How to Encrypt and Password Protect Your Gmail Messages
By on August 22nd, 2013

In light of the currently en vogue privacy debate raging all around the world and given the flippant stance of many of our often used communication platforms with regards to securing its users’ privacy, it is becoming more and more evident that if the user wants privacy online, he’ll have to snatch it, for it won’t be easily given.

Talking of communication, email comes to mind. Privacy begins with encryption. And encrypting email isn’t exactly an easy task. It is at best annoying. At worst it can be so cumbersome that most people don’t bother. You can use desktop clients and PGP keys, like Lifehacker details. The annoying procedure of making and handling security keys is also mentioned by Arstechnica here in its editorial about why most people don’t bother encrypting email.

So what do you do if you don’t want peeping toms and evil governments looking into your email? The best idea would be to go stone age and use smoke signals, but of course, we’re discussing technology here and I digress. A rather simpler alternative would be to encrypt the email text and share the password via other means. This is what the ingenious Google Chrome extension SecureGmail aims to do.

SecureGmail Encrypt Email

Let’s discuss the pre-requisites here before we begin encrypting our Gmail messages! You and your message recipient both will need the following:

  1. Gmail accounts
  2. Google Chrome
  3. The Chrome Extension SecureGmail 

What does the extension do? The extension will create a new button beside the usual Compose red button. When you click on it, the new mail window box appears but this one is different from the vanilla compose box as whatever you type in here won’t be saved to Google’s servers. For the technically curious, SecureGmail uses an open source JS crypto library from Stanford available here.

SecureGmail

On completing the message, click the Send Encrypted button. You’ll be asked to set a password for the message as well as a password hint. Your recipient will only see the password hint. If he doesn’t have the extension installed, he’ll see a link to install it. Otherwise, the password can be input right away and the email decrypted.

Only the encrypted copy is saved on Gmail’s servers. If you check your Sent items folders, you’ll see something like this.

SecureGmail

The success of this method obviously assumes that you’ve sent your password to your recipient successfully via other means. Maybe it’s the first word on the 37th page of a certain book, maybe it’s an irrelevant word written as graffiti somewhere. Sci-fi movies will give you enough ideas to supply a hint.

What to do if you want to encrypt text with a password but don’t want to use a chrome extension? Googling for “encrypt text” will give you a slew of options.

Interested in encrypting more kinds of files? Learn about the different tools we’ve written about here and here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Product Reviewed: SecureGmail

Review By: Keshav Khera
Rated: 4/5
Author: Keshav Khera
Keshav Khera is a young freelance writer from India. Alongside writing for the web, he also attends school and tries not to bunk classes. He keeps interest in music, table tennis, reading and of course, twitter (@keshav)

Keshav Khera has written and can be contacted at keshav@techie-buzz.com.
  • rehan

    nice post for secure our gmail…

    Visit technology blog!

  • Yogesh Bhardwaj

    very nice blog. Glad to read it.It will be very beneficial for some mails that is related to some security purpose or private mails. Please post more blog related to email security.
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    Thanks for giving me the useful information. I think I need it. Thank you

  • TC Adem Yeşil

    It is very important to know, how you can protect the personal passwords or keys in a website, blog or privat mails. Thank so lot for the information.

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  • http://www.yepi1.info/ Yepi

    the security system is extremely important account, unfortunately it was someone hacking your information stolen. Your blog posts are useful.

  • http://www.jugarjugar.net/ Jugar Jugar

    Thanks for your sharing. indeed, the security encryption for Gmail password is really important but it little attention because of the subjectivity of people. It may harm them anytime

  • http://www.kundanstech.com/ Kundan Raj Bhattarai

    Thanks for your information. At this time when everyone is worried about their personal security over the internet using the extension you have mentioned above will help to send the message securely over the internet. Every day millions of people use Gmail to send emails and the extension you have mentioned will surely be valuable.

 
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