If you’re wondering how to send a secure email message, you’ve come to the right place. This article explains everything you need to know about email encryption, and we promise that by the end of it, you will know exactly how to send encrypted email messages to protect your personal information.
Standard email messages are not safe, but the good news is that there are many great secure email providers that let you easily send encrypted messages to anyone. One such service is ProtonMail, which was founded by a group of CERN scientists in 2014.
ProtonMail is a free, open source email services that uses client-side encryption to protect email messages and user data before they are sent to ProtonMail servers. There are also other ways how to send secure encrypted email messages, and we explore some of them in this article.
The original email protocol was not conceived with security in mind. Because the communication between email servers was plain text, anyone could easily capture entire email messages and read their content. Over the years, several encryption mechanisms for email messages were designed, some more secure than others. Email encryption is often paired with email authentication to verify that an email comes from who it claims to be from.
Today, many people are asking, “What does encrypted email mean?” because online privacy has become a hugely important topic that concerns most people on this planet. Fortunately, sending encrypted email messages could hardly be easier, and we explore various ways how to send encrypted email messages in the next chapter of this article.
But before we explain how to send a secure email from any device, we should first talk about the two main email encryption methods and briefly go over the differences between: S/MIME and PGP/MIME. If you’re not interested in what goes under the hood when you send encrypted emails, you can skip this subchapter without missing anything essential.
S/MIME stands for Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, and it’s widely accepted email encryption method that’s based on asymmetric cryptography. This method is supported by iOS devices as well as several major email providers, including Gmail and Outlook. S/MIME is often described as a centralized method for sending encrypted email because a centralized authority must choose the encryption algorithm and key size for it to work.
PGP/MIME stands for Pretty Good Privacy/ Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, and the main thing that separates it from S/MIME is its decentralized model, which empowers email users to choose exactly how they want to encrypt their email messages using third-party encryption tools, making flexible and versatile.
There’s always more than one way to skin a cat, and there’s more than one way to how to send a secure email message.
By default, all email messages sent using Gmail are protected by something called TLS, or Transport Layer Security. TLS is a cryptographic protocol designed to provide communications security over a computer network, and it’s widely used on the internet to secure everything from email to web browsing to voice and video calls.
TLS protects email messages from being captured en route from point A to point B, but it doesn’t protect them against Google or anyone else with access to Google’s servers. You can, however, take Gmail’s encryption to the next level with FlowCrypt. This elegant web browser extension integrates seamlessly with Gmail, adding end-to-end encryption that prevents anyone in the middle from reading private communications.
While you’re at it, you should also consider pairing your Gmail account with Clean Email, a powerful bulk email organizer with useful automation features that can keep your inbox organized and spam-free, which is essential if you want to be truly secured.
You can get started with Clean Email for free, and it takes just a couple of minutes to get rid of tonnes of unwanted emails, including newsletters, mailing lists, and other unsolicited messages. Using privacy-conscientious algorithms that analyze only email headers containing subject line, sender and recipient information, dates, email size, and similar metadata, Clean Email organizes all of your emails into easy-to-review bundles, allowing you to apply various actions to entire groups of emails instead of selecting them one by one.
Office 365 Home or Office 365 Personal subscribers can send encrypted email messages in Outlook.com. This is how to send a secure email attachment and message in Outlook:
Windows users can send encrypted email messages using Outlook for Microsoft 365, Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, and Outlook 2007. Here’s how to send a secure email in Outlook 2019:
To learn how to send a secure email in older versions of Outlook, visit this page.
We’ve already recommended ProtonMail as an excellent email service that automatically secures all emails with bullet-proof end-to-end encryption, which makes it impossible for anyone to decrypt and read year emails—even ProtonMail itself.
Apart from ProtonMail, there’s also Tutanota, a German open source, end-to-end encrypted email service with over 2 million users.
Tutanota is supported solely by donations and premium subscriptions, and it uses a hybrid method consisting of a symmetrical and an asymmetrical algorithm for extra security.
Also worth mentioning is MsgSafe.io, which is a privacy-focused email service based in one of the most secure jurisdictions in the world. MsgSafe.io allows its users to create as many email addresses as they need, and it protects each virtual mailbox with 4096-bit GPG and S/MIME encryption keys and certificates.
Email security is an important topic, and all email users should learn how to send a secure email to protect their privacy. In this article, we’ve introduced several ways how to send encrypted email messages, and it’s now up to you to try them out and make it impossible for unauthorized third parties to read your personal correspondence. End-to-end encrypted email services make sending secure email messages especially easy, so there’s no reason to risk having your personal information pwned by a cybercriminal.
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