Email Encryption: A Complete Guide

12/10/2022

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For organizations to guarantee the security of their email exchanges, email encryption is a crucial tool. Email is not a safe way of communication, and it is possible for the contents of emails to be discovered, endangering the security of sensitive information and data. As a result, organizations must encrypt private communications and attachments.

For legal or regulatory reasons, sending encrypted emails is frequently required. Additionally, it frequently happens that a firm possesses information that it wishes to keep private. Businesses may safeguard emails with email encryption software, ensuring that only the intended recipient has access to them and offering end users greater security options.

We’ll be evaluating the encryption techniques these products offer, the controls they give IT administrators, how simple they are for senders and receivers to use, and the standard of reporting they provide in order to compile this list of the top email encryption options.

Email Encryption

Email encryption encrypts or conceals the content of emails to prevent potentially sensitive information from being viewed by anybody other than the intended recipients. Email encryption usually makes use of authentication.

Email is a dangerous medium, especially when it is sent over open or public Wi-Fi networks. Even emails received within a secure business network may contain your login details. Since encryption renders the content of your emails unreadable as it travels from the sender to the recipient, even if someone intercepts them, no one will be able to read them.

What to Encrypt When Encrypting Email

You should encrypt the following three items:

  • The link from your email service provider
  • Your email messages themselves
  • Your emails that have been cached, saved, or archived

Encrypting the connection can stop network intruders from intercepting and stealing your login information and any emails you write or receive as they leave your email provider’s server and move from server to server over the Internet.

Email communications that have been encrypted before being transmitted are effectively worthless if they are intercepted by a hacker or someone other than the intended receiver.

Last but not least, even if your accounts and device are password-protected, hackers may still acquire access if you save backed-up email messages in an email program like Microsoft Outlook. Email encryption guarantees that the content of your emails is unreadable even if access is gained.

There are several technological techniques available for encrypting email. One measure of security that digitally certifies your emails and lowers the number of spam messages that may be sent using your name and email address is the use of a personal email certificate. The absence of a digital signature in faked email messages alerts users that the message could include spam or dangerous information. This digital signature lets recipients determine if you genuinely sent the communications they receive.

A Public Key Infrastructure, or PKI, combines a private key that is only known to you with a public key, is typically used for email encryption. The private key is used to decrypt emails so that the intended recipient may read them. Emails are encrypted using the public key before being sent. In the PKI approach, anybody can encrypt email using a public key, but only a specific private key can decode each encrypted communication. 

Encrypting every email you send and receive is one of the best practices for email security. Encrypting just emails that include critical information sends a warning to hackers, directing them to the emails that are most likely to contain important, sensitive information—the same data you’re attempting to keep out of the hands of outsiders in the first place.

Hackers trying to obtain your personal information have a more difficult challenge when you encrypt all email communications as a regular procedure. Even the most devoted hackers may feel that the work is not worth it while decrypting emails one at a time in pursuit of a single message containing important information.

PreVeil

It seems to sense that companies would adopt encryption technologies that are stronger and more sophisticated than those available to the general public. Furthermore, it seems to sense that accessing commercial-grade encryption for consumers would be expensive. Both of those presumptions are incorrect because of Preveil. The Department of Defense has recognized it as having enough advanced technology, and it costs nothing. In fact, it’s free.

Preveil allows you to maintain your current email address, unlike other encrypted email providers that need you to get acclimated to a new address. Additionally, it interacts with Apple Mail, Gmail, Outlook, and the built-in Mail programs on mobile devices. It doesn’t require a master password because the presence of a reliable device serves as authentication.

Additionally, a high-tech multi-person recovery mechanism aids in helping you restore account access if you cannot log in because you lost all of your trusted devices.

You also receive 5GB of secured storage with Preveil for your private documents. From a trustworthy device, access is straightforward; otherwise, it is impossible. Additionally, Preveil users can access your protected data at four different authorization levels. If 5GB isn’t enough, you may upgrade your storage to 5TB for a $25 monthly fee.

PROS

  • Strong email encryption
  • Utilizes current email accounts
  • Direct support for Gmail, Outlook, and Apple Mail
  • Sharing files securely with encryption
  • Intelligent key recovery system

CONS

  • On unsupported email clients, you must manually install
  • Apple’s most recent updates to Mail now need manual installation.

Skiff

Although it’s a good idea to encrypt emails, email isn’t the only way we interact. Create a free Skiff account to access secure file sharing, collaboration on shared resources, and end-to-end email encryption. It’s a step toward taking control of your privacy and away from depending on powerful businesses for such things.

After choosing your Skiff account name, you are instantly prepared to collaborate, exchange files, and send messages, all while using end-to-end encryption. Because Skiff doesn’t make an effort to encrypt email communications outside of its network, you should also invite your friends. You and your colleagues may edit documents concurrently while viewing the changes the other makes, as with services like Google Docs.

The creators of Skiff firmly believe in keeping on the cutting edge. For storage, you can choose to use the decentralized Interplanetary Filesystem and connect certain cryptocurrency accounts to your Skiff account. Even pro-level enhancements may be purchased using bitcoin.

PROS

  • Email and collaboration with end-to-end encryption
  • Free access to all features that matter
  • Simple to use
  • Unli searching
  • Free software

CONS

  • Secure email is not used with non-users
  • Certain aspects are not properly described.

ProtonMail

Hardware security is one of ProtonMail’s distinctive features. The company’s servers are secured in a bunker in Switzerland. Protection that cannot be matched by cloud storage. ProtonMail customers’ communications are all automatically encrypted. This makes this service unique compared to other well-liked choices like Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook. ProtonMail offers encrypted email communication between users and completely secured communications for users with accounts on other platforms. It achieves this using Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), which necessitates that everyone with whom you wish to interact also has this application installed. To achieve end-to-end encryption, it uses public-key cryptography and symmetric encryption methods. 

You receive your public and private RSA keys when you register. No one can access your messages due to ProtonMail’s zero-access design. Remember that if you forget your password, you won’t be able to get your data back. Email expiry can be configured for your outgoing emails. Consider how Snapchat deletes messages after a specified amount of time.

You can use a pm.me domain instead of protonmail.com if you find it uninviting. All users can receive such an address, but only premium users can respond. Because ProtonMail is web-based, it lacks a dedicated PC client. On the other hand, iOS and Android users may download the encrypted email app. Even though it’s an online application, you may select from a variety of themes. The inbox, composer, and icon sizes may all be changed.

PROS

  • Email communication with other service users using end-to-end encryption
  • Can messages to non-users be password-protected?
  • Displays attached images safely
  • Message elapsed
  • Store files and calendars securely
  • A free tier is offered.

CONS

  • Even the premium edition has daily message restrictions.

StartMail

Email encryption ensures no one may eavesdrop on or alter your crucial communications with dependable contacts. You may connect with untrusted recipients using email aliases, sometimes known as disposable email addresses, or DEAs, without providing them with your genuine email address. StartMail provides both in a delightful synergy.

StartMail uses the PGP standard for encryption, similar to many rival solutions, automating key exchange with other StartMail users. PGP wizards can manually exchange keys to encrypt emails sent outside the StartMail network, but it’s probably simpler to use the password-based solution.

You may create an email alias in StartMail if you need to provide an email address for a newsletter, a new online retailer, or any non-personal connection. Your inbox shows messages addressed to the alias, and answers seem to be sent by the alias. However, you may simply disable or remove the alias if you wish to get rid of the connection, possibly because it started getting spam.

PROS

  • PGP message encryption that is automatic for StartMail users
  • Encryption using a password for non-users
  • Make up and control your throwaway email addresses.
  • Attractive new user interface

CONS

  • No mobile applications
  • Comparatively pricey

Tutanota Premium

Tutanota employs a hybrid encryption technique to get around several PGP limitations. The service makes sure that every aspect of data protection complies with GDPR and other EU privacy laws. Tutanota additionally encrypts your mail subject lines, unlike PGP. Users that prefer to keep their whole correspondence private might benefit from this.

You may take advantage of some of the greatest internet security legislation in the world by having your data kept securely on servers in Hannover, Germany. But Tutanota offers more than just this. There are several intriguing features included in this secure email service.

Its anonymous sign-up technique is one of them. Personal information is never required during the registration process. The service is entirely customizable, which is great for enterprises. Custom domains and white-label mailbox designs are just two of the numerous possibilities available.

A unique email search feature is also available on Tutanota. You can quickly locate previous communications using Gmail and other platforms. The issue is that in a simple zero-knowledge system, you shouldn’t be able to achieve this. Tutanota takes a cunning solution to this by building a local encrypted index that makes searching easier.

PROS

  • Message headers and the subject are all encrypted.
  • The entire code is open source.
  • No message limitations apply to the free version.
  • Complete calendar
  • Secure message encryption search

CONS

  • Limited email alias system
  • Disk space might be wasted when looking for encrypted communications.

Virtru 

Virtru performs an outstanding job of managing security and data retention for big businesses. Additionally, it specializes in offering Gmail users encrypted email services. And although many encryption programs are compatible with at least a few email providers, Virtru’s Chrome extension only supports Gmail. This isn’t always a negative thing. After all, a sizable number of individuals use Google.

Although Virtru is solely an encryptor for Gmail, it guarantees that users of any email system will safely get your encrypted messages and responses. While Google claims not to read its users’ emails, this isn’t as obvious as it first appears.

This plugin makes sure that everything is secured, including automatically saved drafts. Google still has access to your contact list but cannot understand what you are saying.

You don’t need to go to the company’s website to add this Gmail encryption plugin to your security arsenal. Instead, discover it on the Chrome Web Store and quickly install it.

PROS

  • Allows for email encryption and Gmail integration.
  • Message forwarding can be disabled, and expiry can be specified.
  • Secure attachments
  • Free

CONS

  • Works only with Chrome users that use Gmail.
  • Users who are paranoid could think that Virtru has encryption keys.

Private-Mail

You may utilize the file-sharing and encrypted email features of Private-Mail without paying any fees. Paying for the Standard edition increases your email and file storage from 100MB to 10GB each and includes features like a secure calendar and mail syncing between devices. The Pro version doubles both the cost and storage.

Once you have exchanged PGP keys with your contacts, you may use PGP to encrypt or digitally sign your Private-Mail communications. Dropping a file into the Encrypted folder will put it into encrypted storage. For files, the service does employ a different set of PGP keys.

PROS

  • PGP public key cryptography is used to secure encrypted email.
  • Save and distribute encrypted data.
  • Dual-factor verification
  • Added benefits.

CONS

  • Setting up encrypted communications is not as simple as the competitors.
  • Only send plain-text encrypted messages.
  • No alternative to PGP for encrypted mail.
  • Expensive

SecureMyEmail

No matter what provider you use, SecureMyEmail is all about encrypting your electronic mail. It is compatible with iCloud, Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft services. There is no need to create a new email account while using SecureMyEmail. You can instantly sync it with the one you already use in its place.  PGP is used to support SecureMyEmail’s email encryption service. You must enter a separate passphrase for this from your password.

While emailing non-users might be challenging with certain systems, SecureMyEmail makes it simple. It develops keys for each unique chat and utilizes them to conceal the real material, doing most of the effort. Maintaining a group of trusted contacts you often communicate with is beneficial. This is possible with SecureMyEmail thanks to its address book feature.

PROS

  • Available free version with all features.
  • Utilizes current email accounts
  • Complies with current PGP keys
  • Message delay

CONS

  • Only for out-of-network communications does a message expire.
  • Several issues with the tests
  • Some functionalities are presently inoperative

9 Top Encrypted Messaging Software

You might be shocked to learn that many popular messaging applications don’t use reliable encryption to safeguard your data. But things are altering. There are currently several apps that take user privacy and encryption seriously.Using encrypted messaging software should be your priority if you value your privacy. We’ll review some of the top encrypted messaging applications in this article, along with their main features and usability. Click here.

Conclusion

Finding the top email encryption service is difficult since many options are available. ProtonMail is popular, and plenty of people are switching to it now.

Nevertheless, there are several approaches that, in certain situations, perform better. Due to this, it’s crucial to consider your requirements in relation to the available software.

You’ll be able to send and receive emails securely once you decide and start using the program.