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In our first doodle video, we explained how to set up PGP and how to encrypt your e-mails with it. Still, many Internet users are not concerned with security and will keep sending you non-encrypted e-mails that are vulnerable to snooping by third parties.
Many providers claim to be storing their users’ e-mails on encrypted hard drives. While this may suggest security, it actually means very little in practice. In order for the server to work, the hard drive needs to be remain open without encryption during operation – around the clock. No matter if it’s hackers, the government, or your provider: Whoever has access to the server also has access to your e-mails. The only way for your data to be safe would be to turn off the mail server.
mailbox.org is the first provider to have developed a system that can store your e-mails in an encrypted state during running operation, ensuring no one else can access them.
Without your Private Key, nobody can read the contents of your e-mails – not even us here at mailbox.org. Of course, there still is a risk that the e-mail may have been intercepted before it arrived at our server. This is unavoidable for as long as people keep sending each other non-encrypted e-mails. However, as soon as an e-mail reaches your mailbox, it’s secure. This may be more important than you’d first think; if you are storing e-mails over several years, there are many opportunities where third parties might attempt to access them. That’s something we can put a stop to now.
All this is described step-by-step on mailbox.org.
Encrypted e-mails cannot be read on your smartphone or within the webmail client without your Private Key. This may be inconvenient when you’re on the road or on vacation. To address this issue, mailbox.org will soon be offering to store your Private Key on our server, thus enabling you to access your e-mails from anywhere. Of course, it seems to defeat the purpose to hand over your Private Key to someone else. Some would even describe this as irresponsible, and we don’t think it’s ideal either. But it is still a lot more secure than sending mails without any encryption at all.
And storing a key on a highly secure server at mailbox.org may actually be less risky than leaving it on an unprotected computer at home. But be aware that if your Private Key is held on our server, it could theoretically be accessed by us. You should make sure to protect it doubly well by using a strong password. Maximum security or more convenience in day-to-day use – ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which is more important.