Since NSA document leaks, everyone got concerned about their online privacy and security. And the term “Encryption” was commonly heard.
And then people getting to discover End to End Encryption and demanding it in all sort of communications because it offers more privacy than normal encryption.
In this post we will learn about End to end encryption and also how to use ProtonMail to Send Private and End to End encrypted emails.
What is End-to-End Encryption
End-to-End Encryption (E2EE) is a method of encryption in which only the Sender and Receiver can read the Messages or data.
Contrary to that in Traditional Encryption, in E2EE the Government, your ISP or Even the Company itself cannot read your Messages and Data.
In E2EE, the Encryption and the Decryption keys are independently generated on Sender and Receiver side respectively based on a common public key. The actual key is not transmitted in between them
So it is not possible for Hackers and even the Company through which you are sending messages to read your Data/Messages.
Introducing ProtonMail, an End to End Encrypted Email service
ProtonMail is a Free Webmail service founded by Jason stockman, Andy Yen and Wei sun and is Technically hosted in Switzerland.
The key difference between ProtonMail and others like Gmail is it allows you to send End to End Encrypted emails to other ProtonMail user or even a Gmail, Yahoo and other email users. That means unlike Gmail or Yahoo, when you send emails through ProtonMail, no one (other than you and recipient) including the company itself cannot read the emails.
The service is founded in 2013 at CERN (where Web was born) and all its servers are located in Switzerland, a land of strict privacy laws.
Features of ProtonMail
The best part about ProtonMail is it’s very User-friendly. Your inbox will be as feature rich as Gmail or other service. The complexity in their security doesn’t reflect in User interface.
The design is neat and equipped with features like Labels, Filters and other common things. The most unique thing about it is, you can tweak the UI with custom themes and you can even apply your own custom CSS styles .
And you can download their free apps for Android, iOS or use responsive WebApp to stay connected with your inbox
Create a Free ProtonMail account
ProtonMail was initially hosted on Indiegogo to raise funds to provide free and private Webmail service.
The service is free for lifetime but with limitations on number of emails you can send in a day and storage. When you signup for a free account you will get:
- 500MB Storage
- 150 Emails/ day
- 1 Address, 20 Labels and Limited customer support
You can upgrade by paying from 5 Euros/ month to 30 Euros/month depending on your storage and other requirements. You can also pay more as a donation to support the organization.
During signup, you don’t have to enter any personal information like Name or Birth date. ProtonMail doesn’t ask for any such identity information except Recovery email address, which is optional too.
Just follow these few steps to signup for a free account:
- Go to ProtonMail signup page
- Fill the signup form as follows:
- Username – Enter the username you want
- Login password – This is the password which you use to Login to your account.
- Mailbox password – This password is used to Encrypt your inbox. This is important one. If you forgot this, you will lose all your emails.
- Recovery Email – This is OPTIONAL. Still it will useful in Resetting your Login password, when you lose it.
- Click on Create Account.
Send and Receive Highly secure Emails with ProtonMail
Once you create your account, Login using Username and Login password. And then enter Mailbox password to go to your Inbox.
When it comes to sending emails, it is simple and easy as using Gmail. You just click on compose, type-in your message (and format it), Attach any files and Send. Here is the step by step procedure.
Send End-to-End Encrypted emails from to Other ProtonMail User
Well as I said earlier, its plain and simple:
- Login and click on Compose in the Top-left corner.
- Type-in your message. You can format the message with lists, Insert images and links. Attach any files you want to send by clicking on Clip icon ( Max size – 25MB )
- But here is the Unique feature. You can also set expiration date for the email. Just click on clock icon and set expiration time in Weeks/Days/Hours. The message will be Self-destructed after that specific time you have set. Remember you can set a maximum expiration time of upto 4 Weeks.
- Click on Send.
Send End-to-End Encrypted emails to a Gmail/Yahoo/Hotmail or Other Non-ProtonMail user
It is a little different when you have to send encrypted emails to a Non ProtonMail user. In this case you have to manually encrypt email with a password. Again it is very simple.
- Click on Compose.
- Same as explained above, Type-in the message, Attach files and Set Expiration time as per your requirement.
- Now click on Lock icon under it and enter a password. And then click on Send.
Now the person to whom you are sending this message need this password to read message. Please make sure you share this password securely and not through email.
How can a Non-ProtonMail user Reply back securely?
Well, the both of you who are communicating are using ProtonMail, you can just reply back as usual within inbox.
But, if the user on the other end is using Gmail/Yahoo or other unencrypted service, they should not use their usual Reply option. In this way the message will not be private.
Lets assume you are a Gmail user and you have received an Encrypted message from a ProtonMail user. Now in order to reply back securely:
- As I explained above, open the email and Click on View secure message link in the email. Enter the password to view.
- Now click on Reply Securely, enter your message and click on Send
The best part about ProtonMail is its Secure and Productive. Its secures your communication with End to End encryption and on the other hand makes it simple and productive with its clean and user-friendly UI , Android and iOS Apps.
ProtonMail is an amazing option for those who are looking for a way to communicate securely, but still want to stay productive.
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