Secure Email Service Providers

Background

Nasir has been feeling uneasy, ever since he heard of the Yahoo mail hack. He has been transferring sensitive messages, files and documents through his usual email system. What is the best method for him to transfer such files?

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As privacy consciousness has increased, phrases like “zero knowledge” and “end-to-end encryption” have become buzzwords of sorts. Many businesses, products, and online services have sprung up in the wake of Edward Snowden hoping to get a slice of the rapidly expanding market for privacy-enhancing technology. But which ones are all talk and which deliver?

Let’s take a look at a few email providers who provides near-perfect email security that would suit your needs.

ProtonMail

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ProtonMail is an encrypted-email service founded in 2013 at the CERN research facility. They make a big deal out of two things: the fact that they are based in Switzerland, and their two password system. ProtonMail uses client-side encryption to protect email contents and user data before they are sent to ProtonMail servers, in contrast to other common email providers such as Gmail and Hotmail. The service can be accessed through a web client or dedicated iOS and Android apps.

 

Tutanota

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Tutanota is  similar to the likes of encrypted email products ProtonMail, StartMail and Hushmail but says it’s putting more emphasis on usability, with a clean interface, features such as attachment encryption and support for different devices.

 Tutanota also has apps for iOS and Android, and a plugin for Outlook so that users don’t have to access their accounts using a web browser – all developments that are still on the cards for ProtonMail.

FEatures include:

  • 1GB storage (forever free)
  • Attachments limited to 25MB (for now)
  • 1 free alias is permitted (i.e. 2 email addresses). More will be available to premium users
  • Everything is encrypted – subject, body, and attachment
  • Android and iOS apps
  • Can not only send encrypted emails to users of regular email, but can receive an encrypted reply from them
  • Outlook addon (for premium business users)
  • (Upcoming – use webmail services with own domain name)

 

 

Unseen

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In addition to email, this Icelandic provider offers secure video chat and VoIP. While the basic service is free, a premium option is available for $47 per year. As well as a web based interface, Unseen.is offers stand-alone clients for Windows, OSX and Ubuntu, and is working apps for Android and iOS.

The email client uses PGP encryption, although unencrypted messages can also be sent. An email is required to register, but registration is immediate so this can be a disposable one.

Great comparison chart of secure email providers can be found here