to send an encrypted email, you only need to find your recipient’s public keys on the key server and then send him or her the encrypted message.
The technology revolving around the key cryptography allows the message to be decrypted only by the right recipient, and not even a public key can decrypt it. The recipient decrypts the message using a private key which is usually stored somewhere private and safe within his or her computer. Thus, theoretically, the message within the email is safe and private as your private key.
What are the methods used for email encryption?
There are two main methods used to encrypt emails. These are PGP and S/MIME. Let’s explore them in more detail:
• Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) – PGP compresses the text and the session key before sending it. So, on the other side, the receiver uses his or her private key to extract the session key. From there, the session key decompresses and decrypt the message. The good thing with the PGP method is that it compresses your email. Hence reduces the storage space as well as the bandwidth usage. Acquiring a certification is free. With PGP, it does not only allow you to choose how good you want to encrypt your messages but also how to secure the message you receive should be. Thus, it becomes more flexible and cheaper
• Secure multipurpose internet mail extension(S/MIME) – This is a digital signature that verifies the identity of the sender and the receivers so that only the two of them can read the message. S/MIME depends on the centralized authority to select the key size and encryption algorithm. It’s easy to maintain. However, it’s not that simple when it comes to web-based email clients. Additionally, you don’t get free certification. You only buy it when you have an iPhone or a MacBook.
Now, as we have seen, it is possible to encrypt emails with codes, including digital signatures and private keys. However, some individuals or small businesses don’t have the luxury to do all that. So, the better option is using secure email services. As discussed earlier, email providers offer limited encryption capability which is insufficient to the users who concerned with their confidentiality. So, here is the list of the secure email services available in the market.
ProtonMail is a popular, secure email service you can find out there. It’s a secure service to the extent that if you lose your password, even the provider cannot retrieve your emails. You are therefore needed to set up your recovery data.
•Free to use
•Does not retain IP address information
•It works in any of your devices
•You can download your PGP keys
•Do not support SMTP, IMAP or POP3. You must use a web interface when working from the desktop.
•You must have a paid account if you want to personalize your signature.
Hushmail has been in existence for a few decades and still has a great reputation. It gives you both business and personal options. It also has a modern web interface and can secure your emails; not even Hushmail can access them.
•Support both POP and IMAP
•Provides two-step authentication
•You must provide your phone number and an alternative email address when signing up.
Mailfence is based on open PGP service offering end to end encryption. You can use mailfence with custom domains and strictly protects your information.
•Has a spam filter
•Includes digital signatures that are essential in email spoofing
•Includes a calendar
•Supports SMTP AND IMPA
•Unless you pay, it has limited storage
•You have to provide an alternative email address
•You can only send message to recipients with open PGP keys.
CounterMail is from a Swedish company that provides a high level of data security. It is designed for individuals dealing with financial information or other sensitive information.
•Doesn’t keep any information of an IP address
•Supports SMTP and IMAP
•Has USB drive authentication
•Has a password manager
• Limited storage
• The recipient must also have the account for the message to be encrypted
• The free trial lasts only for a week. Hence, limited time for evaluation.
All in all, using these tips will help to keep your email information secure. Whether the information is confidential or not, sending encrypted emails is important. So utilize these methods, and you will be good to go.