If Your Emails Are Being Watched, These Simple Steps Will Help You Manage Your Privacy & Security

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Guest Author: Ambika Choudhary Mahajan

If you thought that your emails and the information inside them are safe as long as your account does not get hacked, it’s time for a nasty shock. Many governments across the world admit (some of them openly so) to snooping in on emails exchanged between people for various reasons, mainly for reasons of defence and internal security.

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If you thought that was legit, Wait! Google also reads each and every email text you send and receive. The information it collects from intercepting your email messages is then stored in its huge databases, so that it can help Google position its ads better.

When Google CEO was confronted with the question, this is what he said “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place ”.

Google is NOT alone. Other search engines like Verizon, Yahoo and Sprint are also doing the same.

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Now while you might like to believe that you actually have nothing to hide when you finalize terms and conditions with your business partner or discuss your business volume, you surely wouldn’t want these confidential facts and figures to land into the hands of IT department, for example. Agencies like these have been known to create special software to keep a tab on the information being exchanged over Internet.

Fret not! You can maintain your confidentiality over email by sending encrypted emails.

8 Simple Steps To Encrypt Your Emails

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There are various browser apps and extensions, which can help you send encrypted messages. One of the easiest to use is SecureGmail. It is extremely user friendly and even a non-techie can manage it comfortably.

The best thing about SecureGmail is the fact that it encrypts messages even before they are sent and these messages can be then decrypted only with a password. Moreover, the service is completely free.

The only limitation: the app is compatible only with Google Chrome. Both you and your mail recipient have to be Chrome users to be able to use this. Other browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer do not, unfortunately, support SecureGmail.

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Follow these simple steps to get started:

step 1

step 1
Download the SecureGmail app. 

step 2

step 2

When you log in to your Gmail id, after you have downloaded the app, you will see a small red square to the right of your Compose button, as shown in the picture. 

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Step 3

Step 3
You can continue sending messages like before if you care lesser about the confidentiality of your data, but if you want to send a message that cannot be deciphered by an unauthorized recipient, then click on this red square before you start composing your message. 

step 4

step 4

Type and compose your email message like you would normally do, after filling the recipient’s name.

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Step 5

Step 5

1.       After you are done, click on the ‘Send encrypted’ button at the bottom-left (hand) corner.

You will then be asked to choose a password for this message; choose the one that is easy to remember yet strong.

This picture below explains everything:

 

Another good thing about SecureGmail is that even if you choose to save your message as a draft; it will not be saved on to Google’s database without being encrypted. 

Step 6

Step 6

.       If you want to see how your encrypted message will look like to a person whom it’s not meant for, check your Sent folder.

This is what an encrypted message usually looks like:

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step 7

step 7

1.     When your email reaches the recipient’s inbox, he/ she will see the same message as above.


He/ she will not be able to view your message until he installs SecureGmail on their Google Chrome browser. 

Step 8

Step 8

1.     After installing SecureGmail, they can view your message by clicking on the ‘Decrypt message’ tab and providing the password you have shared.


 

For safety reasons, it’s best not to share this password via email or IM (sms, whatsapp, chaton, etc).

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