What are the most secure email services?
We often use email for personal or work reasons, many of us do it several times a day. However, often emails are sent in plain format that is very easy to read if intercepted. If you want more privacy and protection, you can encrypt your messages, so that only you and your recipient can open and read them. Here are some ways how you can do that.
VaultletMail is the part of the VaultletSuite, a desktop set of programs for increased productivity. This is a very sophisticated program that can protect you from email copying, forwarding, printing, quoting, etc. You may even set a deadline after which your email will automatically destruct right inside your recipient’s inbox.
When both you and your recipient use VaultletMail, all the messages are fully encrypted by default. It allows the maximum level of protection.
However, if you need to send an email to someone who is not using VaultletMail, this is done via SpecialDelivery, a feature used for exactly this purpose:
In order to receive your message, your recipient has to create a secret code which will be used as a key to decrypt your emails. This code can be any phrase you wish:
Unlike VaultletMail, this is a web-based email provider, so all the work is done via a simple browser. All your emails are encrypted, and all emails sent from one Hushmail user to another get encrypted and decrypted automatically.
If you need to send an email to someone outside of Hushmail, a special secret question is used. The recipient can decrypt and read your message only after giving the right answer to it:
After giving the answer, the recipient sees a hyperlink which will take him or her to the Hushmail site to see the message itself:
This is a free extension for the desktop email client Mozilla Thunderbird, but there are many similar extensions for other programs. Enigmail is one of the most popular solutions for security enthusiasts and geeks, since it allows very flexible and low-level encryption tools.
In order to use Enigmail, you need to install it into your Thunderbird, but besides that, you need to install the GNU Privacy Guard program in your OS. There are versions for Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, and RISC OS. GNU PG is a free implementation of the OpenGPG standard allowing you to encrypt all your communication and data. When used side by side with Thunderbird and Enigmail, it becomes a real privacy ironclad for all your email communication.
Using Enigmail is simple. Go to OpenGPG menu in Thinderbird, then Setup Wizard. Here you need to create or import public and private encryption keys for your messages:
Then, when you create your message, select Encrypt This Message to activate encryption:
Your recipients must receive the keys to open your emails, so the overall setting is not very easy. On the other hand, you get an extra benefit of using Enigmail with any email providers you want, like Gmail.
What else you should know
It should be noted that no email is absolutely secure against anything. For example, many email providers, such as Hushmail, warn users that they cannot use them for illegal purposes. In this case they can turn over emails to authorities by a court order. For example, Hushmail has the following disclaimer in the signup process:
The same more or less applies to all encrypted email providers out there. Even if some provider does not have a disclaimer of this kind, nothing prevents it from cooperating with authorities in a more concealed way or sometime in future.
Some people prefer various DIY solutions like Enigmail because of this, but it won’t guarantee that authorities won’t be able to force you to reveal all the keys and passwords. There are just no silver bullet that can give you a guaranteed protection against everyone in all cases. For example, criminals may use methods very different from what you expect:
So, even if you use powerful encryption tools, it is generally a very bad idea to envolve in illegal practices, lose your devices, or associate with criminals. For everything else, encryption may be very useful.