Easy to use, offers piece of mind
If you use Gmail, you already have built-in encryption as your emails travel across the Google servers. Gmail uses S/MIME to support enhanced encryption and it will also encrypt your outgoing emails when possible. Gmail’s encryption doesn’t protect your email once it reaches its destination, though, and that limitation is a serious one.
If you routinely send and receive sensitive emails through the Gmail system, you may want to look into strengthening your encryption. Luckily, there are a few free plugins available that will help secure each message you send.
Some require you to share a password, while others decrypt at the other end without it. You’ll also have the option of an encryption tool that keeps the email from being stored on any mail servers.
When you install the FlowCrypt plug-in, you’ll get a new green button in the compose box that reads Encrypt and Send. As you’re composing, the software automatically encrypts your message as it saves, so your information will be encrypted before you even send it.
This means even those drafts you save but don’t send will be encrypted. If the person on the other end doesn’t have FlowCrypt though, you’ll have to provide a password and share it with the recipient before they can access the emails.
Lockmagic uses a much more discreet button for encryption, placing it next to the normal Send button. This makes it ideal for those who only need to occasionally encrypt a message.
One of the best things about Lockmagic is that it eliminates the need to add a password and share it with every recipient. You’ll also get a notification every time the message is opened, allowing you to monitor for any suspicious activity.
The standard version of Mailvelope is fairly complicated to set up, as you have to manually install the keys. If you have Gmail though, the plugin has been designed to work without configuration.
Emails are encrypted as they transfer, and you can also encrypt attachments. If you want to add another web-based email provider, you can do so with just a click, as long as the email provider is supported. Currently, Yahoo! Mail, Outlook.com, and GMX are supported, in addition to Gmail.
You’ve probably heard of the self-destructing posts in Snapchat. Snapmail incorporates a similar concept, giving recipients 60 seconds to read the message before it disappears forever. Email is encrypted as it transfers to the other party, with a link provided for the recipient to read the message.
Of course, nothing stops the recipient from screenshot-ting the message to access later, but it offers security in that the message doesn’t live out there on a server indefinitely.
The right encryption tool will give you peace of mind, especially if you have to send sensitive information like account numbers and contact information. Make sure you choose a tool that not only protects your data, but also is easy to use on the recipient’s end.