Although there is nothing particularly unsafe about email or Gmaill in particular, there is no doubting the fact that email security breaches occur on a daily basis across the world. Safe Gmail is a Google Chrome extension which allows you to totally encrypt your emails before sending them, thus protecting any sensitive content.
Encrypting your emails makes them completely inaccessible to your email service provider, as well as malicious and unauthorized interceptors of the message.
What’s more is, Safe Gmail remains encrypted once sent, meaning only your intended recipient can read the content, as soon as they correctly answer a pre-set security question. Additionally, an automatic expiry date eventually deletes the email for both you and the recipient, removing it from existence completely.
How to use Safe Gmail to encrypt your e-mails in Chrome
To install the Safe Gmail extension, simply visit their Google Chrome extension download page and hit “Add to Chrome.” Once you have successfully downloaded the extension, the developers suggest that you restart Google Chrome entirely for the extension to integrate properly with your browser.
Now that you have downloaded the extension and restarted your browser, you’re all set to start using Smart Gmail. To send your first encrypted message, head over to your Gmail account and compose a new email.
As shown in the image above, two new options should now be made available to you when composing an email using Gmail. By clicking the “Encrypt” button at the top of the page, encryption options further down will reveal themselves, allowing you to set a security question which only your recipient will know the answer to. Without answering this question, your recipient will not be able to access your encrypted message.
Now that you have encrypted the email, your content will be hidden and to all those who try to access it. Instead, it will be replaced by a special code which acts as a verification key at a later stage. To access the content, both you and your recipient will need to click a link in the email, as displayed in the image below.
Once your recipient has opened the link, they will be presented with the security question which you set before sending your encrypted email. The level of security offered at this stage depends entirely on the strength of your chosen question. Ideally, you should aim to ask a question which only the intended recipient of your email would know the answer to.
Having answered the question correctly, your recipient will then be prompted to paste the encrypted message content into the text box. This is in reference to the code which acts as a verification key which was detailed earlier.
After the recipient copy and pastes the code and clicks, “Show my mail,” the decrypted message, which you intended your recipient to see, will finally be displayed as text.
So there you have it – a fully encrypted email securely delivered away from prying eyes. Safe Gmail works with any email service provider, offering PGP-esque (Pretty Good Privacy) security throughout the email process. The auto-delete option which activates after several days after delivery also ensures maximum privacy for both the sender and the recipient.
The limitations of Safe Gmail
Despite Safe Gmail’s extensive and impressive security features, the extension also has some flaws and limitations which are worth discussing.
For example, Safe Gmail does not give you the option to customize the time in which your email should delete itself from existence. One must rely solely on the built-in feature which takes several days. The process is also not an automated one. In order for the recipient to see the message, he must manually copy and paste the code into a separate window, despite already answering the security question.
Additionally, Safe Gmail does not have the ability to encrypt attachments. Although encrypting email content is handy, attachments usually contain information which needs to be kept under extra security. Safe Gmail offers no such protection.
Finally, Safe Gmail is not compatible with the latest versions of Google Chrome. In order to use the extension, one has no choice but to downgrade their Chrome browser in order to match the dated requirements of the extension.
Download Safe Gmail