Reasons for Encrypted Email

I recently wrote a review for ProtonMail, an encrypted email provider based in Switzerland. And that led to me thinking, why would your average user want to use encrypted emails. And how would they even go about it.

I personally use encrypted email for a number of reasons, I’m probably more security conscious than your average user due to my background, but this also means I regularly explain the reasons why encryption and cyber security are important to people I meet in everyday life.

Protect Personal or Sensitive Information

One of the main advantages to using encrypted email is that it can protect your personal information from being accessed or stolen. This could be anything from medical history to your social security number. With identity theft being as wide spread as it is, any effort to protect information that you might have no other option than to send is important.

Another example of this could be in regards to a business and not just a sole user. If for example your company has just created a new product or is about to file for a patent, you don’t want that information to be easy to intercept or steal.

Government Monitoring

It is no secret that government agencies such as GCHQ and the NSA  snoop on our digital lives, this could be from reading emails to tracking what web-pages you have visited. And for the most part this is completely harmless unless you feel it to be a invasion of your privacy. They would need a warrant to wire tap your house, so what makes your digital life any different.

 

Best way to encrypt emails –

  • ProtonMail
    • Swiss based email provider, that offers encrypted emails. Check out my review Here
  • Secure Swiss Data
    • Swiss based email provider, that offers encrypted emails.
  • PGP Key
    • Combined a PGP key with the Thunderbird email client and you are able to achive encrypted emails that will be slightly more secure than using a servise such as the others listed abover
  • Tutanota Mail
    • Another Encrypted email servcie, Review will be coming soon

Ubuntu 17.10 – First impression

If you are a Linux user then you will more than likely be aware that Ubuntu 17.10 is just around the corner and there are some massive changes coming. Unlike previous version of the Ubuntu that has come with the Unity Desktop environment, this time they are mixing it up and are going to begin using the Gnome desktop environment as standard. ( You can currently use either Ubuntu Gnome or install the Gnome environment alongside unity) 

At first hearing about this I had some reservations because I was very comfortable within the Unity environment and had very little experience with the Gnome desktop, bar what time I had spend using it within Kali Linux. But after reading into why they have decided to cut the Unity desktop it makes sense. I mean would you spend the time creating and maintains something more or less from scratch when it is deployed on a very small percentage of machine that run your OS.

But again when reading that Gnome was going to be the default environment I was somewhat disappointed because of the ascetics, for those of you who use Gnome you might like the cold gray and blue that it styles it self with. But I’m a huge fan of how warm and nice Unity looks. Well from some screen shots I have you can see that although they are using Gnome they have managed to add that Unity flair to it. 

Take a look in the images below and let me know what you think in the comment section, and check this space for more information on Ubuntu 17.10

(Images from omgubuntu.com)

ProtonMail – Review

I recently wrote about ProtonVPN, a VPN services from the creators of ProtonMail. And for those of you that don’t know, ProtonMail is a service that provides security and encrypted emails.
If I can remember correctly I was part of the in initial launch and was in a waiting list for a free account. And this was only due to seeing some stuff on Twitter about it and letting my curiosity get the better of me, and I’m glad it did.

So what is ProtonMail, well to put it simply it is an encrypted email client that is based in Switzerland, and by just saying that you should know that the privacy and security of its user will be fantastic. This is largely due to Switzerland having some of the best laws in place for online privacy and security. So you know from the start that they are going to make sure your privacy is protected as strongly as possible.

Creating you ProtonMail account is much the same as creating any email account these days, you chose a username and set you passwords. But unlike the likes of Gmail and setting only one password ProtonMail asks for you to set an account password and then another password for your mailbox. This is a second line off defense to prevent your account being compromised. You can also set up 2 factor authentication from the security tab in the settings later. This again adds another layer of security before you can even view your inbox. And don’t worry this isn’t just some SMS verification, you can use just about any authenticator application on the market.

The web client its self looks just like any other email client, this I feel is a great thing because it feels as natural an environment as you’d likely be use to. Before using ProtonMail I was skeptical that the user interface might have been lacking in the looks department as their main priority is the security and protection of their users. But gladly this is not the case. There are 2 options for the layout of your inbox, the first displays your emails in a column on the left and then display the selected email on the right. And then the section option is to just have the list of emails and you can open the emails you wish to view. Depending on where you are when you are using this client could depend on how you have it laid out.

Continue reading “ProtonMail – Review”

Passwords – Good Practise

Recently I have started to use a new password manager and got asked why I did not just use the same password across all of my accounts online. And this lead to me thinking that people as a rule don’t know effective and secure practice to follow when using online accounts and passwords.

Firstly you should always use a different password for each of your online accounts, this could be having one password with many variations such as different letters or symbols within it. This is necessary these days as it only takes one of the platforms you use to get hacked and you could potentially lose access to all of your accounts.

So Here Are Some Good Password Practice

Password Practise
The steps above are a fairly comprehensive guide to develop a highly secure password, by memorizing a sentence you have written, the arduous task of having to remember your new or complex password is reduces. you can also incorporate information about the account you are logging into meaning each accounts password will be a lot easier to remember.

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TrueKey is a password manager utility from Intel, and not only does it store information for online accounts you can also put in information like your social security number. This turns out to be very useful when paired with the mobile app. TrueKey also offers a feature that will generate a password for each account, and then log you straight in from the application. Meaning once you have secured all of your accounts you will only ever need 1 password to gain access to them.

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This final method is a touch old school I know. But in my opinion nothing can beat a trusty notebook (Granted I am probably one of a few that still like handwritten notes.) But the beauty of using a notebook is that you never have to worry about getting hacked and they can be carried on you at all times. Ok, so this option might not be the best if you tend to lose things but other than that its a sure fire way to manage multiple account details offline.
 

And hopefully if you follow some of the steps listed above you should be able to maximize your online security. As it is commonly known that the weakest point in most security systems is the human element. And that is because a lot of people have poor security knowledge or training. And this can be down to a number of thing such as age or use case.

But again hopefully this helps and you can share it with your friends and colleague to again increase everyone online safety.