Emails are still one of the fastest means of communication today with more than a billion users across the globe sending over a million emails to each other every day.
With the arrival of Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and other email services, the world has seen a big boom in communication. According to Radicati’s 2016 Email Statistics report, email will be used by 3 billion people by 2020. That’s almost half of the world’s population. (Out of the other half not using email, 1.6 billion people still don’t have electricity.)
However, one fact still remains when it comes to using Emails and that’s insecurity. Thousands of email accounts are hacked on a daily basis with others worried about being spied upon without their consent.
Secure email providers such as Lavabit and Silent Circle back in 2013, decided to suspend operations and shut down their servers because they believed they were vulnerable to surveillance by NSA.
With that said, below is a compiled list of our top 5 best secure email services that you can trust to keep your information safe from prying eyes;
ProtonMail is a free, open-source, encrypted email provider based in Switzerland and is ranked as one of the top-most secure email providers to date. It offers built-in security for user protection against scammers and snooping eyes, end-to-end encryption for all messages, self-destruct emails and an improved user interface.
However, if you want to opt in for their premium account options, the rates are a bit expensive plus their email service doesn’t allow you to send encrypted messages to users on other email services. It also offers limited cloud storage.
If you’re seriously worried about your privacy, then CounterMail is the right choice for you. CounterMail offers a thoroughly secure implementation of OpenPGP encrypted email via a browser.
Only encrypted emails are stored on CounterMail servers and focuses mainly on user security which is why it doesn’t have a good looking user interface. However, the service is regularly updated and provides email security which is second to none with end-to-end encryption.
It also uses diskless data servers, which means nobody will be able to read or write anything you send through these servers.
Hushmail is another top-rated secure email provider that uses advanced encryption techniques so that no one can read your messages.
The best thing about Hushmail is that you can send encrypted messages to anyone including users of Gmail, Outlook or any other email service provider. It also has a user-friendly interface and allows you to choose from a range of addresses like @hush.com, @hushmail.me, @hush.ai, etc.
HushMail too offers a two-step verification, supports email signature, comes with 10GB of email storage and an auto-response feature can be enabled. However, one should note that it has a free 14-day trial after which you have to pay $49.98 a year.
Mailfence is a Belgium based encrypted email service provider launched in 2013 that uses the OpenPGP standard to offer users end-to-end encryption and digital signing. It was started by ContactOffice Group, which has been managing an online collaborative suite for professionals, universities and other organizations since 1999.
The coolest thing about Mailfence is that it allows users to freely communicate securely with anyone, whether with other Mailfence users, or any other email service compliant with the OpenPGP protocol.
This means one can access mail with IMAP and SMTP using secured SSL/TLS connections with the email program of your choice. However, you cannot use Mailfence to send encrypted messages to people who do not use OpenPGP and have no public key available. It has no dedicated mobile app and they offer limited cloud storage for free tier users.
Tutanota originates from German and is a web-based open-source secure email service that focuses on providing the best security and experience to its users while adding a variety of features and solutions.
The pricing options for Tutanota are considered to be one of the most affordable with a paid version starting at only 1 euro per month. The free account offers you 1GB of space, free Ads and a few other cool options.
The service also provides unlimited number of sent messages per day, end-to-end encryption and is compatible with all browsers
The developers of Tutanota declare that they do not use PGP in their encryption because for them the encryption of the matter is also important. Therefore they have developed a proprietary solution based on AES and RSA that encrypts attachments, text and subject. They do not record IPs or email addresses, which are deleted.
Other notable secure email providers include Runbox, Posteo, Kolab Now, LuxSci and SCRYPTmail which all offer a bundle of exciting features from encrypted email to privacy protection.
One should however note that the security of their email lies in their hands and must endeavor to protect their user login details so as to avoid access from intruders.
Allan Bangirana is a freelance writer for Newslibre and Spur Magazine. He is also the co-founder of the Innovware project.
He is a freelance consultant passionate about tech, programming, games and entertainment.