When it comes to email providers, some popular names that come to mind are Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo Mail, iCloud, and so on. In this article, I will discuss the top private and secure email service providers in 2023.
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One of the first digital modes of communication was email. We still use emails for practically everything we do on the Internet, despite the fact that they are very old. It might be something as simple as user registration, two-factor authentication, or sending confidential emails to someone crucial.
What’s wrong with Gmail?
One might wonder why, in the age of Google, we are even considering alternatives. Gmail is the best email service available. Right? No, it does not. Not for the sake of privacy, at any rate. If you’re new to the Internet, you’re probably aware that Google allows you to set up free email accounts. Gmail is, without a doubt, the most popular email provider on the planet, but it is not a private email service.
Google and other well-known email providers rely on advertisements. In the previous article, I discussed how Google makes money from free services like Google Search. Similarly, prominent email providers profit from their users by collecting and utilising personal information, such as email content reading.
You should never be surprised if you encounter advertisements for a product you discussed in one of your recent emails. For additional information on how tracking works on the Internet and how personal information is used to serve adverts, watch the documentary “The Social Dilemma.”
Government can access data easily through legal ways or other ways
The major reason why Gmail and similar email companies cannot be trusted to maintain users’ privacy is because they can divulge users’ data if required by governments via the courts. As a result, activists all across the world face ongoing threats from their governments.
Most governments now pose the greatest threat to their citizens’ privacy and data security. We’ve lately witnessed how governments all around the world have exploited popular applications to track out and demolish its opponents. Read about Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist and author who was allegedly slain by the Saudi government. Every year, hundreds of such assassinations occur around the world. There is a Wikipedia article dedicated to journalist assassinations if you want to learn more.
For years, activists around the world relied on WhatsApp, Gmail, and other popular platforms to preserve their privacy, but recent occurrences indicate that they aren’t as secure as they appear.
Citizenlab.ca has produced a number of studies demonstrating how governments throughout the world use popular applications to target journalists.
- The Great iPwn
- Al Jazeera: The Business of Surveillance
Top Private & Secure Email Providers In 2023
I’ve compiled a list of the best private and secure email providers based on the features they offer to protect customers’ privacy and the locations of their servers (also their track records). The location of servers is critical in keeping a company’s data secret and secure.
One of the greatest places in Switzerland to host private servers. Switzerland is the safest place to keep private data. It is known as the Earth’s data heaven.
It is critical to clarify that all data held in Switzerland is not unlawful. Most businesses retain their databases in Switzerland to keep the data of their customers out of the hands of private and government organisations.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
TutaNota is the most widely used secure and private email service. TutaNota offers an encrypted inbox and has servers in Germany.
TutaNota’s servers are located in Germany, which is likewise known for having strict privacy rules. It will be beneficial if you read it in order to gain a better understanding of how the organisation safeguards its consumers’ data.
TutaNota’s basic functionality is free. Free users are limited to one user, one GB of storage, a limited search, and one calendar. TutaNota’s premium capabilities, including 1 custom domain, limitless search, multiple calendars, 5 aliases, Inbox rules, and email support, are available for only 12 euros. A subscription plan also includes the ability to add users for an extra fee of 12 euros.
If you want more, the Teams plan, which costs 48 euros a year, is the way to go. Users can additionally pay for a specific feature such as more aliases, larger storage, Whitelabel, and so on.
Install TutaNota Apps
TutaNota apps are available for all major platforms, including Linux, iOS, Windows, macOS, Android, and web browser clients.
Ctemplar is another great private and secure email provider. Its servers are located in Iceland. Iceland is also known for its rigorous privacy laws that protect citizens’ privacy and freedom.
The email service offers a free subscription for minimal usage. The free plan allows for 200 emails per day, 10MB attachments, 10GB storage, unlimited folders, and full encryption capabilities. Subscribe to their paid plans to boost or increase limits.
Ctemplar offers an encrypted mailbox as well as a slew of additional security features. To avoid phishing attempts, users might create an anti-phishing phrase.
Ctemplar is currently an invitation-only service. To obtain an invite code, you either know a paying user and ask him for one, or you must seek support for an invite code through social media. They readily provide the code if you request it on their Reddit page.
Install Ctemplar Apps
There is a client for all major operating systems, including Linux and major mobile operating systems.
StartMail is an email service created by the same people that created StartPage, a private search engine. Its mail servers are based in the Netherlands and adhere to EU GDPR privacy regulations.
StartMail is a premium email service that is only available to paying subscribers. Users can sign up for a free trial account to test the service.
The email service includes encrypted emails, unlimited aliases, the ability to send password-protected messages to anyone regardless of the recipient’s email provider, 10GB of email storage, and a business plan for using a custom domain with StartMail.
The most basic package costs from $35.99 to $59.95 per year.
CounterMail is one of the most secure email service providers in the industry today. They use the OpenPGP encryption protocol and 4096-bit encryption keys to encrypt all of the data. They offer unique features to boost privacy and security in addition to encryption, end-to-end security, anonymous email headers, and so on.
CounterMail stores user data on Diskless web servers. Their servers do not have hard drives; instead, they employ CD-ROM to power up and run their servers. Refer to this tutorial for more details on how their server setup works.
They are also concerned with offering MITM protection. MITM is an abbreviation for Man-In-The-Middle attack. CounterMail employs RSA and AES-CBC under the conventional SSL protocol to protect users from MITM. That translates to four layers of security: SSL encryption, session encryption, OpenPGP encryption, and server-side disc encryption.
CounterMail is currently an invite-only email service. You can obtain an invite code from a premium user of CounterMail or request one from the support team (it takes too much time).
5. ProtonMail – Encrypted emails based in Switzerland
ProtonMail is the most well-known “private” email service. Until a website called “privacy-watchdog.io” made some surprising assertions about the CIA/NSA’s role in the creation of ProtonMail, I assumed they were clean.
According to the information supplied by privacy-watchdog.io, the PM was developed at MIT under the direction of the CIA/NSA. I do not favour PM or privacy-watchdog.io, but I believe it is important to present both perspectives so that readers can make an informed decision.
Protonmail’s cryptography code written by Wei Sun was written at MIT with CIA & NSA oversight…privacy-watchdog.io
Update – privacy-watchdog.io has been taken offline but the reddit’s discussion is still available.
As I researched the subject further, I discovered that there is no clear or convincing response supporting the invention of PM by someone other than the CIA/NSA. Actually, a ProtonMail Reddit moderator sought to get rid of the inquiries by claiming that the assertions being made were old.
We are still waiting for ProtonMail to respond to the claims made by privacy-watchdog.io. Right now, I recommend reading the entire case and making your own decision. All the links are available here –
Here is my review of the ProtonMail service, as stated on their official website, as well as my own experience. I don’t recommend activism using ProtonMail until they establish they aren’t simply another firm being watched by Big Brother.
Read full news here
ProtonMail, which is based in Switzerland, offers a private email account that is encrypted by default. It does not log users’ IP addresses and encrypts emails with an encryption key. If a user forgets his account password, he must reset the password in order to reset the encryption key. This is how encryption works. Users’ emails can only be opened using the encryption that was used to encrypt them in the first place. All emails in the account will be lost once the encryption is reset. Because ProtonMail’s servers are headquartered in Switzerland, they are subject to strict Swiss privacy rules. Best of all, it’s completely free for basic use. Upgrade to one of their paying plans if you want extra features such as removing the message per day limit from 150 to 1000 or limitless, priority support, email filters, autoresponder, multi-user support, custom domain, and so on.
6. SecureMyEmail (Not for Linux)
I’m moving from secure email providers to a service that allows customers to encrypt their emails independent of whatever email provider they use. You may encrypt your emails using SecureMyEmail without switching to a new email provider.
SecureMyEmail is designed for customers who do not wish to leave their current email service. It is simple to encrypt and send/receive emails without changing email providers.
Here’s how it works: SecureMyEmail has clients for Windows, Mac, Android, and iPhone. After you sign up, you may synchronise your personal email account (Gmail, Microsoft, iCloud, etc.) with the SecureMyEmail software, and it will instantly set up the encryption.
If you use Linux, you don’t need to utilise SecureMyEmail because there are better/easier options (Thunderbird).
There are numerous email service providers available to us. While there are a plethora of them, only a select few are secure email providers. It was important to me to find out about the email service providers’ dubious pasts, and I was able to do so with regard to ProtonMail.
The company will be removed from this list if you can show that any of the above-mentioned email providers is/are participating in the sharing of users’ data.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Gmail a secure email provider?
Gmail is generally considered to be a secure email provider. Google, the company that owns and operates Gmail, has implemented several security features to protect users’ emails and personal information.
What is the safest free email service?
There are several email services that provide secure and private email accounts. Among many are the Tutanota, SecureMyEmail, and Counter Mail.
What is the least secure email provider?
It is difficult to say which is the least secure email provider as security levels can vary depending on various factors, such as the provider’s policies, encryption standards, and overall security measures. However, some email providers may be less secure due to known vulnerabilities or a lack of security features.
Are all email services encrypted?
Not all email services are encrypted by default, and the level of encryption can vary between different email providers. Most email providers use encryption to protect emails in transit, which means that the content of the email is encrypted as it travels from the sender’s email client to the email provider’s servers, and then from the provider’s servers to the recipient’s email client. This helps to protect the email from being intercepted and read by unauthorized third parties while it is in transit.
What are the risks of using an insecure email provider?
Among many risks of using an insecure email provider include, data breaches, email interception, phishing attacks, malware and viruses, lack of privacy, and so on.