Most of us are familiar with the idea of sending secret messages. In books and on movie screens, both heroes and villains find reasons to pass messages written in codes. Many of us sent messages to childhood friends written in invisible ink but don’t think about trying to send secret messages any longer. However, as your personal data is collected in an ever-increasing number of ways, sending messages that only the intended recipient can read is a great way to protect your privacy. One way to do this is with an encrypted email address.
What Is an Encrypted Email Address?
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An encrypted email address allows you to send emails securely. The encryption process works by encoding your email, sending the email while it is encoded and consequently unreadable, and then decoding your email once it reaches its intended recipient.
Why Is an Encrypted Email Address Important?
Encrypted email addresses provide you with a secure, private method of communication. With data collection increasing in scope, unsecured communications leave your personal data vulnerable.
Email is a valuable and widely-adopted method of communication. Encrypted email allows you to continue to use email to share private information and to keep that information private.
How and Where Can You Get Free Encrypted Email Addresses?
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There are many choices for encrypted email addresses that you can register for online. When selecting a provider, consider security first. Find out as much as you can about what personal information the provider will need, how the provider will secure your data and emails, and the reputation of the provider.
Encrypted email address providers offer different features and benefits, and each encrypted email address provider has drawbacks. Which one is right for you will depend on your privacy needs, which features you are looking for in an email provider, and whether you are willing to pay for an encrypted email address.
ProtonMail provides free encrypted email addresses, with the option to pay for premium features. ProtonMail uses end-to-end encryption, a process that means that even the company does not have the ability to decode and read your emails. Keeping your data secure is about more than just encryption, so ProtonMail uses high-strength 4096-bit SSL certificates.
The ProtonMail servers are located in Switzerland, which means that all of the user data on them is protected by Swiss privacy laws. These servers are secured in an underground bunker and are owned and managed by ProtonMail. ProtonMail does not collect personal information to create your account and does not keep any IP logs.
ProtonMail does not require the installation of software and can be accessed from any device. Though it isn’t necessary, there is a free mobile app available.
Free ProtonMail accounts support a single user and one email address, offer 500 MB of storage, 150 messages per day, three folders/labels, and limited customer support. The highest tier of paid service supports six users and up to fifty email addresses, offers two GB of storage, unlimited messages per day, unlimited folders/labels, and priority customer support. There is also a professional tier, with features and pricing that scales in relation to the number of users.
Because ProtonMail does not have access to your password, your account access cannot be restored by resetting your password in the event that you lose or forget it.
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Disroot provides free encrypted email addresses with GPG encryption. The service is available either in a web-based form or through the use of a desktop client. Communication with the mail server is protected with SSL. Additionally, if the recipient’s email server allows, outgoing messages are encrypted with TSL for additional protection.
Disroot ‘s mailbox size limit is two GB. The size limit for attachments is ten MB. Disroot can be configured for use with POP, IMAP, and SMTP email protocols. Email aliases and domain linking are available to paid supporters of the service.
Should you choose to use the web-based version of Disroot, you’ll be able to choose between themes, use folders and filters, display conversations in threaded mode, and choose between multiple languages. The web-based interface offers an integrated GPG encryption option, but be mindful that this option is less secure than local encryption.
Tutanota offers free encrypted email addresses with end-to-end encryption. Tutanota can be used anywhere from any device, but you have the option to download the mobile app for Android and iOS.
Tutanota’s servers are located in Germany and protected by German privacy laws. Tutanota does not collect personal information to create your account and does not keep any IP logs.
When sending a message to another Tutanota email address, the recipient needs only to log in and check their messages. When sending a message to an email address that is not provided by Tutanota, you and the recipient will need to exchange a password which they will use to access the email on Tutanota. When they receive a message from you, they will receive a link. After they click on the link, they will access the email from you using their password. Passwords are assigned once for each contact.
Because Tutanota does not have access to your password, your account access cannot be restored by resetting your password in the event that you lose or forget it.
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Countermail provides a number of options for a paid subscription to an encrypted email address. This provider safeguards against man-in-the-middle attacks. Countermail offers end-to-end encryption and offers the option to further secure your email by requiring the use of a USB key to access your account.
Countermail’s servers are located in Sweden. Their servers are diskless drives that start from a CD-ROM. This prevents the servers from storing any IP addresses on a hard drive. Countermail does not collect personal information to create your account and does not keep any IP logs.
Countermail can be accessed through its web interface and can be used with Android devices. Keep in mind that if you have chosen to use the USB key security option, you’ll be limited to using devices that can access the USB key.
The amount of inbox storage varies based on the length of the subscription plan. Should you need it, additional storage can be purchased for a one-time fee. Because of the high demand of Countermail’s security processes on CPU and hard drive resources, additional storage may be more expensive through Countermail than with competitors. There is an additional charge for optional features, like the USB key secured account.
Kolab Now is a subscription-based encrypted email address service. The service can be accessed on your desktop, through the web-based interface, or on a mobile device. Kolab Now was designed with security as a priority from the beginning and is an excellent solution for teams who need to share privileged information, such as doctors, lawyers, and journalists.
Kolab Now is based in Switzerland. Their terms of service agreement was reviewed by Terms of Service; Didn’t Read and given the highest possible rating.
The email service includes folders, customizable filters, tagging, a search function, and sharing options for email addresses sharing a domain name. Kolab Now offers more than just email service; it also features a calendar, scheduling support, a notes function, the ability to save and share contacts, and a tasks function. This service is great for collaboration or for replacing a full-featured service like Gmail.
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What encrypted email address is best for you will vary based on your needs. When choosing from potential providers, consider whether you are willing to pay for a secure email address and what features are most important to you. Though free encrypted email addresses are available, if you want security, storage, and features your best option is likely to be one of the paid subscription services.
If you’re seeking a free encrypted email address that is easy to use, and you don’t have a high volume of daily emails, ProtonMail’s free option is a great choice. It’s easy to use, has a great reputation, and is protected by Swiss privacy laws. If the limited storage or number of folders ever becomes problematic, you can add a modestly priced subscription at any time.
If you’re willing to pay for an encrypted email address, Countermail provides a secure option with flexible pricing based on subscription length and the features you choose. With Countermail, you have protection from man-in-the-middle attacks and unique security options like a USB key.
If you are an individual who needs a lot of features and security, Kolab Now offers tools to manage your schedule and keep on top of tasks. This service was designed to deliver a number of features beyond email without sacrificing security. If you’ve been using a service with integrated features like Gmail, Kolab Now is an excellent choice for a replacement. If you are searching for an option for both encrypted email and team collaboration, Kolab Now is the standout choice on this list. Particularly for teams who handle privileged information or have concerns about corporate espionage, having a secure way to share information and manage workflow is critical. Kolab Now facilitates scheduling, contact sharing, assigning responsibility for tasks, and progress tracking.