Are you sending and receiving email on your mobile device? If you do, you need to make sure that your data and conversations are secure.
Without encryption, your email is a prime target for hackers, identity thieves and the government.
Thus, you need to protect your data from snooping eyes.
How do you do that?
By encrypting your data and using an email encryption app.
What is Email Encryption and Decryption?
Encryption is the process of scrambling readable text and making it unreadable to anyone but the person with the right decryption key.
An encryption system can be:
- Symmetric, or
The difference between the two is that the symmetric encryption system has only one key to both encrypt and decrypt data. Asymmetric system has two keys. One key is used to encrypt data and is public, but the other key, used to decrypt data, is private and only the recipient has it.
Symmetric encryption can be something as simple as swapping letters for numbers or symbols.
For example, with symmetric encryption, we can turn the word “Coffee” into “306655” by simply replacing each letter with a number.
This would be pretty easy encryption to break and as such not a very secure one. That’s why asymmetric encryptions like RSA, AES and 3DES came into play.
Using asymmetric encryption, we can turn the word “Coffee” into an unreadable text (called “ciphertext”) like “XOu(7vau797vX(F&7VV%^AVV(&4vfg(&”. Only the person with the right decryption key would be able to read.
Does Gmail Have Encryption (and Why It’s Not Enough)
If you look at the email you get on Gmail, under the sender’s name you’ll see a downward arrow next to “to me”. Clicking on that arrow will show the email details, including:
- From (who sent the message)
- To (who is receiving the message)
- Date (of sending the message)
- Subject (what is the subject line)
- Mailed-by (who mailed it)
- Signed-by (who signed it)
- Label (is the message labeled as important or not)
Let’s look closer at the “Security” section.
This shows the level of encryption. This is shown by one of three locks
- A gray lock means the email has Transport Layer Security (TLS)
- A green lock means that the email is protected with S/MIME encryption for which the recipient will need a private key to decrypt it.
- Finally, a red lock means that the email has no encryption and is not secure.
As a standard, Gmail uses TLS. For S/MIME, you need to have a G Suite account.
The problem with TLS is that it only protects data while in transit, meaning, from the sender to the email server.
It is not, however, end-to-end encryption. The email you send is protected only until the next mail hop and if additional servers are used to transfer data, then encryption is not guaranteed.
Both the sender and the recipient need to use a service that supports TLS. Once the message reaches its destination, the message is no longer protected and is exposed. For example, Google itself scans messages automatically for spam, but also targeted advertising.
So what’s the solution?
If you want end-to-end encryption with Gmail, the only way to get it is to use a 3rd-party service like SendSafely. This will allow you to send encrypted messages via Gmail using the PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) standard.
For this to work, the recipient will need to have a PGP system in place and your personal PGP key to be able to decrypt and open the message.
A Better Option for Your Email Encryption Needs
As you can see, standard Gmail encryption is not the best in the world and using a 3rd-party encryption service is also not the most ideal solution.
For native end-to-end encryption, you need to turn to an email encryption app like CTemplar.
CTemplar uses 4096-bit PGP end-to-end encryption. This way all your email data and conversations are protected both while in transit and at rest. Again, that’s not the case with Gmail.
We use open-source end-to-end encryption, which ensures that no one but the recipient won’t be able to read the message.
Not even someone from CTemplar would be able to see your message, not to mention hackers, snooping government agencies and other “nosy” third parties.
How does this work?
It’s very simple. All you have to do is sign up to CTemplar and you can create your own, completely custom email address with a CTemplar domain (@ctemplar.com).
You can then use this address to send secure and encrypted emails from the CTemplar web interface or via the CTemplar Android or iOS apps.
Furthermore, both your password and IP will be completely safe. We use Zero-Knowledge Password Protection ( even we won’t know your password), while your real IP is removed and replaced with CTemplar’s own IP.
And that’s just scratching the surface when it comes to the level of email protection and security that you get with CTemplar’s email encryption applications.
CTemplar also encrypts your email content, contacts, subject as well as attachments, ensuring that all your data is safe.
At the end of the day, do you need an email encryption app and how strong should it be?
If you’re thinking “I don’t send anything in my emails that I need to hide”, think again.
Whether you use email for private or business, email encryption is something everyone needs to keep their data safe online.
Maybe your email message is a simple “hey, let’s go get coffee next week”, but you still need encryption to keep your contacts, attachments and other data that email can reveal safe.
Email services like Gmail are notorious for their spying practices and don’t care much about your privacy. They’ll happily look at your messages and there’s almost nothing you can do about it if you continue using their service.
That’s why CTemplar offers a much better solution to your email privacy needs.