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Forget about Gmail – it’s time to switch to confidential email


End-to-end encryption and disposable email addresses help hide your emails from the eyes of intruders.

You use email frequently. It is the central point for sharing information about all the activities that you perform online. This includes buying tickets, notification of train schedules, receiving receipts for purchases in online stores, and much more. Using email, you can also restore access to sites and applications for which you have forgotten your password. And if your account is not secure enough, then not only you.

There is a lot of personal information stored in your mailbox. If you collect all the data together, attackers can make a list of your interests, movements around the world and close friends. Often services neglect the privacy of their email. They, too, can be understood: not all people are of interest to hackers. For a business, for example, phishing attacks carried out via email can compromise the data of an entire corporate network. For individuals, there is also a threat of being hacked, in which case attackers will gain access to a person’s personal data (credit card passwords, social network accounts ).

First, pay attention to the data that the service collects about you. Although Gmail does not view the content of your emails to collect information and create its advertising campaigns, data from your Google account is used to display ads in your inbox. The company has recently started to place this kind of advertising products.

Google may use information from your personal emails to improve its services. For example, the flight booking option may be automatically added to your calendar; or a map of the city you arrived in (information obtained after booking a hotel) may already be downloaded to your phone. These services save you time, but there is a risk that your email data will be used for other purposes. In addition to the collection of personal information by Google, you can choose not to share your email information with any application or service that you subscribe to.

Other questions to ask yourself are how secure is email and is it private enough for you. For most people, the data protection features provided by the major email providers (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo Mail) will be sufficient. For example, account access can be further secured using two-factor authentication, which includes the creation of special security keys.

Also, you might want to consider switching to another email service that puts privacy first and uses end-to-end encryption wherever possible. This is especially important if you are sending other users confidential information about your company or yourself. Other than that, there are cases where the user wants to remain anonymous when sending emails.

Privacy above all!

If you want to switch to a more private service, there are several options. The most important thing to pay attention to before making such a decision is that you will need time.

On the most insecure online accounts, from banking to social media, you will need to change your email address. Determine the accounts that are most important to you. It’s best not to delete your old email account. For accounts that don’t contain that much sensitive information, you can set up forwarding from old email to new email. When it comes to creating new mail, you should turn your attention to service providers focused on the privacy and security of user data. In this article, we’ll take a look at 2 options for confidential email services that deserve attention.

ProtonMail, based in Switzerland, is considered one of the most private services in the world. In addition, the service itself has many security features that are designed to keep your email and personal data private. The company says its emails are fully encrypted. The firm cannot access any data of its users. "The data is encrypted on the client side with an encryption key that we don’t have access to," the company’s website says.

In addition to end-to-end encryption, ProtonMail does not require any personal information from the user to create a new account, including their IP address logs. The service is open source, so anyone on the Internet can check it for flaws or vulnerabilities in the code. The free subscription includes 500 MB of free memory. The increase in memory and functionality will cost users 4€ per month.

LavaBit has a long history. After Edward Snowden used the service in 2013, LavaBit fell under the full control of the US government. However, the service was relaunched in 2017 by the same team behind the original LavaBit, citing the need to provide users with more secure email.

Lavabit is many times more difficult to set up than ProtonMail: you will need to set the parameters to work with an external mail client. However, once you do this, the content, metadata, and transport layer of your messages will be fully encrypted. There are three levels of security provided by the service, starting with "trust mode" and ending with "paranoid mode". The basic services of the service will cost $30 per year, while the premium subscription includes more storage space and increased message size.

Using Disposable Mail

There are reasons why Gmail and Outlook have billions of users. They are both free and relatively easy to use, and they also have additional commercial services on their cloud platforms. For these reasons, it is not possible to completely abandon these service providers. However, there is a way out – the use of disposable e-mails.

Email accounts configured for single use can protect you from marketing spam. However, more often than not, companies are starting to use disposable mail to prevent other companies from collecting data about their users. This data protection is available through the creation of a disposable email address (a mixture of random numbers and letters) that can be used to register with the service. It is also possible to forward emails to your permanent email account if you wish to remain anonymous.

Burner Mail is perhaps the most popular e-mail of this format. Burner Mail generates a unique anonymous email for every service you subscribe to. This makes tracking your personal data almost impossible for other companies and advertisers on the Internet," the company’s website says. Once you’ve signed up for Burner Mail, you can add information about which email address your messages should be forwarded to and whether you want messages to be forwarded from all the services where you’ve signed up. Burner Mail also allows the user to reply to received messages. There is a free and premium subscription.

Apple and Firefox are moving to disposable emails to help people protect their privacy. iPhone gives you the option to hide your email when you’re already signed into an Apple account. If you enable this setting, Apple will create a disposable email using your iCloud login credentials and then forward messages received to it to your permanent email address. Mozilla Firefox is also developing a similar email masking service called Firefox Relay, which is in closed beta.

If you want to log into the service and not remember it anymore, there is 10 Minute Mail. As the name suggests, the service deletes the email address within ten minutes and gives you the opportunity to access any incoming messages during this time. The huge disadvantage of such mail is that the account will be quickly deleted, which means that you will not be able to view passwords there if necessary.

Opting out of using email

It is not always necessary to use email. Depending on what you want to report, there is also the option to use an encrypted messaging and file transfer service. Messengers such as Signal and WhatsApp, for example, allow users to send encrypted files, photos, and videos. If you want to send large files, then WeTransfer Pro and S endAnywhere services will help you with this. They offer users password-protected file sharing with other people.

Based on Wired UK.