The Gmail/Yahoo/iCloud email service provider you use is not safe. If you think just enabling ‘two factor authentication’ is good enough, then that’s not true at all. The best evidence of that? How come you are getting advertisements in your Gmail inbox that are personally tailored to what you recently shopped for on Amazon? Or what you just searched for on Google? That’s because the subject lines of your emails are being scanned by the email service providers. What if you have crucial legal, financial and personal information that you don’t want the public to know? What if you don’t want anyone to hack your email account and send a malicious or misleading email to all your email contacts? This is a common occurrence around the world. Well, here are give ways you can prevent it by acquiring an end-to-end encrypted email service provider. However, before we mention why you should opt for them, here are ways to prevent others from snooping on your private emails.
Encryption made easy: The secure email providers do something that you regular email service providers don’t do at all: automatically encrypt all your data on your device. This ensures that all your mails and email contacts remain hidden from prying eyes. Importantly, you can communicate with a friend on his unsecured email ID too and still keep your communication, end-to-end encrypted. Pray how? Well, your email message isn’t given in the email that comes to from a secure email provider. It’s like a sealed box with a message inside your email. Once you click on it, it takes you outside of your regular email service provider and opens a window in your internet browser. Only after you enter the ‘password’ will you be able to open the email. And that password could be shared to your friend through another secure messaging service like Signal that is also end-to-end encrypted. The beauty of secure email providers is that even the subject lines and attachments are encrypted to keep you 100% secure. Even better is that some secure email providers like Tutanota are open source and forever free. So how does open source help? Well, it enables security experts to verify the code that protects your mails.
Usability and security: All these secure email services have mobile apps too. However, you can also use a secure mobile browser like Firefox Focus and open the secure email on it as well. Just key in the password, and the mailbox opens and decrypts your message. That’s how useable and secure the service is as the encryption is taken care of automatically in the background.
Most crucial to businesses
If you own a business, secure email providers are mandatory, if you live in Europe. While most personal email accounts are free or reasonably priced, the business accounts come at a premium, but still relatively cheaper as it’s securing all classified business communication. There can be no price for that level of privacy. With a business account, you can manage all secure mail accounts of your company or family with your own domain, or use the secure email service provider’s whitelabel feature like that of Tutanota. Access your encrypted mailbox via web, Android or iOS app. All data is stored encrypted on their servers in data centers in Germany. And that’s how they help your business to become GDPR-compliant.
The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulates how companies must handle personal data that they process. One requirement is to safeguard personal data from potential abuse.
The GDPR highlights encryption as an appropriate technical measure to protect personal data. The new legislation states that encryption makes data unintelligible to any person who accesses the data in the case of a data breach. Denmark is the first EU country to require from companies that they send emails containing personal data only with proper end-to-end encryption. It is expected that more EU countries will follow this example.
Given the heavy fines of 4% of sales volume, companies are on the safe side when sending all emails containing personal data end-to-end encrypted.
Who are these email service providers?
We highly recommend Tutanota as it’s open source for the reason mentioned earlier.
Mailbox.org: With servers in Germany, it offers a 30-day trial before you come on board as a paid client. This self-funded service has been around since 2014 and pride themselves for their secure, ad-free, anonymous, and tracking-free e-mail service.
Mailfence.com: This Belgium service has been around since 1999 and have a forever free model in addition to paid plans. They are proud that they have a SSL certificate with no American certification authority involved in the certification chain (not that easy to find) and developed a unique and inter-operable End-to-end Encrypted email solution which includes digital signatures.
KolabNow.com: This Switzerland-based company has an individual and group account options after the end of a 30-day trial. Gizmodo gave the best endorsement for them by saying, “the servers are literally nestled in the safe and neutral mountains of Switzerland. You don’t get much more secure than that.”
Protonmail.com: Based out of Switzerland, even the creators can’t read your emails or serve up relevant ads in your inbox. Endorsed by no less than a slew of publications like The Wallstreet Journal, Forbes and The New York Times.
Startmail.com: Offers 10GB storage, disposable email addresses, based in Europe, and costs less than a coffee per month. You can take a 7-day trial before hopping on board.