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ProtonMail Secure Email Account

Zwitterion 454 485 March 26, 2016 at 08:37 PM in Services (4)
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Promoted 03-27-2016 by Discombobulated at 11:50 PM View Original Post
ProtonMail.com offers their ProtonMail Secure Email Account for Free. Thanks Zwitterion

Additionally, the ProtonMail Android App and ProtonMail iOS App are also available. Basic ProtonMail accounts are free, but upgraded accounts are available.

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Written by Discombobulated

ProtonMail is incorporated in and has their servers located in Switzerland. No personal information is required to create an account and all emails are secured automatically with end-to-end encryption. -Corwin

ProtonMail is the world's largest secure email service, developed by CERN and MIT scientist. They are open source and protected by Swiss privacy law - Discombobulated

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Edited March 27, 2016 at 06:14 AM by annie930ny
Not sure how well received this will be here, but one of the most celebrated efforts at creating a useable PGP-based e-mail system - and one backed by significant venture capital money and even featured on Mr. Robot [securityaffairs.co] - has opened up for sign-ups. ProtonMail was previously in beta and had a significant waitlist but when I recently went to check for family member I had signed up, I had found that they recently opened up for public sign-up.

https://protonmail.com
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Last Edited by thegreatfixer March 28, 2016 at 12:53 PM
this site gives 500mb of free space
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Quote from Zwitterion View Post :
Sorry! Your current e-mail offers no protection against being read if a nefarious party (or the government) were to be given access to it. PGP is an encryption protocol that allows for encypted communications between people through the use of public and private keys, and has been around for ages - the problem is that it is cumbersome to implement this, and as a result, PGP has never caught on (though it is used by many, many security-minded people).

ProtonMail was started by some uber-smart MIT, Stanford and Caltech guys working in Switzerland as a response to the NSA revelations as a way of providing a user-friendly way of using PGP encryption for e-mail. Protonmail operates just like Gmail or Yahoo, but e-mails between and among Protonmail users are what is called "end-to-end" encrypted, meaning that noone apart from you and your intended recipient can read the contents of your e-mail. Even if ProtonMail was forced to hand over your e-mails, they themselves would be unable to read or decrypt the e-mails. Protonmail also provides a nifty mechanism for sending encrypted e-mails to folks that don't use Protonmail (and, for me, is where its use really comes in handy as there is no need to "convert" all your friends and family to benefit to ProtonMail to benefit from the privacy).

I've seen several attempts to try and make PGP work for the masses, and I believe that ProtonMail is the first time that it has been done in a way that can conceivably catch on.
Also, to help explain what PGP is, it's a public-private key encryption method, where someone wants to send a message exclusively to your identity, and in order to it they first lookup your PGP public key in a database, usually on a website like MIT or some other public/private communities. Then they have to use a applet or tool to encrypt an email message and simultaneously sign it with their private key while signing it for submission to your public key. A key signed to your public key can only be unencrypted by someone with the private key, ideally only you. Then you need to receive the message and decrypt it using your private key to read the message, and then you can sign a reply to whoever sent it to you using their public key, etc.

Ideally only encrypted information passes through public email servers, even more ideally your web server sends that information over encrypted TLS connections, but even then your email provider has access to your emails as stored on their mail servers. I think ProtonMail sells itself as an open source (meaning it's very public how they do their encryption and a security expert can review the code for vulnerabilities) and it gives you two accounts -- one for an email account and one for a separate PGP key to your mailbox. Then you can automatically send and receive encrypted PGP emails without all that extra legwork, plus from a cloud-accessible, mobile-friendly website.

List of other encrypted mail services to compare with: https://www.privacytools.io/#email
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Hushmail, though it has been around a long time, from what I understand, complied with government requests to hand over e-mails, essentially caving to pressure. There are several more recent ones that have arisen in response to recent Snowden revelations about government surveillance and other threats, but the only one I've found transparent and visible enough for me has been ProtonMail and, perhaps, Tutanota.com. ProtonMail I've read has turned away significant venture capital because they do not want to end up in the position of having to compromise customer trust and, as you'll see, are actively seeking donation and instituting several paid levels. They are also incorporated in Switzerland, which provides some layer of protection from overreach, but how much is something none of us know. Ideally, I hope that ProtonMail will allow us to upload our own, custom-generated PGP keys which will take even more trust on their propriety out of the equation.

At the end of the day, you really can't trust anyone but yourself, but when I see the effort to opensource code and avoid establishment money, I feel there is a greater chance at privacy, at least much more so than operating with plaintext GMail!
Sorry! Your current e-mail offers no protection against being read if a nefarious party (or the government) were to be given access to it. PGP is an encryption protocol that allows for encypted communications between people through the use of public and private keys, and has been around for ages - the problem is that it is cumbersome to implement this, and as a result, PGP has never caught on (though it is used by many, many security-minded people).

ProtonMail was started by some uber-smart MIT, Stanford and Caltech guys working in Switzerland as a response to the NSA revelations as a way of providing a user-friendly way of using PGP encryption for e-mail. Protonmail operates just like Gmail or Yahoo, but e-mails between and among Protonmail users are what is called "end-to-end" encrypted, meaning that noone apart from you and your intended recipient can read the contents of your e-mail. Even if ProtonMail was forced to hand over your e-mails, they themselves would be unable to read or decrypt the e-mails. Protonmail also provides a nifty mechanism for sending encrypted e-mails to folks that don't use Protonmail (and, for me, is where its use really comes in handy as there is no need to "convert" all your friends and family to become ProtonMail users to benefit from the privacy).

I've seen several attempts to try and make PGP work for the masses, and I believe that ProtonMail is the first time that it has been done in a way that can conceivably catch on. Especially because they released mobile apps.
Thanks OP. Signed up. Just so you know, GMail sends emails received from ProtonMail to Spam.
trdr01 9

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#4
Uhmmm...ELI5 please?
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#5
Quote from x2ruff4u View Post :
Uhmmm...ELI5 please?
Sorry! Your current e-mail offers no protection against being read if a nefarious party (or the government) were to be given access to it. PGP is an encryption protocol that allows for encypted communications between people through the use of public and private keys, and has been around for ages - the problem is that it is cumbersome to implement this, and as a result, PGP has never caught on (though it is used by many, many security-minded people).

ProtonMail was started by some uber-smart MIT, Stanford and Caltech guys working in Switzerland as a response to the NSA revelations as a way of providing a user-friendly way of using PGP encryption for e-mail. Protonmail operates just like Gmail or Yahoo, but e-mails between and among Protonmail users are what is called "end-to-end" encrypted, meaning that noone apart from you and your intended recipient can read the contents of your e-mail. Even if ProtonMail was forced to hand over your e-mails, they themselves would be unable to read or decrypt the e-mails. Protonmail also provides a nifty mechanism for sending encrypted e-mails to folks that don't use Protonmail (and, for me, is where its use really comes in handy as there is no need to "convert" all your friends and family to become ProtonMail users to benefit from the privacy).

I've seen several attempts to try and make PGP work for the masses, and I believe that ProtonMail is the first time that it has been done in a way that can conceivably catch on. Especially because they released mobile apps.
Reply Helpful Comment? 16 0
Last edited by Zwitterion March 26, 2016 at 09:28 PM
#6
thanks. apparently mr.robot username taken
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#7
Quote from Zwitterion View Post :
Sorry! Your current e-mail offers no protection against being read if a nefarious party (or the government) were to be given access to it. PGP is an encryption protocol that allows for encypted communications between people through the use of public and private keys, and has been around for ages - the problem is that it is cumbersome to implement this, and as a result, PGP has never caught on (though it is used by many, many security-minded people).

ProtonMail was started by some uber-smart MIT, Stanford and Caltech guys working in Switzerland as a response to the NSA revelations as a way of providing a user-friendly way of using PGP encryption for e-mail. Protonmail operates just like Gmail or Yahoo, but e-mails between and among Protonmail users are what is called "end-to-end" encrypted, meaning that noone apart from you and your intended recipient can read the contents of your e-mail. Even if ProtonMail was forced to hand over your e-mails, they themselves would be unable to read or decrypt the e-mails. Protonmail also provides a nifty mechanism for sending encrypted e-mails to folks that don't use Protonmail (and, for me, is where its use really comes in handy as there is no need to "convert" all your friends and family to benefit to ProtonMail to benefit from the privacy).

I've seen several attempts to try and make PGP work for the masses, and I believe that ProtonMail is the first time that it has been done in a way that can conceivably catch on.
Also, to help explain what PGP is, it's a public-private key encryption method, where someone wants to send a message exclusively to your identity, and in order to it they first lookup your PGP public key in a database, usually on a website like MIT or some other public/private communities. Then they have to use a applet or tool to encrypt an email message and simultaneously sign it with their private key while signing it for submission to your public key. A key signed to your public key can only be unencrypted by someone with the private key, ideally only you. Then you need to receive the message and decrypt it using your private key to read the message, and then you can sign a reply to whoever sent it to you using their public key, etc.

Ideally only encrypted information passes through public email servers, even more ideally your web server sends that information over encrypted TLS connections, but even then your email provider has access to your emails as stored on their mail servers. I think ProtonMail sells itself as an open source (meaning it's very public how they do their encryption and a security expert can review the code for vulnerabilities) and it gives you two accounts -- one for an email account and one for a separate PGP key to your mailbox. Then you can automatically send and receive encrypted PGP emails without all that extra legwork, plus from a cloud-accessible, mobile-friendly website.
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#8
Apparently it is suffering the Slickdeal effect at this time.
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#9
Quote from jsherm101 View Post :
Also, to help explain what PGP is, it's a public-private key encryption method, where someone wants to send a message exclusively to your identity, and in order to it they first lookup your PGP public key in a database, usually on a website like MIT or some other public/private communities. Then they have to use a applet or tool to encrypt an email message and simultaneously sign it with their private key while signing it for submission to your public key. A key signed to your public key can only be unencrypted by someone with the private key, ideally only you. Then you need to receive the message and decrypt it using your private key to read the message, and then you can sign a reply to whoever sent it to you using their public key, etc.

Ideally only encrypted information passes through public email servers, even more ideally your web server sends that information over encrypted TLS connections, but even then your email provider has access to your emails as stored on their mail servers. I think ProtonMail sells itself as an open source (meaning it's very public how they do their encryption and a security expert can review the code for vulnerabilities) and it gives you two accounts -- one for an email account and one for a separate PGP key to your mailbox. Then you can automatically send and receive encrypted PGP emails without all that extra legwork, plus from a cloud-accessible, mobile-friendly website.
You are correct, but I tried to ELI5 it as best as I could. ProtonMail makes all of the above complexity invisible, which is why I think it may hit critical mass.

An important point to note here about the two passwords. The first one is a regular account password just like what you use with GMail or Yahoo, and can be recovered in much the same way, if you forget, via e-mail recovery (should you provide a backup e-mail). However, the second password is the password to your encryped mailbox which CANNOT be recovered if you forget it. Though ProtonMail does a good job of managing the public and private keys discussed above so you don't have to really even understand assymetric encryption, it still operates within the bounds of PGP encyption, that is, only YOU can ever know your PGP (mailbox) password. If you forget it, your account isn't ruined for good - but the existing mailbox within your account (and all that is within it) is deleted and a new one created, since nothing inside the existing one can ever be decrypted without the now forgotten password..
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Last edited by Zwitterion March 26, 2016 at 09:24 PM
#10
Thanks OP. Signed up. Just so you know, GMail sends emails received from ProtonMail to Spam.
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#11
Quote from trdr01 View Post :
Thanks OP. Signed up. Just so you know, GMail sends emails received from ProtonMail to Spam.
Thanks for the heads up! I have GMail set up as the recovery e-mail for ProtonMail. I sent my tax stub information back and forth to my wife and every time I received a new e-mail in ProtonMail, I was alerted by an e-mail to Gmail. I didn't have to "whitelist" ProtonMail.com e-mails, but I'll make sure to do so.
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#12
I had never looked up the use for encrypted email before. Doing a google search reveals a plethora of free encrypted email providers including Hushmail, Ghostmail, Lockbin, SendInc etc. Can somebody recommend services they have used beforethat have worked well. Thanks.
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Quote from trdr01 View Post :
I had never looked up the use for encrypted email before. Doing a google search reveals a plethora of free encrypted email providers including Hushmail, Ghostmail, Lockbin, SendInc etc. Can somebody recommend services they have used beforethat have worked well. Thanks.
Hushmail, though it has been around a long time, from what I understand, complied with government requests to hand over e-mails, essentially caving to pressure. There are several more recent ones that have arisen in response to recent Snowden revelations about government surveillance and other threats, but the only one I've found transparent and visible enough for me has been ProtonMail and, perhaps, Tutanota.com. ProtonMail I've read has turned away significant venture capital because they do not want to end up in the position of having to compromise customer trust and, as you'll see, are actively seeking donation and instituting several paid levels. They are also incorporated in Switzerland, which provides some layer of protection from overreach, but how much is something none of us know. Ideally, I hope that ProtonMail will allow us to upload our own, custom-generated PGP keys which will take even more trust on their propriety out of the equation.

At the end of the day, you really can't trust anyone but yourself, but when I see the effort to opensource code and avoid establishment money, I feel there is a greater chance at privacy, at least much more so than operating with plaintext GMail!
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#14
Interesting, adding to my email collection Smilie
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Last edited by look30 March 26, 2016 at 09:48 PM
#15
wtf, how is ionizer already taken?
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