Due to growing concerns among end-users about privacy violations, the popularity of encrypted email services is on the rise. Internet giants like Google or Microsoft gather a lot of valuable information about our communication and on top of that they are sometimes put under pressure by national security agencies to release data and content about emails. It’s no secret either that free email accounts make it pretty easy for collegues, supervisors and marketing agencies to spy at your behaviour.
- Read more: Track e-mails after you hit the send button
Although regular email providers will do for the majority of users, there can be a multitude of good reasons why you want additional layers of security. Encrypted email services use end-to-end encryption so that you can be absolutely sure your recipient is the only one who can read your message and that even the email providers themselves are unable to find out what the content of your message is. Other common features encrypted email services have to offer:
- Open source cryptography
- End-to-end encryption through various protocols (e.g.: OpenPGP, 128 bit AES, 2048 bit RSA, …)
- Two-factor authentication
- Transport layer security (SSL/TLS)
- Encryption of senders, receivers, attachments, …
- No tracking of IP addresses, making it impossible to see from which location you log in
- Message validation like Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM)
- Ad-free services
We present 5 encrypted email services that can help you to reclaim the confidentiality of your email communication.
ProtonMail is a Swiss company and all their servers are located there as well. The strict Swiss privacy laws are definitely one of their USPs. All mails are encrypted end-to-end and since they don’t store any personal data – not even when you create an account – they are adamant the entire process is completely anonymous. You can create an account for free. For that you get 500MB of storage and you can sent 150 messages per day. Paid formulas offer more enhanced options. You can access your mails via a web version or with an app, available for Android and iOS.
This German company is located in Hannover and also offers a free version of its encrypted email service, though this is only for private use. For that you get a 1GB storage. Paid formulas offer larger storage, multiple aliases and the use of own domains. Tutanota can also be used in your browser or through apps.
This Belgian company has been around since 1999. A free account is also on offer here: 500MB for emails and another 500MB for documents. Paid plans also offer POPs, IMAPs SMTPs, iOS, Android, Exchange and custom email domains.
Based in Norway, this company also claims to uphold very strict Norwegian privacy policies. Contrary to the services mentioned above, Runbox is not for free but you can get a 30-day free trial. Prices start from $1.66 per month. They do offer a service to transfer all your mail form other services to theirs. They also offer domain and web hosting services.
This Swedish company offers a USB-key option: you have to insert a USB stick with a keyfile before you can access your account. Pricing is more strict here: A one week free trial is possible. Other subscriptions start at $19 for three months.