This is only going to be a brief post today, and something that’s pretty off-topic for me too, but it’s an important one because it’s about keeping yourself safe both on-line and off-line, when you use email.
1. Regular email is NOT secure.
Every email that you send or receive (unless it’s encrypted, more about that in a moment) travels across the internet in plain text. That means through millions of cables, servers and switches where anyone could read it – anyone. Do you really want that?
I mean if it’s just a cat meme okay, but a heartfelt love letter… or that drunken Friday night rant. Of course if it’s sensitive work or personal information, it could be much more serious.
2. Do you use HTTPS?
If you access your email through a web-browser, you should stop. It’s much less secure and you probably can’t encrypt it, which really is vital if you want to send or receive anything remotely sensitive.
However if you must use webmail, make sure that you are accessing it using a secure HTTPS connection (look for the padlock in your browser, and make sure that the web address is correct).
3. Use PGP/GPG encryption!
Even though it won’t stop people seeing who you’re exchanging emails with, it will stop them seeing what’s in the message. It’s easy to set up, easy to use (honest, don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise) and it really will help keep you safe.
For detailed instructions on how to install and use PGP encryption for your email, see:
- How to: Use PGP for Mac OS X (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
- How to: Use PGP for Windows (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
- How to: Use PGP for Linux (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
If you want to send me a PGP encrypted email, you’ll need my public key.
If you want a conversation to be properly safe and secure, there’s no substitute for meeting face-to-face and actually talking to someone. But if that’s just not possible, I use Telegram. You can get in touch with me on there by searching for @matsims.
However you choose to get in touch, I hope to talk to you soon 🙂