In today’s world, information has become a core value, and its protection a priority of its owners.
Especially for the last years when rumors appeared that state security services are tracking and reading personal e-mail correspondence (thanks to Edward Snowden). If you are looking for a way to keep your personal e-mail private and do not want someone else to gain access to confidential Gmail messages (except the recipient and Gmail itself), there are ways to encrypt them.
Like most security-conscious providers, Google uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) to encrypt emails. But TLS depends on both the sender’s and recipient’s email provider, so it won’t work in some situations. If you receive a message from, or are about to send a message to, someone whose email service doesn’t support TLS encryption, you’ll see a broken lock icon in the message.
There are several extensions for the browser that can help you to encrypt your Gmail, but the simplest method of encryption is based on Google Docs, which works in all browsers and does not require any add-ons or applications. You protect the message with a strong password, and the recipient must enter the password to decrypt it. Actually, all browser extensions work the same way.
How to encrypt Gmail messages
- Open Gmail and create a new e-mail message. Put the recipient’s email address into the field “To”, add a subject (it will not be encrypted) and place your message in the email body. Do not press the Send button, leave the message in your Gmail folder “Drafts”. Pay attention, that you should not forget to add a Recipient, otherwise the message encryption will fail and e-mail will not be sent.
- Click here to make a copy of the “Encrypt Gmail” sheet in your Google Drive. Choose Gmail->Initialize and give the sheet the permission to access your Gmail account.
- Then click Encrypt Gmail and choose the necessary draft (you will choose it by the subject) from the drop-down, enter a password and hit “Send Mail.”
Decrypt the encrypted Gmail Message
- Open the received message, and copy the body of the message (ciphertext) to the clipboard.
- Go to the special service Decrypt and enter the password in the appropriate fields (it is submitted by those who encrypted the message) and the text of an encrypted message. Click button «Decrypt Message».
- Decrypted text appears below «Decrypt Message» button.
Encrypting e-mail with Google Docs has one more advantage – the recipients can decrypt the encrypted messages using any browser, without additional applications or browser add-ons, which slow down its work in most cases.
When you write a draft email in Gmail, it is automatically stored on Google servers. If you want to avoid this, you can write a message out of Gmail (let’s say in Notepad) and encrypt it in a stand-alone mode to send a message via Gmail.
Three years ago Google announced it would offer an end-to-end encryption add-on for Gmail as a Chrome extension. It still hasn’t materialized. And while Google insists its encryption isn’t vaporware, the Gmail’s end-to-end encrypted future looks cloudy—if not altogether evaporated.
Submitted By : – Alisa Bagrii, is a tech writer of Everycloud spam filter whose main topics are Internet Safety, e-mail protection and Internet Security.