How To: Registering a Free Secure Email Account
Here you will find information on setting up a free email account with recommended providers. These recommendations are made with privacy concerns in mind and rechor is not affiliated with any of the listed providers.
– Tutanota (Recommended)
– ProtonMail (Recommended)
– Gmail/Yahoo (Not recommended)
This post is considered a quick guide to setting up the email account and using it. If you want a more in-depth explanation of all the bells and whistles, head over to their respective sites.
Setting Up the Tutanota Account
2. Select your plan (Free or one of the premium plans). Click “Select.”
4. After Tutanota sets up your account, save your Recovery Code. This is how you would reset your password or second factor authentication if you lose either. After that, click “ok.”
5. You’ll be taken to a login screen. Login with the credentials you just created.
6. You are now in your inbox.
Note: After creating my account, I was prompted and advised that my account was “marked for approval” and was unable to send or receive emails for 48 hours. This may have been a security procedure, as I was using a VPN. Keep this in mind in case you need to use your email immediately.
If you send an email from your Tutanota account to another Tutanota account, it will work just fine – nothing else is needed.
If you send an email from your Tutanota account to a non-Tutanota email account (Gmail/Yahoo/ProtonMail, etc.), things change a bit – you’ll need to give the recipient a password to access the contents of the email.
Here is the process when you send a Tutanota email to a non-Tutanota account:
A. Compose a new email message. Put in the recipient’s email address. If it’s not a Tutanota address, a password field will open.
B. Enter a password. This password will be used by the email recipient to see the contents of the email. You will have to give this password to the recipient via another method (phone call, text message, another email account, in person, etc.). Note: you can use any password, the password strength meter you see is for recommendation only.
C. Create your subject/body and click “Send.” If your password was weak, you will be prompted and told about it, but you can send the email anyway.
D. Your message is encrypted and sent.
What the Recipient Gets:
E. You will see that the email contains no information about its contents (aside from the sender)
F. The recipient will click on “Show encrypted email” or paste the given link into a browser and be taken to a page asking for the password. This is the password you created as you sent the email.
G. After they enter the password and click “Show Encrypted Mailbox,” they will be taken to a Tutanota inbox and be able to read the email you sent in plain text. They can reply from there.
Setting Up the ProtonMail Account
2. Select your plan (free or one of the premium plans). Click “Select [plan].”
3. Enter your username and select your domain (username@domain). Enter a password and recovery email, if you so desire.
4. Read over the Terms and Conditions and click “Create Account” if you agree to them.
5. Confirm you are human and click “Complete Setup.”
6. You’ll be prompted to create a display name (the name recipients will see who the email is from). Create one and click “Finish.” Note: You can change this later under “Settings.”
7. You are now in your inbox
Note: If you read above with setting up a Tutanota account, you will see that my account was “marked for review” and was unable to send/receive emails for 48 hours. This did not occur with ProtonMail – my account was ready to use immediately.
If you send an email from your ProtonMail account to another ProtonMail account, it will work just fine – nothing else is needed. The one thing to note is the image of a padlock next to the recipient’s name in the “To:” field. This indicates that the message will be end-to-end encrypted
Here is the process for sending a ProtonMail email to a non-ProtonMail account:
A. If you send an email from your ProtonMail account to a non-ProtonMail email account (Gmail/Yahoo/Tutanota, etc.), you need to take an extra step. When you enter their email address in the “To:” field, you will see that no padlock image shows up next to the recipient’s name as it does when you type in a ProtonMail email address [see above image]. THIS IS IMPORTANT: you need to click the padlock icon at the bottom of the email composition box to enable the encryption. If you don’t, your email will be sent without ProtonMail’s encryption.
B. After clicking the padlock icon, you will be prompted to enter a Message Password. This is a password you create that you will give to the recipient to decrypt the email. You will have to give this password to the recipient via another method (phone call, text message, another email account, in person, etc.). If you enter an optional password hint, that hint will show up unencrypted in the body of the email [see Image E]. After entering the password, click “Set” and you’ll be taken back to the main email composition box.
C. Finish your email and click “Send.” The email will be encrypted and sent to the recipient.
What the Recipient Gets:
D. You will see that the subject line is not encrypted (it is suggested you send misleading/irrelevant subject lines).
E. Inside the email, you will see the optional “Password Hint” that I set, as well as the expiration date
F. The recipient will click on “View Secure Message” and be taken to a page asking for a password. This is the password you set when you created the email.
G. After the recipient enters the password and clicks “Decrypt,” they will be taken to the message to read it in plain text. They can reply securely directly from there.
Why Use The Above Instead of Gmail/Yahoo?
Many people prefer to use Gmail or Yahoo due to their free and easy nature. However, when you sign up for a Gmail or Yahoo email account, you agree to allow them to read and store the content of your emails.
If you don’t want Google or Yahoo looking at your stuff, it’s suggested that you switch to another mail provider, such as Tutanota or ProtonMail.
Tutanota: https://tutanota.com, https://tutanota.com/faq, https://tutanota.com/howto/
ProtonMail: https://protonmail.com, https://protonmail.com/terms-and-conditions, https://protonmail.com/support/knowledge-base/does-protonmail-encrypt-email-subjects/