We all use emails to communicate on a daily basis, but just how secure are they? Going back a few years emails were always sent in plain text and could be intercepted by anyone in the middle, has this changed in today's society?

It has become common place for our emails to be sent across a secure connection, a bit like the one we see when visiting our online banks with https://. The difference here is that, other than during the setup in your email client, you can't really tell the connection is secure. Moreover, once your emails are with the email provider, they can probably read everything in your inbox (although I'm not necessarily saying they do).

To overcome the risks, we turn to email cryptography. Ideal for companies sending sensitive data, sensible for those concerned with their privacy.

What is email cryptography?

Email cryptography isn't a difficult process, but one that users in today's society are both unfamiliar with and unwilling to participate in given the time taken to complete. With the advent of new services, the barrier to entry; along with the additional steps required to perform encryption, is reducing.

With email service providers capitalising on the ability to read and tokenise our email for the purpose of advertising and promotion, it is unlikely that a mainstream provider is going to either allow or develop a solution which natively supports encrypted mail on the client side. Doing so would reduce revenue streams.

In 2013 a new service was launched, https://protonmail.com/. which aims to reduce the friction of using end-to-end email encryption. Natively supporting full encryption for emails to other service users, and providing a symmetric key solution for non service users, this in theory is one of the best services I have found. (I make take no responsibility for any damages caused whilst using this service). They claim https://protonmail.com/support/knowledge-base/how-is-the-private-key-stored/ that private key are not accessible by staff/third parties.

Alternatives to Proton Mail?

Here are some links to alternative services that may be worth investigating. Again, I don't provide any warranty over the use of these services, this is purely for informational purposes.



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