Since its inception in 2013, ProtonMail has started to catch the attention of the general public more prominently in recent times. This secure email service, the brainchild of Max Schrems, a physicist from CERN, came into being as a result of inspiration Schrems got from perusing the accounts of NSA surveillance detailed in the memoirs of Edward Snowden.
The company responsible for ProtonMail, based in Germany, secured over $1 million in investments from Y Combinator. This financial boost contributed to it going public on the New York Stock Exchange the previous year. Andy Yen, who has now taken the helm as CEO and is known for his previous tenure at Google X working on initiatives such as Project Loon and autonomous vehicles, caused a stir in Silicon Valley. He made headlines with his proposal to introduce a privacy-centric rival to Gmail.
How does this function? Specifically, what are the benefits of registering with ProtonMail? Additionally, is there cause for alarm regarding potential security compromises at this early-stage company? Below, we provide responses to these queries and details on the possibility of ProtonMail being a viable alternative to Gmail.
It's challenging to make a conclusive statement, as there is a scarcity of recorded instances of breaches into ProtonMail accounts. However, this should not suggest that such intrusions are non-existent. In the event of a successful hack into your account, the intruder could potentially gain entry to all the contents of your inbox. Moreover, if your account holds delicate information, there's a risk it could also be disseminated via additional means.
Should you have concerns about becoming a victim of hacking, it's advisable to consider employing a VPN prior to registering for any online services. A VPN is designed to secure your web activity by encrypting your connection, ensuring that outsiders cannot monitor the websites you access. It also allows you to navigate the web anonymously, keeping your site visits private. However, you should still verify that the websites you frequent are not dropping cookies onto your computer.
Furthermore, there is a belief among certain individuals that employing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) offers greater security compared to solely relying on a website's Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. While an SSL certificate confirms the authenticity of the site you are visiting, it does not ensure that the site operator's password is secure from theft. By utilizing a VPN, you can safeguard yourself from both scenarios.
Certainly! ProtonMail acknowledges that a majority of people are acquainted with Gmail due to its exceptional user interface. Despite this, there are a number of notable distinctions between ProtonMail and Gmail. Let's explore a few significant differences:
You can read messages offline
Gmail necessitates an active internet connection each time you access an email. Conversely, ProtonMail permits you to save your emails on your device and peruse them at your leisure. Additionally, it seamlessly synchronizes calendars across various gadgets.
Your mailboxes stay private
Gmail allows all users to observe one another's public email exchanges. If you choose to share specific directories, they can also access your discussions. Conversely, ProtonMail guarantees total confidentiality for your email accounts. Your coworkers will not be able to pry into your mail unless you deliberately include them in your contact list.
There's better spam protection
ProtonMail actively works to eliminate undesirable content from its emails, such as advertisements. It automatically filters out connections to inappropriate material, malicious software, viruses, and deceptive phishing attempts.
There's a desktop app.
Another significant benefit that distinguishes ProtonMail from rivals such as Yahoo Mail and Microsoft Outlook is the ability to install a less resource-intensive version of the application directly on your PC or Mac, enabling more convenient use wherever you travel.
A new beta function offers a secure method for storing documents.
ProtonMail ensures the security of your documents by offering an experimental File Storage service. This function lets you manage your crucial files directly from your email inbox, with capabilities to upload, modify, and remove files. Any modifications you make are instantly synchronized with your primary account.
Another feature worth noting is the option to send immediate messages through text messages. Although messaging applications such as WhatsApp and Signal provide comparable functions, they necessitate the creation of distinct accounts specifically for texting.
ProtonMail undoubtedly offers advantages, but it may not be time to switch over to it immediately. To date, there have been no known breaches of ProtonMail's servers. However, this fact alone should not lead to full confidence in the service.
Initially, be aware that ProtonMail maintains a copy of all your emails and contact lists on their servers. Therefore, should any incident occur that affects those servers, your data could be irrevocably lost. Additionally, ProtonMail does not offer a backup service for your emails or contacts, which means that if something is deleted by mistake, there's no way to retrieve it.
Alternatively, there remains the possibility that a security violation might happen regardless. Indeed, Yahoo recently experienced a significant loss of several million user records, while Facebook endured a substantial cyberattack the previous year.
Additionally, ProtonMail is missing many fundamental features that are typically included in conventional webmail services. For example, when you get a new email, you are required to actively click on ProtonMail's provided link to access the message rather than it being automatically recorded in your browser's history.
Ultimately, ProtonMail allows for only two concurrent sessions per account. Therefore, if you attempt to access Google Docs while you are already logged into Gmail, you are likely to encounter obstacles.
Despite your belief that the chances of data loss might be minimal, there is a potential for ProtonMail to emerge as the leading email service globally. TechCrunch reports that the service currently has a user base of 1.5 million active users per month from around the world. This figure is anticipated to soar to 10 million with the release of its mobile application later this year.
Certainly, all of this is irrelevant if ProtonMail were to close its doors unexpectedly due to monetary issues. However, this scenario seems improbable in the near future. As of May 2018, the firm has secured $200 million from investors. With such financial backing, it is expected that the company will become profitable in a short period of time.
Certainly, ProtonMail appears to be on track to potentially surpass Gmail in the future. Its success will significantly hinge on the company's ability to enhance its offerings in the coming years.
Currently, you can be confident that ProtonMail provides enhanced security over Gmail. Moreover, it offers encouragement that our private information, including our emails, will remain safe from online security breaches.
Looking for additional advice? Explore our resources on Professional Email Usage and the Price of Privacy.
If you are in the market for a new email service or considering a change from Gmail or Yahoo!, consider giving ProtonMail a shot. It's quick and straightforward to get started, and it offers additional features such as secure messaging, calendars, and other tools, all without any advertisements. For those unfamiliar with ProtonMail, here are four key points you should be aware of regarding this email service provider.
When deciding on a new email provider, the initial factor to take into account is our confidence in the platform to securely handle our emails. Having experienced online security breaches before, particularly with Hotmail, I've become cautious about entrusting my data to firms that profit from it. Given this, what reasons might someone have for opting for ProtonMail over widely used alternatives such as Google Apps, Microsoft 365, or Office365?
To begin with, ProtonMail maintains its commitment to privacy by not depending exclusively on user data. The company refrains from keeping any kind of personal data like full names, home addresses, contact numbers, payment card details, images, or any other sensitive information that might put user confidentiality at risk. What it retains are merely encrypted forms of such data, implying that they are inaccessible unless one manages to penetrate the very server where they are stored.
Secondly, ProtonMail implements numerous defensive measures against surveillance. Initially, the entire website operates on HTTPS (a protocol aimed at thwarting interception of data). Additionally, each user account is secured with two-factor authentication, requiring not just a password but also another form of verification that is unique to the individual user to gain entry to their emails. Furthermore, all documents within the user's email storage are encrypted for added security.ProtonMail's servers are situated beyond the borders of mainland China, which means that should the Chinese authorities choose to block access to websites—an action that has affected major platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Apple, and Pinterest in recent times—you will still be able to access your emails irrespective of the local censorship decisions. .
When it comes to its capabilities, ProtonMail offers a range of essentials such as an easily navigable inbox, sophisticated sorting features, compatibility with IMAP and POP3, an unrestricted number of accounts for each domain, and plenty more useful tools. The service also has mobile applications available for both Apple and Android users. With all these advantages, one might wonder why it doesn't rank among the top 100 options in competition with Gmail. So, let's explore the reasons...
Regarding basic email capabilities, ProtonMail outperforms the majority of its competitors. It offers support for POP3/IMAP4 and SMTP protocols, as well as Sieve scripting and secure SSL/TLS connections. Additionally, ProtonMail is compatible with OAuth 2.0, utilizes email validation systems such as DKIM, SPF, and DMARC, and supports encryption standards like PGP and OpenPGP. On the instant messaging front, it supports XMPP. It also adopts advanced internet security standards with DANE TLS and DNSSEC, is ready for IPv6, and offers a multilingual interface. Users can enjoy built-in spam filtering, personalizable themes, calendar features, the ability to import contacts, personalized signatures, HTML templates for emails, an auto-response function, and a plethora of other features.
Moreover, there are bonus features included. ProtonMail provides numerous advanced capabilities beyond what you would expect from a standard email service, which typically includes only essential options such as attachment sending, saving contacts, and organizing events. ProtonMail offers a suite of supplementary tools such as the ability to view documents, read PDFs, edit spreadsheets, play videos, browse images, take notes, record audio, and synchronize contacts, among others. Furthermore, it comes with a secure browser plugin and desktop applications compatible with a variety of operating systems and devices, including Windows, Mac OSX, Linux, ChromeOS, browsers like Opera, Firefox, Safari, and a range of mobile devices such as iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android, BlackBerry, and Nokia Symbian handsets. Plus, it’s important to highlight that this service is completely free of advertisements.
It appears that ProtonMail is a favorite among many users. Below are a few excerpts from recent positive feedback provided by happy clients:
"ProtonMail.com is my favorite for its speed, dependability, and user-friendly design." – Kevin G., from the United States.
"Jason M. from Canada suggests that there is an optimal method to ensure secure communication across a standard internet connection."
"This is the ideal option for me." — Tim B., from the United Kingdom
"I've used many email services and this one is superior. It functions flawlessly, has a user-friendly design, and offers outstanding customer service!" — Peter T., from Germany
"[...] an extraordinary experience. I haven't encountered any glitches, interruptions in service, or any other issues at all since I started using ProtonMail." — David C., from the United States.
In my opinion, ProtonMail is exceptionally effective, and I can't foresee myself switching to a different service in the near future. In terms of offering the top free encrypted communication platform on the market, they are clearly leading the pack. — Chris K., Australia
"Without a doubt, my top choice for an email service is..." — Jeff E., from the USA.
"Steve A. from the United Kingdom describes this as the quickest, most potent, and simplest email substitute available."
"[...] setting it up is straightforward, and it has a sleek and expert appearance." — Andrew W., from the United States.
ProtonMail's website features testimonials from a multitude of satisfied customers, but the tangible evidence of its success is reflected in its download figures. Data from App Annie reveals that in 2015, ProtonMail saw 8 million downloads globally. Despite being ranked eighth in overall position, it has still amassed over double the number of downloads compared to its closest rival, Tutanota.It's logical to think that ProtonMail's wide range of features and user-friendly design contribute to its popularity. However, it's also worth mentioning that Tutanota does not provide any free plans either.
Although ProtonMail's cost might appear steep when stacked against rivals such as Tutanota at $10 per year, Zoho Mail at $5 per month, Fastmail at $20 per year, Outlook Web Access at $25 per year, and Mailfence at $7 per year, it is actually quite a bargain compared to similar premium service providers. ProtonMail is over 50% less expensive than the most affordable plan from Google Apps, which begins at $50 per user annually. Plus, unlike Fastmail which caps at 5GB of storage, ProtonMail offers enough space to ensure you won't run out, giving you ample capacity for expansion.
Additionally, ProtonMail offers a range of complimentary extras, such as a safe web browser add-on and desktop applications compatible with various platforms like Windows, Mac OSX, Linux, ChromeOS, and browsers like Firefox and Safari, as well as mobile apps for devices including iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android, Blackberry, and Nokia Symbian smartphones. Taken as a whole, ProtonMail has successfully developed a comprehensive online email service. Quite impressive for an open-source initiative entirely staffed by volunteers!
Alright, you're now fully briefed on all the essentials regarding ProtonMail. However, if your curiosity leans more towards gaining insights into the organization that created ProtonMail, rather than the service itself, continue reading to delve into information about the individuals responsible for ProtonMail!
Who is the owner of ProtonMail, and who initiated its creation? How long has ProtonMail been operational, and what are the core principles driving the platform? The company's founders, where did their journey begin, and what prompted their collaboration? Can you provide details on their age, language proficiency, and current countries of residence? What do they enjoy doing in their spare time? Have they collaborated professionally in any capacity prior to this venture? What educational backgrounds do they have, including the institutions they attended? Is the financial backbone of ProtonMail provided by private investors or venture capital firms? In terms of philanthropy, do the founders engage in financial donations to any causes? Are they currently in marital unions, and does ProtonMail function as a family-oriented entity with offspring? Could you shed light on how frequently they venture outside their home country for travel? Lastly, what nature of work occupies their daily professional life?
A multitude of questions, including the ones mentioned and many others, are ready for you to respond to down below!
ProtonMail is recognized as the leading provider of secure encrypted email services. Established in 2014, it didn't gain widespread recognition until 2017, following Edward Snowden's disclosure of his identity through an interview with The Intercept. From that point, champions of privacy have highly recommended the service as a top-notch platform for protecting confidential emails from unauthorized scrutiny.
This isn't solely about ensuring that conversations remain confidential. There's additional depth to this website than initially apparent. ProtonMail offers a variety of features beyond the basic email functionality. Here are a few examples of what else you can do with it.
ProtonMail distinguishes itself from other email services such as Gmail or Yahoo! by prioritizing user security and privacy. In contrast to companies like Google or Microsoft, which rely on common standards like POP3/IMAP4 for receiving and SMTP for sending emails, ProtonMail operates using its own unique protocols. These protocols, known as SPKM and SRP, were developed in-house by ProtonMail to provide complete privacy while still ensuring they work smoothly with current software and systems.
ProtonMail sets itself apart from others by collecting less user information. Unlike Google, which has extensive knowledge of its users due to their data being saved on its servers, ProtonMail does not gather any personal identifying details. It only logs IP addresses and the times corresponding with activities conducted on its service. Furthermore, ProtonMail ensures that once messages are deleted, they are permanently removed without leaving any remnants.
This method of safeguarding user confidentiality ensures that a hacker breaking into ProtonMail’s servers would not be able to access any user's emails without previously having the correct login information. Moreover, since the system does not maintain any duplicates of data, such as messages, it would be impossible to determine whether the hacker was able to view any sensitive material.
ProtonMail enhances its commitment to user privacy by introducing the ability for users to establish multiple distinct identities within a single account. This feature ensures that users can create separate accounts for different members of the family without the risk of intermingling personal information. All the separate identities can be managed and viewed within the Settings under "Account Identities".
You may question the necessity of having various personas, particularly if you have no plans to distribute your email address. This is where PGP proves beneficial. PGP allows you to secure whole directories filled with numerous messages, regardless of their actual position on the drive. If someone needs to access these messages, they must decrypt them on their own.Without the matching decryption keys, she will be unable to access the content. . Moreover, PGP provides the capability to sign your outgoing emails, ensuring that recipients indeed receive the message without encountering an error message that states, "this isn't signed!"
ProtonMail sets itself apart from other email services by not offering mobile device support, a choice driven by the superior user experience that dedicated applications provide. The rationale is analogous to preferring not to lug around a USB drive constantly; rather, you would opt for a streamlined app directly on your mobile phone for ease of use.
As indicated earlier, ProtonMail is mostly intended for business-related correspondence. Nonetheless, it's worth mentioning that this service works with both Windows 10 and MacOS platforms, making it appropriate for personal use as well.
If you're an IT professional or a small business owner, you likely consider yourself diligent in safeguarding sensitive materials and data. However, what is your plan if those items are misplaced? Are you confident in the security of cloud storage services such as Dropbox or Box? Alternatively, you might have concerns regarding the reliability of internet backup options offered by external companies, including Spideroak or Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage.What sort of assurances can one anticipate from these organizations? For what duration is their reliability?
A strategy to avoid these problems is to implement a personal backup system, granting you full command of your data. ProtonMail's goal is to provide this through its File Service feature currently in beta testing. With this service, you have the ability to upload files straight from your PC or retrieve them from afar. Any files you transmit stay private until they are delivered to the intended recipient.Absolutely no one is capable of discovering the specific locations on your hard drive where certain data is stored. . Even if they successfully breach your computer's security, they won't be able to interfere with anything associated with ProtonMail. .
Beyond its essential file storage services, ProtonMail distinguishes itself with a couple of unique functionalities. Firstly, it allows for the seamless integration of contacts from well-known social platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and others, enabling their conversion into a straightforward text format. Secondly, it provides the option to include personalized fields in your contact records. This feature gives you the capability to append additional information to the individuals you correspond with, akin to labeling your acquaintances.
Additionally, ProtonMail has unveiled its intent to launch multi-signature wallets. These will enable users to amalgamate multiple public keys into one wallet, with each signature signifying a separate individual who participates in the control of the funds.
Let's now address the issue of unwanted emails. In modern times, sending emails to people you don't know is often seen as a gamble. People are more comfortable reaching out to those who show up on search engine results, as opposed to those who are completely unfamiliar to them. ProtonMail tackles the problem of junk email by incorporating several anti-spam features. A key strategy in their arsenal is the deployment of machine learning techniques.Every time a new message is received, the system examines previous instances of identified spam and contrasts them with the present message. . Following an assessment, the AI determines if the sender should be permanently blocked. .
Even though precise statistics are not available at this time, it is understood that ProtonMail has a global user base consisting of several million active individuals. The team responsible for the service has indicated that it attracts around 1 million distinct visitors each month.
To serve as a benchmark, below is a compilation of German-based websites that attracted a larger number of visitors than ProtonMail in the month of April 2018:
Other noteworthy statistics:
Over fifty percent of the users of ProtonMail are based in Europe.
Forty percent of all subscribers are individuals who speak German.
The typical ProtonMail user is 34 years of age.
On average, users dedicate about 11 hours each week to managing their accounts.
Currently, ProtonMail has a full-time workforce consisting of 515 individuals.
Even with its remarkable technical features and increasing user base, ProtonMail is generally viewed as a product for professional use. The creators frequently tout it as a 'safe' substitute for Gmail. However, while it provides strong encryption options, it is not designed for everyday casual usage.
Nonetheless, considering that ProtonMail can be effectively employed for private correspondence, it's sensible to ponder whether adopting its use is a worthwhile decision. In a world where the importance of individual privacy is paramount and where our communications ought to be shielded from unauthorized scrutiny, ProtonMail appears to be a promising option for secure email. So, what's holding us back from experimenting with it?
We trust you found pleasure in perusing this piece. Should you wish to delve deeper into safeguarding your online presence, we encourage you to explore the resources listed below.
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