There have been numerous privacy scandals with large email providers over the past few years, prompting many to look for the best secure email that respects user privacy.
Why switch to a secure email provider?
Here are just a few examples of how some “free” email services are violating your privacy and selling you out to third parties:
Gmail was caught giving third parties full access to user emails.
Advertisers are allowed to scan Yahoo and AOL accounts to “identify and segment potential customers by picking up on contextual buying signals, and past purchases”.
Declassified documents from the PRISM surveillance program reveal that Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, and AOL give US surveillance agencies unilateral access to their servers to perform “extensive, in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information”.
Yahoo was also caught scanning emails in real-time for US surveillance agencies in 2016.
If you are using one of these popular, “free” email providers, you are likely getting sold out to advertisers and surveillance agencies without your consent, or the ability to “opt out”.
Fortunately there is a simple solution: switch to a secure email provider that respects your privacy.
What is the best secure email service?
With so many different types of users, there is no single “best secure email” service that will be the top choice for everyone. While some may prioritize maximum security and strong encryption, others may want convenience and simplicity with user-friendly apps on all their devices. Therefore this list is not in rank order because the “best” secure email service will be different for each user.
The goal of this guide is to help you find the best secure email solution for your unique needs. So let’s get started!
*Free tier: Up to 1GB
Tutanota is a Germany-based secure email service run by a small team of privacy enthusiasts. They respect user privacy and never require phone number verification, even when registering through Tor. While their service is focused on providing you with the highest levels of email security, it still remains user-friendly with good features.
Rather than using PGP and S/MIME, Tutanota utilizes their own encryption standard incorporating AES and RSA, which automatically encrypts the subject line, supports forward secrecy, and can be updated/strengthened if necessary against quantum-computer attacks, as they explain here. All emails are encrypted at rest and you can also send encrypted emails to non-Tutanota users. Emails between Tutanota users are seamlessly encrypted by default.
While Tutanota uses very high standards and is arguably the most secure email provider, this also comes with some tradeoffs, such as no support for PGP, IMAP, POP, or SMTP. Additionally, you cannot import existing emails into your encrypted Tutanota inbox, but they’re currently working on adding a migration feature.
If you are looking for a trustworthy, high-security email provider run by privacy enthusiasts, Tutanota is a solid choice. It is the email service I use with this website and it also powers our secure communication center.
Tutanota is Latin for Secret Letter/Note
Tutanota has a very generous free plan and an easy to understand user face.
I have been trying them out for a week and the experience is very good.
(I have no financial ties whatsoever to Tutanota)