Sunday, February 5

How to know if your Gmail emails are safe and encrypted | Digital Trends Spanish


Do you know if your communications in Gmail are secure? You probably assume that because it is one of the main messaging services, your emails are protected. But are you sure? We will explain how to know if your Gmail emails are safe and what to do to protect them.

How encryption works in Gmail

If you use the free version of Gmail, your messages are protected with Transport Layer Security (TLS), a standard encryption protocol that Google uses to encrypt messages.

The TLS protocol helps ensure privacy between communicating apps and users during email delivery. What does TLS do? When a server and a client communicate, it ensures that no third party can access or alter the messages.

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For the protocol to work, both the sender’s and receiver’s delivery service must use it. Regardless, most major providers support TLS. But if the person you’re emailing doesn’t have access to a server with TLS, the message won’t be encrypted.

On the other hand, if you use Google Workplace (formerly known as GSuite), this payment service offers a variety of encryption options, among which S/MIME stands out, a protocol that encrypts emails with keys that can only be decrypted and read by recipients

Like TLS, both sender and receiver must have the S/MIME protocol enabled on their accounts.

How to increase protection in free Gmail

a woman happy because she learned how to bulk delete emails in Gmail

Although the TLS protocol guarantees you a basic dose of security, you can increase the protection of your emails with third-party solutions, among which are:

FlowCrypt

FlowCrypt offers simple end-to-end encryption to protect your email and attachments on Google using OpenPGP, an email encryption standard. It works as a Chrome extension that adds a secure compose button to Gmail, so you can send encrypted emails.

FlowCrypt for Chrome

virtu

If you want to protect the emails you send through Gmail, Virtru only offers a plugin for the Chrome browser. It allows you to turn encryption on or off whenever you want, and it works with “keyless” encryption that makes it easier for recipients. The basic version is 100 percent free.

Virtu for Chrome

How to check if your email is encrypted

emails electronic mail
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  • Start composing a message.
  • Add the recipients in the “To” field.
  • To the right of the recipients, you’ll see a lock icon that shows the level of encryption that the recipients of the message support. If there are multiple users with different encryption levels, the icon will display the lowest encryption status.
  • To get more information about the level of encryption for recipients or change the S/MIME settings, click the padlock and select See details.

How to check if a message you received is encrypted

  • Open a message.
  • On an Android device: press See details and then See security details.
  • On an iPhone or iPad: press See details.
  • You will see a colored lock icon that shows the level of encryption that was used to send the message, with the following characteristics:
    • Green (enhanced encryption or S/MIME): is the appropriate level for sensitive information. Only the recipient who has the corresponding key can decrypt the message.
    • Gray (TLS standard encryption): This is the appropriate level for most messages. TLS is used for messages exchanged with other email services that don’t support S/MIME.
    • Red (no encryption) – This is unencrypted email, which is not secure.

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