E-mail has gradually increased its presence to become an essential tool. To a large extent, it has replaced paper correspondence among other reasons for ecological reasons. However, it is not the only reason, the immediacy with which we will receive a message is its great asset. However, over the years it has been blamed for problems such as a lack of privacy. For this reason, and to prevent your private information from falling into the hands of cybercriminals and governments, we are going to propose different applications to encrypt emails and maintain your privacy.
In 2013, the existence of the clandestine PRISM program of the United States National Security Agency, known as NSA, was revealed. Messages from at least nine major Internet companies were found to be being massively collected. Apart from government organizations, there are cybercriminals who seek to violate our privacy and then profit. As you may have already deduced, encrypting emails can greatly improve our privacy since only the legitimate recipient of this email will be able to read it.
Mailvelope: the multi-browser extension
Mailvelope is an extension that we can install in Chrome, Edge and Firefox browsers, to safely encrypt our emails with PGP using webmail providers , it is compatible with Gmail and Outlook, which are the most used at home and also professionally. .
This browser add-on will provide end-to-end encryption for our e-mail. We will be able to encrypt emails without having to change our email provider. In this sense, it should be noted that both encryption and decryption are performed on the end devices. This means that our private data will never leave our computer without being encrypted.
The first thing we have to do is install Mailvelope in the browser of your choice:
- Mailvelope for Google Chrome .
- Mailvelope for Mozilla Firefox .
- Mailvelope for Microsoft Edge .
Once the browser extension is installed correctly, a screen like this will appear, after pressing the red icon of the program extension.
Then we will touch on the button Let’s start! The first thing we need to do is generate our key for which we will click on Generate key. Next, a screen like this will appear:
Then, we choose a name, we put our email and we add a password that we have to repeat twice. From now on, we already have our PGP password. Then we have to go to our e-mail to verify the e-mail address that we put in the Mailvelope key server. Thus, other Mailvelope users will be able to send us encrypted emails. In the mail inbox we will see that we have a message like this:
Now it is the turn to click on Show message , and this screen will appear:
Here it is going to ask us to enter the password that we have established before Mailvelope. Once done, the fully decrypted message will appear:
At this time we will have to click on the link to verify the email and be able to use the program. The way to decrypt will follow the same procedure for all emails sent to us in the future. The only thing that must be taken into account is to enter the corresponding password. Regarding how to send an encrypted email , you must start using the Mailvelope editor, whose icon is the one you have marked with an arrow.
Finally, the text is written and sent.
Mymail Crypt for Gmail
This is another extension that we can use, but in this case it only works for Google Chrome. The plugin can be downloaded from the Chrome Store for free. We find that it implements GPG in Webmail (Gmail) using the OpenPGP.js library. It should be noted that the project is not affiliated with Google. Once the installation is complete, we must access the extension’s options and there generate our encryption key at the same time that we will import the keys of our contacts so that, when we receive an email, it is automatically decrypted.
Therefore, after having entered options, we will go to the My Keys tab and click on generate a new key.
Then a screen like the following will appear:
Here, the configuration is very similar to the previous plugin. What we have to do is put a name, add an email, put a password and click on the submit button . From that moment on, we would already have a button to be able to encrypt emails.
Thus, an encrypted email would arrive in our inbox:
And from here we could decipher it:
Finally, here is a video that explains how to install the extension and more:
Infoencrypt to encrypt from the web
The advantage it has over the previous two is that it is easier to use than the previous two. In that sense, it presents us with two important advantages:
- It does not require any software installation.
- It’s easy to use and we don’t have to configure anything.
As for the encryption it uses, it is AES 128 bits. It is the most popular encryption and has been approved by the US NSA for internal use. In order to use it, we have to access the Infoencrypt website from the following link . Then this screen will appear that we can use to encrypt emails:
Its way of using it is very simple, at the top in the big white box we write the text that we want to encrypt and we write the password twice. Next, what we have to do is click on the Encrypt button . Then we copy the text it generates and send it by email. Then the recipient enters this website, copies the encrypted text, enters the password and clicks Decrypt to decrypt the text. It is certainly an interesting way to encrypt emails occasionally.
CipherMail for Google Chrome
Thanks to this extension for Chrome we can send encrypted messages to Gmail, Outlook or any other email using S / MIME technology and certified with CipherMail. The main features of CipherMail are:
- S / MIME 3.1 (X.509, RFC 3280) email encryption.
- Simple text and HTML support, both formats being encrypted.
- Integration with Google using OAuth2.
- It supports the SMTP and IMAP mail server protocols.
Here we have the screen where we can send messages encrypted with S / MIME:
This is a video demonstration of how the extension works:
If you want to try the CipherMail extension to encrypt emails you can download it from the Chrome Web Store from here .
ProtonMail Bridge is a desktop application that acts as an encryption bridge between the email server that we usually use, and the signature servers , all with the aim of encrypting the messages we send. This ProtonMail program is compatible with most mail services such as Thunderbird , Apple Mail or any other desktop that uses the IMAP and SMTP protocols. This would be the IMAP / SMTP configuration screen of ProtonMail Bridge:
The tool is available for Windows, MacOS and Linux, you can download it from this link .
Criptext: the most secure email service
According to the developer Criptext it is possibly one of the most secure mail services in the world.
Among its features are point-to-point encryption, it is open source, uses the Signal protocol and does not store data in the cloud. Also, if you send a wrong email, you can retract it in case an hour has not passed. The program is available for Windows , Android, IOS, Mac, and Linux.
Mailfence: another very interesting alternative
Mailfence is a good alternative to encrypt emails and thus protect our privacy.
Thanks to its encryption and digital signatures, it guarantees the recipient that we are the sender. It is free and we have a space of 500 MB, but if we need more we will have to resort to the payment options. If we want to increase to 5GB and 10 aliases we could do it for € 2.5 per month, here you have all the information.
The popular mail manager Mozilla Thunderbird, has recently included OpenPGP natively, without the need to install any extension in this mail manager, or make complicated configurations, now we will have everything in the mail manager itself. We will have to create the RSA or EC keys to encrypt the emails, and import the public keys of the recipients to whom we want to send emails encrypted with PGP. In RedesZone we have a complete configuration and use tutorial, of course, it is compatible with any email service, because the encryption is done locally without the need to install extensions in web browsers.
As you have seen, we currently have a large number of programs and extensions to send emails in a completely secure and private way. We hope that, with all these tools, you enjoy security and privacy when exchanging emails.