I’m an old nerd, semi-professional programmer, boardgame player, metalhead and beer drinker with a distinguished taste. This is my blog, where I write (mostly) about issues between technology, society and culture.
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Email and chat
- XMPP: email@example.com (this is not an email address, it’s an XMPP jid). firstname.lastname@example.org may also work. Don’t know what XMPP is? Need a free provider?
Why encrypt email?
Email is a very insecure communication medium, it’s even less private than a postcard. Any person and any mail server along the way can read everything you write and can change any message, and you’d never notice. Only encryption guarantees that you can communicate privately using email. Treat unencrypted email like writing on a wall in public, because it’s no more secure or private than that.
In addition, some companies treat your email like a goldmine and read every single word you type in order to create a psychological profile of you that they sell to other companies. An example would be Google with their Gmail service or Facebook. They also keep a record of who you write or chat with, and what you’re saying. Encryption prevents you from getting exploited like this.
If you absolutely have to use an insecure webmail system such as Gmail, Outlook.com, GMX or Yahoo!, please consider installing Mailvelope and encrypting your messages in your browser.
You could also consider moving to a webmail provider that respects your privacy and offers full mailbox encryption. Two examples are:
- Mailbox.org (based in Germany)
- Posteo (based in Germany)
- Tutanota (based in Germany)
- ProtonMail (based in Switzerland)
The advantage of these two is that they also offer mobile applications for Android and iOS so you can easily send secure email even on the go.
If you use a locally installed email client, you can add extensions that allow you to encrypt email:
- Thunderbird: Use Enigmail.
- Claws-Mail: Has encryption built in using the PGP/Mime plugin.
- KMail: Has encryption built in.
- Apple Mail: Use GPGTools.
- Outlook/Outlook Express: Support for privacy and encryption is not good on Windows. This might be a testatement to how little respect for your privacy Microsoft has. The Gpg4win project has managed to add GPG encryption at least to some older 32-bit versions of Outlook, but you might want to try Claws-Mail for Windows instead.
Once you have an email client that can encrypt messages, you just need to import my public key. Please point me at your public key in your first message so I can send an encrypted reply as well.