You have probably heard about free, private email services and wonder what the hype is all about.
In the overcrowded digital space, privacy is sacred. And free, private email services sure can be very useful.
This is because “regular” emails are about as secure as your snail-mail postcards. Once the email is fired and before it reaches the recipient it changes countless hands. You can’t really know if it has been read or intercepted by various parties – from governments to criminals to anyone who can benefit from snooping around your communication.
That is to say, when it comes to important or sensitive information, you probably shouldn’t using the same system as everyone else.
But how can you gain control over online privacy? There are a number of ways. One way is to use a privacy tool. You can still use email to conduct all your important business or personal communication. Only, you need to be smarter, wiser and more 2019 about your choices.
Private and anonymous email hides both the content of messages and even the metadata. Which is information such as who you are talking to and the location of sender/receiver? So how can you be more secure and safe with your email?
Here are some smart ways in which you can lock down your online communication and keep your personal information private:
#1. Use two-factor authentication (2FA)
Ideally, everyone should use two-factor authentication for any online account that offers it. But this is especially relevant if you are running a business. Make it mandatory for your employees to use 2FA.
When 2FA is enabled, you have to enter a code from a fob or authentication app from your mobile devices, in addition to username and password. While email and SMS codes are fairly common authenticators, hardware authenticators are more secure.
#2. Use secure password
Using strong and unique passwords is almost a no-brainer in this day and age. Enforce password security for all online accounts and devices especially for email. Needless to say, you should use a different password for each account.
The longer the password and the more random, the more secure it is. It is also a good idea to use a password manager to create and store passwords. Here’s how you can create a stronger password.
#3. Encrypted email
Not all email services are created equal. Some are designed for better security and privacy. Make sure your email service provider uses end-to-end encryption. If you are a business, it is more important now to use encrypted service as compliance measures for HIPAA and GDPR.
If you are a journalist, a politician, a doctor with sensitive information, a lawyer with confidential client information, or just worried about your online security, the above measures might not suffice. What you really need is a free, private email service.
What should a private, free email service offer?
#1. Cross-platform security
Your free email should work across all devices and platforms, including email clients and webmail.
#2. Minimum data logs
Logs are held by email providers for various reasons. However, a secure and private email provider that logs everything for a long period of time is not really private. Look for providers that keep minimum data and have shorter log detention to be really secure and keep your information private. In an ideal world, private emails providers would hold no data.
#3. Sensible Pricing
Many email providers offer a completely free service while some charge for premium features and extra storage.
When it comes to software, always remember that if the product is free, then you are the product. If email providers have to pay the bills, and the users aren’t paying, their revenue will likely come from advertising.
But when providers charge for accounts and offer a free tier, you can safely assume that the “free” is no strings attached.
If it is a completely free service then your content is likely getting scanned for advertising or your information being sold to data brokers.
Do the research well and find a secure email that values your privacy.
#4. IP stripping
The email provider must strip out your IP address out of the email headers so the recipient cannot find out who your internet service provider is, or even the location. The same practice must be followed for server logs: make sure that you are IP masked, removed or anonymized. You can find this information in the provider’s log policies.
Nobody thinks they will be the victim of an online data breach until it really happens. Your email is the first point of defense and something you can easily secure with a smart, secure provider.