Some claim encryption is dead, but many SMBs across the world don’t share that opinion. You’ve got plenty of reasons to want to encrypt outgoing emails, and you should be glad to know there are plenty of ways to help you achieve that: for free.
There exists numerous encryption tools, and the ones outlined here are the fairly simple to use, yet will get the job done – in clandestine. You could be using an email client or a web-based email solution; both can let you encrypt your email.
Let’s have a look at what these tools can do for you, shall we?
Mailvelope comes as an extension for Firefox and Chrome and integrates with Yahoo Mail, Gmail, Outbox and GMX seamlessly. Mailvelope allows you to generate the essential keys – stored in your local machine – as well as import keys from other users.
This extension works from within your web-mail client when you get down to composing an email. A small button will appear in the email composition window and this is the one you simply click on to start the encryption. All outgoing mails are unencrypted by default, so you have to select the ‘Encrypt’ option manually for every outgoing email. This is one of the finest tools for email encryption for anyone who uses web mail.
Enigmail is an extension of Thunderbird that works hand in hand with GnuPG to encrypt email. You will first have to install both Thunderbird and GnuPG on your machine before this extension can work. Enigmail works with Thunderbird version 17 through version 27 on both Windows and Linux platforms. It also includes support for in-line PGP, openPGP key retrieval via proxy servers, automatic encrypt/sign, per-identity encryption rules, integrated OpenPGP PhotoID viewer and many more. Enigmail can be used on Windows, Mac, Linux, OS/2 and BSD.
If you are looking to encrypt a one-off email, you will rarely encounter an easier-to-use tool than Infoencrypt. All you have to do is visit the site, input the email you need encrypted, enter a password – and verify – then click Encrypt. The site will do the encryption for you and post the encrypted text so that what’s left for you is to copy and paste into your compose window to be sent.
After the recipient receives the email, they’ll head to the Infoencrypt site, paste the text into the window, input the password you used for encryption, then hit Decrypt and voila! The email will be immediately decrypted for the recipient to read. Infoencrypt may not be the darling of many a security brethren, but it will do just fine for those who require a simple tool to encrypt their emails.
- Mymail Crypt for Gmail
This is a Google-specific extension for Google Chrome that lets you encrypt your Gmail in just a few mouse clicks. You first install Mymail Crypt for Gmail then head over to the Mymail Crypt options (within the Chrome Extensions window) and generate your key, then import the keys from your friends and proceed to launch Gmail.
You will encounter three new buttons from within the Gmail compose pane at the bottom right corner. These are: Encrypt and Sign, Encrypt, Sign. With these buttons at your disposal, Gmail users have all the encrypting powers they need.
Gpg4Win isn’t actually about email encryption, but for those intending to use an encryption plugin for Thunderbird – or some other email client other than Outlook – this is a must-install. This tool can help you encrypt files, in addition to generating keys for you.
Installing Gpg4Win will require you to install both the GPG system and the Kleopatra, a certificate manager by GPG that’s fairly simple to use. From Kleopatra, you will be able to generate your own keys and also import keys from others. If you install Gpg4Win, other tools like Enigmail will not only be possible on Windows, but also very much easier to use.
If what you want is to have a quick and easy tool to encrypt your emails like now, you cannot go wrong with any of the aforementioned tools. They are free, yes, but they’ll also afford you easier ways to get encryption working with Outlook, not to mention that they won’t pester you with the need to buy and install certificates.