Privacy is a big concern on the internet and the only foolproof way to keep your information private is to use encryption. That said, if you are looking to keep your email conversations private, then you should send encrypted emails instead. There are many services out there that will let you send encrypted emails and in this post, we will list 5 of the best email services that offer end-to-end encryption for your email conversations.
Note: These email services can encrypt your data, but they should not be used for illegal purposes. The company running the service can still decrypt emails and see the content if there is any legal action taken against you.
Send Encrypted Email
Mailfence is one of the most popular email encryption services that offers a complete solution to send and receive encrypted emails. The service is held in Belgium, therefore it doesn’t come under the US laws that are known to force companies to give up data.If you are going to send an email to another Mailfence user, then the encryption is automatically applied and all the data is kept on Mailfence servers. However, if the recipient is using any other email service, then you will have to encrypt the email with a key and the recipient must use that key to open the email.
Emails are not the only thing MailFence can encrypt, it can also encrypt your contacts, calendar entries, and even documents. I found MailFence interface to be very intuitive and easy on the eyes. With a few clicks you are ready to send an encrypted email using their handy email composer.
With the MailFence free account, you will get 200MB of space for emails and 250MB for documents and only 2 users can control the account. But if you want more, you can always opt for paid version to increase the total storage and let over 10 people access the account.
Hushmail offers separate solutions for both individuals and businesses alike, so it is easier to get what you really want. With the personal account, there aren’t many confusing options to overwhelm you. The service works like any other email service but lets you send encrypted emails that can be both Hushmail users and other email service users can receive.
If you send the email to another Hushmail user, then the encrypted email will be immediately sent without any manual intervention from your side. If the recipient is using any other email service, then you will have to provide a security question and an answer that both you and the receiver must know. The recipient can answer the question to open the email in Hushmail’s secure interface (no sign-up needed).
For businesses, Hushmail offers different features such as — HIPAA compliance, administrative tools, multiple accounts under same address and many custom solutions depending on the nature of the business. Hushmail is a paid service costing $49.98 for the personal account and custom rates for business accounts. Although it has a free service as well, but it only offers 25MB space and phone verification that many people won’t be comfortable with.
This is a rather new service and still in its beta phase, but it’s improving by leaps and bounds. I really liked the light and simple approach by SCRYPTmail that doesn’t put too many restrictions on account usage. You simply sign up and you are ready to send encrypted emails.
Like other services in this list, all emails to SCRYPTmail users are encrypted by default, but you will have to provide a PIN code to encrypt emails sent to other email services. Interestingly, if the recipient enters a wrong PIN 3 times, the encrypted message is deleted instead – a good security move I would say.
SCRYPT mail is completely free for now and paid features will be announced soon as well. However, the developer confirms that the paid features will not be essential for the working of the service and it will depend completely on the preference of the user to whether go with free or paid version.
4. ProtonMail (recommended)
If you don’t trust the above services, then you might be interested in an open source email encryption service. ProtonMail is an open source email service that offers amazing features and all for free. ProtonMail comes under strict Swiss laws, so you should expect reliable privacy and security features. Additionally, it doesn’t ask for any identifiable information to create your account. Simply create a new email account and start sending encrypted emails; they will not even track your IP address.
Its interface is not as easy as others in this list, but it is very interactive and should be easy to get a hang of it with a little effort. The encryption works similar to other services, but it comes with an interesting self-destructing feature that allows you to destroy the sent email from the recipient’s access after a specific time. The free account will work fine for most users. Although you can opt for the paid version to get more storage and custom domains.
If you don’t want to send encrypted emails using a separate service, then you can use Secure Mail for Gmail Chrome extension to send encrypted emails right from Gmail. Unfortunately, both you and the recipient must have Secure Mail extension installed to be able to exchange encrypted emails. If you can fulfill this prerequisite then it’s a great free solution for sending encrypted emails from Gmail.
Once installed, Secure Mail will add a button next to the “Compose” button in Gmail. If you want to send an encrypted email, just click on this button to compose an encrypted email. When you will send the email, it will ask for a password and an optional hint. The recipient can use that password to decrypt the email and see content. If the recipient doesn’t have the Secure Mail extension, then they will see a link to install the extension instead.
I like ProtonMail for its open source nature and privacy thanks to being under Swiss laws. Although SCRYPTmail is also a great emerging service to send encrypted emails.
Which one of these email encryption services you like? Do share with us in the comments.