How to Encrypt Email: Best Email Encryption Tools
Privacy issues off late have raised some eyebrows. While most of us don’t take privacy seriously, we should, considering there’s constant news of password leaks, hacks and what with various security agencies taking a look at all our conversations. We already listed down the messaging apps you can use for private conversations & chats but what about emails? Well, don’t worry, as we are here to let you know.
There are a number of ways to encrypt emails. Some email services support it natively, while some don’t. There’s also this case of desktop clients supporting email encryption while their web versions don’t. So, to save you of all the fuss, we are listing down ways to encrypt emails on your favourite email services like Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo Mail and Apple Mail.
There’s also a way to send encrypted emails through any email service, so you can use that in case your email service doesn’t support it. Lastly, we are also listing down independent email clients that are aimed at encryption of your mails. So, check out the ways and it’s up to you to decide which method you want to use.
How to encrypt emails in Gmail
Gmail does not support encryption natively but you can get the feature through a third party extension on Chrome, Firefox or Safari browser. There are a few Firefox & Chrome extensions that bring encryption to Gmail but in our testing, we found these two to be the best: Mailvelope (available on both Chrome and Firefox) and SecureMail.
Mailvelope is the more advanced of the two, as it brings end to end encryption and works with a number of email providers including Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo Mail and GMX. SecureMail on the other hand brings basic encryption features and only supports Gmail. Using Mailvelope & SecureMail is pretty simple, once you install one of the extensions and set up your security key, it integrates with your email client and you can send encrypted emails with ease. Overall, these extensions work as they are supposed to and they indeed make your mails more secure.
Note: The recipient of your encrypted email through Mailvelope or SecureMail needs to have the Mailvelope or SecureMail web extension installed to view your email.
If you are using Safari, you can use extensions like Pandor and Criptext Mail that integrate with Gmail’s interface to let you send encrypted emails with ease. Other than that, you can add your Gmail account in encryption supported desktop clients like OS X’s Mail app and Microsoft Outlook to send encrypted emails.
How to encrypt emails in Outlook Mail
While Microsoft Outlook desktop client does support native email encryption, Outlook Mail on the web doesn’t and you will have to use the above mentioned Chrome & Firefox extension Mailvelope, which works with Outlook Mail as well. The Mailvelope extension integrates with the Outlook Mail’s compose window to let you send encrypted emails with ease.
How to encrypt emails in Yahoo Mail
Yahoo announced in early 2015 that it will be unveiling its own plug-in for Yahoo Mail that will bring end-to-end encryption but we are yet to see that promise come to fruition. Like Gmail, there’s no native way and you have to depend on third party apps and extensions. Thankfully, the above mentioned Chrome & Firefox extension Mailvelope supports Yahoo Mail as well. The web add-on integrates with Yahoo Mail to easily compose encrypted emails. As with Gmail, there’s one more way, that’s adding your account to a Apple’s Mail app or Microsoft Outlook, which support email encryption.
Note: Mailvelope on Chrome & Firefox supports Gmail, Outlook Mail, Yahoo Mail, GMX, Posteo and Web.de.
Desktop Email Clients
How to encrypt emails in Microsoft Outlook
Microsoft’s Outlook email client supports email encryption natively, which is a great plus for its users. The email encryption works can be set up on the Office Outlook desktop client. Here’s how you can do it:
- Open the Microsoft Outlook desktop client, which should be under the Microsoft Office folder in the Start Menu.
- Click on the “New” email button.
- Click on the “more options” expand button in the lower corner of “Options” tab.
- The “Message Options” dialogue box will open up, which has a button for “Security Settings” on its right.
- Go to security settings and tick “Encrypt message contents and attachments“.
- If you haven’t sent an encrypted email before, you can click “Change Settings” in the “Security Settings” dialogue box.
- In the settings, you can change the cryptography format, signing certificate and more.
Note: Microsoft Outlook desktop software supports third party (Gmail, Yahoo mail etc..) email accounts, so basically you can login with any email account on Microsoft Outlook and get the ability to send & receive encrypted emails.
Along with the native method, Microsoft Outlook desktop client supports a number of plugins like CipherPost, Sendinc etc.. for advanced email encryption.
How to encrypt emails in Apple Mail
The Apple Mail application on OS X and iOS does allow users to encrypt emails natively. It’s a very simple process and here are the steps:
- Open the Mail app and click the “Mail” tab on the top.
- In the Preferences dialogue box, click on the “GPG Mail” tab.
- In the “Composting” option, simply tick the boxes for “Encrypt new messages by default” and “Encrypt drafts“.
- Once you’re done, you’ll see a lock-unlock button on the right end of “Subject” in the Compose window.
- You can lock it to encrypt the mail or unlock it to not use any encryption.
Note: The same steps can be used in the Mail app of iOS devices to encrypt emails. Apple Mail app on OS X and iOS supports third party email accounts, so you can add your Gmail or Yahoo Mail or Outlook account while using Apple’s encryptions features.
Send encrypted messages from any email service
There’s no extension on Safari browser that supports email encryption for Outlook Mail and Yahoo Mail. Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge users also don’t have the benefit of extensions that bring email encryption support. This is when independent third party text encryption services come into play. With these message encryption services, you can send encrypted emails from any email service and client.
There are various tools online that let you encrypt your text messages with ease. Inforencrypt is a simple text message encrypter, which is easy to use and gets the work done. You just need to enter the text you want to encrypt and set a password for it. You can then copy the encrypted message and paste it in the compose box of whichever email client you use. The recipient will be able to decrypt the email on Infoencrypt’s website by just pasting the code and entering the password. You can also try some other text encryption online services like Encrypt Easy. If you want a simple way to encrypt your text messages, this is your best bet.
Secure Web Email Clients
The aforementioned ways do bring email encryption but what if you are looking for something more advanced for your business or work. There are several advanced email encryption services that are available as a web client, apps and more. These bring the best of the encryption technologies & features to make sure all your emails & conversations are secure. Moreover, you can use these services independently. We tested most of the web email clients and here are the best ones we found:
Tutanota is a great user friendly email encryption client, which works because of its beautiful interface along with the encryption features. All the mail details like attachments & subject are end-to-end encrypted with Tutanota along with the message of course. Tutanota is open-source and its source code is available on Github. Its code has been verified by security experts, so there’s no risk involved. Similar to other email encryption clients on this list, Tutanota is easy to use and you can send encrypted emails with ease. You can choose a password for every individual email you send.
Tutanota is available as a web client as well as an Android & iOS app. It is also available as a plugin for the Microsoft Outlook desktop client. Tutanota is available in a free version, which features 1 GB of storage, single user and Tutanota domains only. The paid version brings more storage (1 GB/user), support for more users and support for own domains. You can also choose to add more storage, which starts at $2.17. The best thing about Tutanota is its user friendly interface, which you’ll fall in love with. Moreover, the service is very easy to use once you have set things up. We surely recommend the service.
Availability: Android, iOS (App), Web Client.
Pricing: Paid plan starts at $1.30/month.
CipherPost from AppRiver is a popular email encryption offering, which also brings a host of other services. Along with email encryption, AppRiver also offers virus & web protection, secure hosted exchange, email compliance, migration services and more. All the connections made with CipherPost are HTTPS secured and it also makes sure to help ensure regulatory compliances like HIPAA. The email encryption lets you use your own email id or get a CipherPost email alias. It also lets you send large encrypted attachments (up to 20 GB) with ease, so if that’s important to you, CipherPost should be your choice.
Like other services on the list, the email encryption in CipherPost is simple to use. You can set a password for each individual email you send and the recipients will have to enter that password to read the emails. Unlike other services, you can set a universal password for all the emails you sent, which makes it easier than creating new passwords for each email. The company offers a free trial for 30-days but you will need to call them or enter a form to be eligible for the free trial. CipherPost is available as a web client, browser plug-ins, Outlook plug-in, Windows & OS X desktop clients and an app for all major platforms including Android, iOS, Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10.
Availability: Windows, OS X (Desktop clients); Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry 10 (Apps); Web clients.
Pricing: Paid plans start at $10/month.
Hushmail is a popular email encryption service that has been here since a long time but still packs a punch. The popular email client packs in end-to-end encryption using industry standard algorithms such as OpenPGP standard. The service also protects all the traffic on its server with HTTPS. In our usage, we found the web client of the service to be pretty easy to use. You just need to create a Hushmail account and once you’re done, you can easily send encrypted emails to anyone you want. While sending an email with Hushmail, you will have to tick the Encrypt box and select a secret question with an answer, which your recipient will also have to answer to open the mail.
Hushmail is available as a free service with no third party ads for as long as you like but you will have to make do with only 25 MB of storage. The paid subscription plans (individuals and business) bring more storage, web and POP/IMAP access, unlimited email accounts and dedicated technical support. While there are no Android or iOS apps, Email clients on both OSes come with support for third party email accounts like Hushmail. Overall, Hushmail is a great email encryption service but its user interface could do even better with some facelift.
Availability: Web Client.
Pricing: Paid plans start at $5.24.
Proton Mail is a much loved email encryption client and it brings some very cool unique features. The service really takes its security features seriously, as there’s a password for not only the account you make but also to encrypt all of your data and a password for each encrypted email you send. The emails you send through Proton Mail are end-to-end encrypted and the company also claims that no user data or any encrypted emails can be accessed by them. The web client of the service is easy to use and you can easily send encrypted emails to any other Proton Mail user, while people on the usual email accounts (Gmail, Outlook etc..) will get a link, where they can enter the password and access the encrypted mail. All the connections in Proton Mail are SSL secured and there’s also the ability to set a timer on mails to self-destruct.
The service supports standards such as OpenPGP, AES and RSA and moreover, its cryptographic libraries are open-source, making it a more transparent solution. Proton Mail is available as a web client and its beta Android and iOS apps recently went live. While the service is free, you can donate some amount to support the service. The service currently uses an invite-only system due to high demand, so it might take some time before you could use Proton Mail.
Availability: Android, iOS (Apps), Web client.
Pricing: Free with option to donate.
SCRYPTmail might be new but it has gained some traction among users, thanks to its transparent and open email encryption services. It brings end-to-end encryption, so even the company can’t decrypt your emails. The service brings HTTPS secure connection and encrypts all email data including recipient, attachments, subject and metadata. It is based on the OpenPGP email encryption standard and it also lets you manage your PGP keys or generate new keys.
SCRYPTmail works in the same way, with a pin or password you can set to lock the encrypted email. It’s easy to use and the clean interface makes sure you don’t take too long getting used to it. While the service is available to use for free, it plans on launching a paid service with premium features soon. Since the service is pretty new, there’s only a web client available as of now but the company is taking votes for the next feature.
Availability: Web client.
Pricing: Free as of now.
SEE ALSO: How To Send Anonymous Emails
Try these Email Encryption Solutions
We need privacy for our online conversations and more so when it comes to emails, as there are times when emails contain sensitive company data or personal confidential information like bank account details etc.. So, there is definitely a need for email encryption tools and services. These are the best ways and tools to encrypt your emails on different platforms. So, check them out and don’t forget to let us know how you like them.
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