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Hackernoon logoThe Best Secure Email Provider To Choose by@Turner

The Best Secure Email Provider To Choose

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@TurnerMatthew

Don’t you manage your affairs, both business and personal, via emails and
messengers? Sure, you do. It’s convenient and saves tons of time. Colleagues need email to send reports, entrepreneurs to exchange ideas, journalists to send confidential articles for publication, and so on. But there is one issue we all face - a data breach. People aware of this problem and have already found a solution - encrypted email.

There is my explanation of what it means and the selection of 9 services
which I consider the best ones.

Encrypted email: What does it mean?

It is an email service that applies encryption in order to preserve the
content of the email from surveillance. Once encrypted, emails are sent to the receiver and can be decrypted only by him/her. Even in the case of message interception, the content of the emails remains to be secured.

We need it to protect confidential info shared privately, to keep your identity to yourself, to make business risk-free, and back-up safe.

What is the best secure email?

I’ve picked up 6 best secure email services and 3 ones which are close to it, it’s up to you to decide what you will choose.

Proton Mail

The project has been working since 2013. From 2013 to 2014 it was in the
testing phase. The devs are the workers of the European Organization for Nuclear Research; that’s why the app is called that way. All its offices and servers are located in Geneva.

This mail is loved by millions of users, thanks to the facility of encrypting an email before users address them. All the information is collected on its servers. If to believe the devs, they will not be able to decrypt a user's messages even upon the request of a court.

There is a possibility to use 2 passwords, which improves mail security. This mail uses a combination of two encryption solutions: RSA and AES. 1st RSA - to identify a user. The 2nd one is for decrypting info held on the server. That provides a really high rate of safety.

The first user password is held on servers (the person can change it at any time), while the second one is known only to the sender himself.

Besides, it provides the possibility to set the expiration date for the storage of emails, after which all the messages will be self-destructing.

There are both free, and several paid versions with a broad set of functionality, but all of them provide the same rate of protection. I would like to note that payment does not affect the level of security, but only adds extra features.

Utopia

It's a relatively new project. Utopia email is the secure mailing service that is a part of the enclosed Utopia P2P ecosystem. All the emails are encrypted by default as well as all the files attached. Utopia applies combined encryption methods - 256-bit AES and Elliptic Curves to guarantee the most secured communication for its users.

Together with the decentralized peer-to-peer architecture, Utopia becomes one of the coolest alternatives to traditional mailing tools, which excludes the possibility of surveillance, data theft, and other cyber tracking.

The total anonymity is provided by the type of registration, not requiring any personal info - phone numbers, real names, and email addresses.

On top of all, Utopia users can enjoy the vast feature and function set of the ecosystem:

  • instant messenger for secure communication and files exchange, which allows sending all types of encrypted messages and create public channels.
  • browser Idyll for anonymous surfing the resources within the network. All web-resources (sites, e-shops, forums, etc.) can be created inside the ecosystem thanks to the API, Utopia NS, and packet forwarding function. 
  • wallet for anonymous transactions conducting. All the payments are made in Crypton - own cryptocurrency, which can be easily mined right there. 
  • and other tools like games and managers

Mailfence

Mailfence, like many others, was launched after the shocking  Snowden-story back in 2013. It encrypts emails based on Open PGP. Thus, you can be unalarmed about your chats' safety. All users can enter a mailbox employing SMTP / IMAP as an email client. Besides, 2FA is applied here.

Mailfence offers SPF (Thanks to it, you can check if the sender’s domain has
been tampered with.), DKIM (The method allows the recipient to verify that the letter was indeed sent from the declared domain), anti-spam and blacklists.

Moreover, it offers an integrated Keystore. And there are no ads, which is a
huge plus.

Posteo

It is another cool open-source mail service, which I like, it’s Germany based. It utilizes E2EE (PGP / GPG). Several packages are offered. 1€ for the basic package per month - covers some of the essential features of the app, such as support for POP3 and IMAP.

Furthermore, you do not need to provide your private info while registering. It enhances the level of privacy and users’ security.

Further features which should be taken into account:

No adverts; You are provided with 2 GB memory, which is quite enough, but you can enlarge the number.; You can attach files up to 50 MB, so forget about long videos exchange.

Tutanota

It also came from Germany. Tutanota presents an open-source E2EE email,
which is intended to guard user mails content. It encrypts all information that you transfer or receive from others.

Encryption and decryption occur at the time of identification (authorization) of a particular user. For this, the user’s personal password is used, which is why if you suddenly forgot it, then everything is lost and
cannot be restored.

All your correspondence is encrypted locally first and then stored on the
servers, which means that even the owners of Tutanota can't read it if they want.

It is curious that not only the content of all messages is encrypted, but also the subject, as well as attachments. This is the main fundamental difference between Tutanota and other services. Besides, at the time of sending an email, the program automatically deletes the IP address, making you an anonymous user.

It offers both free and paid packages (including for Android and iOS.)

Counter mail

It's another tool using which you won't feel uneasy about confidentiality
issues. It is a well-known Swiss service that provides E2EE, making it can’t be done for bad guys to scan your emails. It has over 4 thousand types of encryption keys, which is great.

Besides, it does not collect your data on some central servers or 3-rd party
storages. This means that nobody will have a chance to view your emails, so there is no risk of data leakage.

There is one more advantage. The service’s devs also promise protection
from data surveillance from the authorities' side. Besides, you can talk with any other OpenPGP-compatible email user around the globe. Android and iOS versions are provided.

Extra features of CounterMail:

  • USB key option. 
  • Protection from a MITM attack.

What else to consider?

There are 3 services which are worth mentioning, but I didn’t include them in Top 6. For certain reasons.

VauletMail desktop

It's an underestimated tool, to mi mind. First, it encrypts user emails.
Second, you can send self-destructing messages and do it from anonymous addresses. But the fact that it’s a desktop version, people may consider it not so safe as others. However, it’s quite good.

Hushmail

It is one of the most curious email providers. Your communication data is stored in encrypted form and can be decrypted only when you enter the password while logging in to your acc.

A mail transmitted between Hushmail users is automatically encrypted and decrypted.  To make it even safer, you can add a secret question to which the receiver must give an answer in order to decrypt your mail. Your receiver will get an email and a link which he/she should follow. This link will lead them to the Hushmail site, where a user will have to answer a question to view encrypted email.

Enigmail

I bet you've heard about this one. It is an extension for Mozilla Thunderbird. It's not new but still good. To use Enigmail, you need to install both the Enigmail extension for Thunderbird and the GNU Privacy Guard software for your operating system. It's free.

Following that, a new OpenPGP menu will appear in Thunderbird with a setup assistant. The assistant will guide you step by step through the
setup process, which includes creating or importing public and private key pair.

Emails are signed digitally by default. That’s what allows recipients to
know that the message has been sent from you. You must select
“Encrypt This Message” in the S / MIME drop-down list in the message creation window to make the chatting secure.

You may think that the setup process is a bit complicated, but it’s normal. The advantage is that you can use Enigmail with an existing mail provider, such as Gmail.

Though these three services have its drawbacks, they still guarantee
all-round security of online conversations for you. While choosing a
particular app, think of what qualities you are looking for in a mailing service. Maybe, interface for you is no less important. But remember, safety first!

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