Author Topic: ProtonMail - Free encrypted email service  (Read 237 times)

Offline Jason Wallwork

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ProtonMail - Free encrypted email service
« on: July 18, 2018, 01:16:23 am »
Members might recall me demoing how to use PGP to send/receive encrypted email with an existing email client. It does involve a bit of work though in getting things working. That's the downside. The upside is that you can use with any email service since PGP is just a layer on top of email.

But there's an easier way and that's using an encrypted email service like ProtonMail which handles all the encryption/decryption within the online client (or app). The downside is that you only get the benefit of encrypted email if you correspond with other ProtonMail users. Thankfully, there is a limited free option so everyone can get one and you could use it just for particularly sensitive emails.

Their free accounts have 500 MB storage and limited to 150 messages per day and limited support. 500 MB might not sound like much but that's a lot of emails. I've had a Gmail account for 12 years and am slightly over 2 GB. I also pretty much keep everything which includes emails with attachments.

The lowest priced paid account is Plus at $4/month and includes 5 GB storage and up to 1000 messages per day. The Security Humble Bundle I purchased recently gave me a $25 credit which I am using towards the Plus service. It's also how I know about ProtonMail. I have no idea if it's the best encrypted email service out there but the bundle only cost $20 CAD total and also gave me a year of 2 TB of SpiderOak One encrypted storage so I already feel like I'm ahead of the game.

The Plus package allows for 5 GB of storage and 1000 messages per day plus other extras like the ability to send encrypted email to recipients outside of ProtonMail (using 1-way encryption). labels and filters, and your own email domain and priority support.

You can sign up for a free account and find out about all their packages  or just find out more about ProtonMail generally. Oh yeah, it's also Open Source-based and its servers are based in Switzerland which has strict privacy laws.

If anybody tries out the free service, shoot me a message through the forums with your email address and I'll send you one back.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2018, 03:16:48 am by Jason Wallwork »
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Offline Jason Wallwork

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Re: ProtonMail - Free encrypted email service
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2018, 03:16:23 am »
I guess nobody else is interested in trying it out.

I know that most people don't want to change email addresses as it can be a big hassle but don't you want your email stored encrypted in a vault that can survive a nuclear attack? I mean, how cool is that?
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Offline fox

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Re: ProtonMail - Free encrypted email service
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2018, 09:24:21 am »
The major downside to me is that the encryption benefit comes only if you communicate with other Protonmail users. You would probably be the only Protonmail user I would communicate with.
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Offline Jason Wallwork

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Re: ProtonMail - Free encrypted email service
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2018, 05:14:10 pm »
Are you saying talking to me isn't enough? :-) It's one of those things where most people get an account until more people have one but how will that happen until more people get an account?

And by getting an account, you're pointing out to people you email that you support encryption. So get one, even if you use it just for me, for now. Maybe if a couple of us get it, others might be interested. I'll buy you a coffee if you do! ;-)
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Offline Jason Wallwork

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Re: ProtonMail - Free encrypted email service
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2018, 06:01:00 am »
Forgot to add that ProtonMail (with a Plus account or better) let you send encrypted messages to non-ProtonMail users. They get a link that requires a password you've both agreed on beforehand to decrypt the message. It's one-directional though - they can't encrypt a response back to you. And because it's symmetric key encryption, it's not as secure (it can be more easily brute-forced than asymmetric key encryption.

You can also choose to send messages that self-destruct after a certain amount of time. Though it's not clear if that's a feature in the free package or not.

And they also don't track or store IP addresses and have no advertising, even on the free account other than a tag in the signature line for the free version saying the message was sent with ProtonMail (which you can still delete each time if you wish).

Found this Lifewire article that has the 5 Best Secure Email Services and ProtonMail is one of them. There are others you might be interested in including Hushmail. While not free, the Hushmail listing claims you can send encrypted email to non-Hushmail users but not sure if it's a symmetric system or not.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2018, 06:05:10 am by Jason Wallwork »
Primary: Desktop Tower with Kubuntu 18.10 on i5-3470 3.2 GHz with 12 GB RAM, 64 GB SSD for OSes, 4 TB RAID-10 array for programs/data

Secondary/Test: Toshiba Satellite Ultrabook Z830-00K w/ Linux Du Jour, (i3-2367M 1.4 GHz, 4GB RAM, 128GB SDD)