Five Apps: Encrypt your emails for free

Five free apps for encrypting email

This gallery is also available as a TechRepublic article.

There are those that claim encryption is dead. Not so, says many small and medium sized businesses across the globe. There are plenty of reasons why you might need to encrypt an outgoing email – just as many reasons as there are ways. Whether you are using an email client or a web-based email solution, you can encrypt your email. I have searched for some of the easier (and free) means to successfully get those outgoing emails wrapped in a warm blanket of secrecy.

With the exception of one, these tools serve a singular purpose - to encrypt email messages. Each of them offers a fairly straight-forward learning curve that anyone should be able to get up to speed with quickly. That said, let's dive in and see what each of these tools can do for your encryption needs.

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A Thunderbird plugin makes sense, a Gmail extension does not.  

https transmissions aren't secure if the handshakes can be intercepted.  

Encryption isn't of much value if you do the encrypting online.  If the original document must be composed or translated online, it is vulnerable in its plain text form -online.  

If keys are created online, they are vulnerable in two ways.  Their implementation of algorithms probably have master keys.   If the created keys are in displayed in plain text form , since the mac address of the end device can be easily determined, the key and sender are known.

When it comes to information security:  good, easy, inexpensive, pick any one. 


Don't forget GPG Tools for those using Apple's Mail program on their Macs.  There is a slight learning curve, but the installation finishes by opening a step by step tutorial to walk you through it.  I set it up so I could send emails at work without being allowing the SysAdmin, or any random school board member to read them (I work in a public school).  It is easy enough for anyone to learn once installed ("honey, click this button when you send me an email") and is secure enough for anything short of state secrets.


@psengr_techrep Not so.  GMail can be encrypted client-side before it's sent to Google.  You aren't encrypting "online" you are encrypting in your browser locally.

I also disagree that you are limited to one of good, easy and inexpensive.  Good algorithms exist and are free, making encryption easy and inexpensive.