Virtru Security Insights

Should I Use Email Encryption Software?

Should I Use Email Encryption Software

Email encryption software and other security tools get a lot of coverage, but most of it has to do with crime or defense. If a criminal uses encryption to hide their misdeeds, a bank loses user data because of a security flaw, or a foreign hacker gang breaks into an encrypted cloud to steal state secrets, you’ll probably hear about it, but when it comes to individual encryption, there’s a lot less news.

Based on this skewed coverage, it’s easy to conclude that using email encryption is unimportant — or even suspicious or dangerous — for ordinary users. Nothing could be further from the truth. Using encrypted email is one of the smartest (and easiest) steps you can take to protect your rights, safety, and digital community.

 

Why You Should Use Email Encryption Software

Email Encryption Software Protects You From Cyber Criminals

Cyber criminals have gotten very sophisticated in their ability to target consumers. These attacks often go way beyond simple identity theft — they may use information about your schedule, contacts, and interests to rob your bank account, attack your friends and family, target your employer, or all of the above.

Email encryption software prevents hackers from intercepting and exploiting your unencrypted emails and exploiting your information. That provides protection against everything from simple theft to complex vectors like the BEC attack.

Email Encryption Software Protects You From Spying

Both the government and your email provider may have access to your communications. Many email service providers routinely harvest data from users’ emails in order to show ads. They’ll scan your emails for info such as your interests, purchases, opinions, or even health issues to market products to you.

This in itself is a big problem if you deal with confidential information such as HIPAA PHI. However, for some users, this might seem pretty innocuous — after all, it’s not like someone is actually reading your emails, right?

The problem is, there’s really no way to know. The government has vast power to scan the emails of innocent people — power they’ve abused before. In 2015, U.S. intelligence officials made Yahoo! build a program to scan all incoming email for a set of keywords. Any Yahoo! user whose emails contained one of those keywords had their messages read by intelligence officials — even if they (like the vast majority of users) had done nothing wrong or illegal.

And it’s not like Yahoo! is a hotbed of crime or terrorism — if intelligence officials wanted to scan Yahoo! messages, there’s a good chance they’re doing the same to your email provider. Without email encryption software, all your private messages are an open book.

Email Encryption Software Protects Your Civil Liberties

Governments are not infallible. Corruption, bad leaders, bad laws, and the suppression of civil liberties can breed totalitarianism, no matter how strong a democracy looks on paper. When that happens, citizens need to be able to organize and stand up for their rights.

But you can’t organize opposition when the government is constantly watching everything you do. Since 2001, the United States government has normalized greater and greater degrees of surveillance. Our computers, our browsers, our smartphones, and even our televisions and cars have been turned into tools of surveillance. This makes it all but impossible to discuss corruption, propose better laws, or organize opposition without government agencies knowing what we’re up to.

There’s no easy fix to this, but email encryption software is part of the solution. Not only does encryption protect your individual messages, it also helps stop the normalization of surveillance. The more citizens use email encryption software, the harder it is for government agencies to treat it as a dangerous or subversive activity. That means you’ll have a way to communicate privately when you need it.

Email Encryption Software Lets You Undo Mistakes

Everyone makes a big email mistake sooner or later. Mistype an address, or press send without thinking, and you’ve messaged a coworker about your medical problems instead of your doctor, or accidentally forwarded a private conversation to the wrong person.

Most encryption service providers can’t undo your mistake, but Virtru can. Virtru Pro email encryption software lets you recall an email at any point. Click on the red, hand-shaped icon, and Virtru will rescind the encryption key, preventing the recipient from reading the message in the future — even if they’ve already read it.

Email Encryption Software Protects Your Community

No one likes being spied on or being vulnerable to data thieves, yet most people don’t use email encryption software — in part because most email encryption service providers don’t make it easy. Typically, to encrypt an email, both you and your recipient need to have encryption software, along with a separate login ID and password, and many require a lot more than that. No one wants to have to jump through all those hoops just to read an email, so most don’t bother.

Virtru email encryption software is the easiest solution for both the sender and the recipient. Once installed, it’s pretty much automatic — incoming encrypted emails are decrypted automatically, outgoing messages just take a click. Recipients without Virtru will get a link to the Virtru Secure Reader, which will decrypt the message and let them send an encrypted reply without creating a new login or installing anything.

By using Virtru email encryption software, you’re not just protecting your communications — you’re also sharing an easy method your friends, family and coworkers can use to protect their own email privacy. And slowly, one user at a time, that makes everyone safer.

Email Encryption Software: The Beginning of a Safer Future

Adopting an email encryption application is a great first step to protecting your digital safety and privacy. Use these resources to help you plan your next step:

Virtru Encryption: How it Works
Private Email: 5 Tips for Keeping Your Email Secure
How to Use Email Encryption on Your Smartphone or Tablet