If you’re looking to hide your email messages from would-be hackers…and the nosey NSA PRISM program, the SecureGmail Chrome extension offers one-click email encryption for an extra layer of security and privacy in your inbox.
While most of you where either outside enjoying yesterday’s Independence Day activites, or if you were in Atlanta like me, in ‘Plan B’ mode due to Mother Nature’s attitude, There were some people out yesterday protesting the NSA PRISM digital surveillance program that allegedly worked with big technology companies to share user data in the name of “security.”
If you were not able to join the protest, but are still concerned about your privacy online, there are some small steps you can take to ensure your information is only viewable by people you designate. For example, the SecureGmail service is a free Chrome extension that lets you ecrypt your Gmail messages so only those with a special password can decrypt and read.
In order to use SecureGmail, there are some requirements:
1. Both the sender and recipient must be using the Google Chrome browser
2. Both must install the SecureGmail extension (recipient will be prompted to install prior to message delivery if they don’t already use it)
3. Both must be using Gmail and the new Gmail Compose box (I couldn’t get it work using the old method)
If you’re cool with those restrictions challenges, SecureGmail is pretty easy to use. After installing the extension, there will be a new padlock next to the traditional ‘Compose’ button. Clicking the padlock will open a ‘secured’ compose box where you compose your message.
SecureGmail does not save any drafts in order to not leave a [virtual] paper trail, so be sure that is the message want to send…no backsies! When you send the encrypted message, you will then be prompted to enter a password that the recipient will need to enter to read the message. The recipient wil need to already know that password (Pro tip: Pick a good password and don’t send the password electronically…kind of defeats the purpose). If they forgot, you can add an optional hint to jog their memory.
SecureGmaill uses powerful symmetric email encryption to encrypt and decrypt each message. Check out an example of the decrypted SecureGmail message.
The recipient will need to click the ‘Decrypt message with password’ button to enter the shared password to read the message and that’s pretty much it. With SecureGmail, all you’re doing is choosing what messages are encrypted, and giving the recipient the means to decrypt the message to keep other entities out of your business.
Contrary to popular belief, there are some things you can do to protect your digital privacy. What steps do you to take protect your security and privacy online?