ProtonMail Quick Review (@ProtonMail)

A short while ago, I finally got access to the new mail platform (in beta) called “ProtonMail“. As their profile currently states:

ProtonMail is an email service that is developed by a team of scientists who met while working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. Our goal is simple: we want to protect people around the world from the mass surveillance that is currently being perpetrated by governments and corporations around the world. We believe that privacy is a fundamental human right that must be protected at any cost. The advent of the internet has now made all of us more vulnerable to mass surveillance than at any other point in human history. The disappearance of online privacy is a very dangerous trend as in many ways privacy and freedom go hand in hand“.

Their top selling points are:

The platform is easy to use and looks like really any other platform.

What’s especially nice is that you need two passwords to get into you’re mail. One is your account password and the second is your mailbox password which is used to decrypt the mailbox for you to use.

Only once these two passwords have been entered successfully will you get access to your mail. The platform itself performs end-to-end encryption whether it is internal mail (“ProtonMail to ProtonMail“) or you choose the option to “Encrypt for Outside Users“. Selecting this option allows you to set a message password.

When you send the message to an outside account, the email is received as a link in a message, notice the expiration is also set. When you choose an expiration, you can see how and when it applies depending on where the mails are being sent. (PM standing for Proton Mail)

As you can see on the message I sent to one of my Hotmail accounts, it was encrypted, hence the message, is sent this way. Also you can see it has adopted the “4 week” expiration, as per the base settings.

Me as the recipient would click the link, which loads in the browser and asks me for the password so it can be decrypted.

This will then reveal the message as expected.

I know there are other providers that are starting to do this however this is a great feature and service and more importantly it is FREE!!, plus the mail is hosted outside of other countries jurisdiction which helps in your mail privacy. The website works great on a mobile device too!! You can visit the site to learn more about the platform.

In reality it is very simple, easy to use and “does exactly what it says on the tin“. If you are looking for a new email address, one that is privacy centric then I would recommend you register for a beta account and when they have an open slot you will get chance to play, hopefully they will reach their goal and created the rest of the tools they are looking into.

Liam Cleary

I work as an Associate Director for Protiviti in Virginia. My main focus is to ensure that SharePoint can either natively or with minimal customization meet the business requirement securely. I am currently a SharePoint MVP focused on Architecture but also cross the boundary into Development and Security. I am often found at user groups, conferences speaking, offering advice, spending time in the community, teaching my kids how to code, raspberry PI programming, hacking the planet and sometimes building Lego robots.

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