ProtonMail: free encrypted email account

I’m very annoyed to know that my mail provider is able to read every my email, from the most foolish to the most personal and private one.

What I write is mine and it has been written to be read just from the recipient not from every sneak in this world.

So, probably, you could ask me: “And which type of mail provider do you suggest? Every provider gets profit from advertising which pay a lot of money to get users’ daily life informations!”

Well, there is a solution: ProtonMail.

protonmail

I was watching some videos in this amazing web site www.ted.com, while I found the one talking about the lack of confidentiality by communicating through emails

Andy Yen: Think your email’s private? Think again

I know, my email is not private, but I think it should be. So, watch the video and let me know what do you think about. Before of the ending of I had already signed up for my account!

We should support open-source codes and sharing of knowledge…not sharing of our strictly confidential informations!

Thanks to every scientist and engineer who has worked to design e realize and works to maintain this amazing project called ProtonMail.

About Francesco Serafin

I am a PhD student at the Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Trento. My two greatest loves: Computer Science and Water (take three with my Lenovo!:D). As a result, the aim of my life is to make both passions coexist. My gpg public key available at https://pgp.mit.edu

6 thoughts on “ProtonMail: free encrypted email account

  1. Hi!

    I’m sorry, I haven’t watched the video, just visited their homepage and looked at ProtonMail a little. But in essence, very strong, well-configurable public/private key cryptography already exists in the form of GnuPG, with nice extensions like Enigmail for Mozilla Thunderbird/Seamonkey and others.

    As a matter of fact, ProtonMail seems to be using GPG already (and they’re grabbing an encrypted version of the users private key too), so maybe it’d be a good idea to talk about GPG in general, not only ProtonMail specifically. 🙂

    When configuring this stuff by yourself (and it’s not hard with Enigmail), you are more free to use any client and mail server you like, and you can choose the desired level of security and key handling by yourself instead of giving such control to a third party. 🙂

    Only downside: There is no web browser integration, or at least it’s not easily done.

    • Hi Michael! Thanks to have been here :).

      I appreciate very much your comment.

      Honestly, the problem is that my knowledge about GnuPG is extremely limited and I’m studying hard to fill this defect because I think it’s a very interesting topic!

      I found very interesting the so-called “end-to-end encryption” used by Protonmail and this is the main reason which pushed me to write this nontechnical post. I don’t know how Enigmail works, but I’m going to sea
      rch more info about it.

      I was starting to write a new more detailed post, trying to explain what I’m learning about PGP keys. I hope to be able to write a better articulated post, maybe comparing the basic operating way of Enigmail and
      Protonmail.

      You are totally right when you say “you are more free to use any client and mail server you like”: just using the browser to read and write email is definitely uncomfortable!

      What can I say: thanks for your suggestion!

      Hope to see you soon Michael!

      GWH!

      • Hello,

        GnuPG (or PGP in general) is end-to-end too. The technology is basically the same that Protonmail also uses, maybe in a more accessible way.

        I also see a lot of people trusting what I call “connection-oriented encryption” like HTTPS, IMAPS, SMTPS and so on. Most people don’t realize that it’s mostly worthless if one endpoint of the connection can’t be trusted. Like gmail.com for istance cough.

        In essence, GPG a public/private key encryption, and it’s what I call “data-oriented”. I think “end-to-end encryption” is the more proper English term though.

        You encrypt a message with another persons public key, and only that one person is able to decrypt it, using his own private key. So everybody can encrypt messages for you, but only you can decrypt them, and all the men in the middle get nothing but noise. The public keys are sometimes distributed via keyservers (support is built-in in Enigmail) or just via your own web site.

        There are even “key signing parties”, where people would meet up in real life, ID themselves to each other via passport, drivers license, whatever, and then exchange and sign each others keys. If you cryptographically sign and re-distribute another persons public key, you’re basically saying “I trust this person and that this key really belongs to him/her”. The more signatures a key has, the more trustworthy it would appear. That’s what’s called the PGP “web of trust”. All built-in in Enigmail.

        A shame that I wrote a nice guide on how to setup Enigmail with Seamonkey (Thunderbird is similar) for my boss at work, with screenshots and all, but I did it in German. 🙁 But I guess there should be a wealth of information available on the web.

        HAH, just now I saw that Skype @ Linux article of yours! I found that recently when a guy I know had exactly that problem on what I think was ArchLinux, and I was trying to help. Nice one!

        Keep up the awesome work! 🙂

        • Hello Michael,

          this is a fantastic lesson on PGP key! 🙂

          As I told you before, I’m totally new about these stuff, so I can’t do nothing more than say thanks! 🙂 …I’m always ready to learn something new!

          Shame about the guide…it would have been definitely useful! If you will decide to translate it into English let me know, I surely have many things to learn from you!

          Anyway, I promise I will find out something in the next days in order to improve my knowledge and post a summarize of my research in this blog.

          I’m happy to know that a post of ours has been useful!

          I know that I have many many things to learn and people like you encourage me to study more!

          Micheal…thanks again, keep in touch and Grow Working Hard!

      • Translating the guide is pretty trivial I think, but there is a ton of screenshots (all in German). I think I’ll create a simpler, more “rough around the edges” one with less screenshots and less detail. One that can just get you going without explaining every tiny little bit.

        The one I wrote for my Boss had to be really detailed and step-by-step, because he usually has very little time, and I had to get everything 100% right within a very short time on his machine (So I did it with him together).

        I’ll let you know when I’m done! 🙂

      • Ok, let’s hope that I can use some default WP HTML tags here, otherwise this is going to be ugly. Here we go:

        [Enigmail setup with Thunderbird] (Open Document Text version for Libreoffice etc.)
        [Enigmail setup with Thunderbird] (PDF version)

        It ain’t perfect and it may contain errors and it may have issues, but hopefully it can be of at least some help.

        If you wish to copy and re-share the documents, please do respect the [CC BY-NC-SA 4.0] license I released them under. Giving my name or nickname with the wp link from the docs is sufficient. 🙂

        I hope the guide is not TOO messed up…

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