So which mail should i use while communicating with my new Dark Net market place vendor? I mean, the fact that we have PGP will help us with while chatting anonymously with our Deep web market vendor, but we really should use some anonymous email for that purpose exactly.
So, let’s talk Protonmail – encrypted email!
ProtonMail is a web-based encryption email program that originally comes for free and now offers paid accounts with added features. It used to be invite only but it already opened its doors to the public in March 2016, so everyone can now create an account and use the service even without an invitation. Wei Sun, Andy Yen and Jason Stockman founded this service in 2013. Its servers are located in Switzerland making them outside the jurisdictions of EU and the United States.
It is also not covered by the Swiss Federal Act on the Surveillance of Postal and Telecommunications Traffic. This is a law concerning the interception of the Swiss government on electronic communications. It uses end to end encryption ensuring messages are secured and that only the intended recipients read them.
ProtonMail Account Creation and Login
You need to sign up for a ProtonMail account so you could start using the service. What’s good about this one is that unlike other regular email programs like Gmail and Yahoo, it doesn’t require several information for you to get setup. It’s fast and easy to create an account. You would be asked for a username and password. You would also need another password for your mailbox. The latter is not saved on their server so they do not have access to it. You are the only one with access to your mailbox password. The advantage of this is that it’s more secured since you know that even the people from ProtonMail cannot access your mailbox password and messages. However, the drawback is that it cannot also be reset since as mentioned, they do not know it in the first place. You need to make sure that you remember this password and that only you know it. Here’s how to create a ProtonMail account.
- Go to https://protonmail.com/ and click Sign Up.
- Review the Pricing Plans and choose the one that you prefer.
- Enter the needed information including your username. If you chose to create a free account, your domain would be protonmail.com and that, together with your chosen username would be your email address too.
- Enter your preferred login password and confirm.
- Type in your chosen mailbox password and confirm. This is the password that you would use for decrypting your messages. As mentioned, this password cannot be reset so make sure that you remember it.
- Adding a recovery email is optional. However, it’s recommended that you put one so that you can reset your login password in case you forgot it. Note that this is only for resetting forgotten login password and not your mailbox password.
- Click Create an Account.
- Verify that you are human through email, reCAPTCHA or SMS. The quickest is reCAPTCHA as you just need to click a box to let them know you are human and complete the account creation.
- Click Complete Setup.
After the sign up process, you would be automatically signed in to your account. You will receive emails from ProtonMail welcoming you to their service, as well as giving you helpful information to get started. Click on the drop down arrow on your username on the upper right side of your mailbox page and click Logout to log off your account. Log back in anytime by going to https://mail.protonmail.com/login, typing in your username and password, then your mailbox password. If you forgot your password or username, click the Need Help link on the login page. Click Reset Password or Forgot Username on the box that pops up.
To reset your password, enter your username and recovery email on the appropriate field and click Reset Login Password. You will be sent a code to your recovery email that you could use for resetting your login password.
To recover your username, enter your recovery email and click Email Me My Username(s). Your usernames would be sent to the recovery email you provided.
Available Pricing Plans
There are currently three pricing plans available from ProtonMail. They are the Basic account, which is free, Plus that’s available for 4.00 € a month or 48.00 a year € and Visionary, which is at 24.00 € per month or 288.00 € per year. These plans have their own features, which we will list below. Note that those who are on free plans can upgrade to paid plans anytime. You could also donate by going to https://protonmail.com/donate. Donations can be made using PayPal or Bitcoins.
- Limited customer support
- 150 messages cap per day
- Storage is up to 500MB
- Only one address
- Up to 20 labels
- Customer support
- Up to 200 labels
- Maximum 1000 messages each day
- With 5 addresses
- Up to 5GB storage
- One customized or personalized domain
- Top priority for customer support
- Labels are unlimited
- Sending of messages is also unlimited
- Up to 50 addresses
- 10 customized or personalized domains
- Storage is up to 20GB
ProtonMail is web-based so there is no need to install any program on your computer. Just go to their site to sign up for a new account or login to an existing one and access your messages. This is convenient as it means that you could access your account anywhere with computer and Internet connection. There are also available apps that you can download for Android and iOS devices. This lets you access your messages while on the go using your mobile device. These apps can be downloaded for free. To download ProtonMail for Android go to this site. Access this page to download the app for iOS devices. It’s a plus as it lets you easily send secured email wherever you are.
ProtonMail User Interface
ProtonMail has a very basic and clean interface from the login page to the mailbox itself. You will not be confused where to put your sign in details on the log in page as it is clearly stated there. The mailbox page is also similar to typical email programs so you would be instantly familiar. What’s even better is that it doesn’t look busy and clattered. There are no advertisements that popup on the page. You would clearly see the options, which are also easy to understand. Within a short time of exploring the email program, you would get used to it quickly. On the left side are your various folders including inbox, drafts, sent, starred, archive, spam and trash. There are also the labels that you created and the label settings. On top of these mailboxes is the Compose option for writing an email.
When you click on the compose mail option, the window for writing an email would show on the right side so you would still be able to view your list of emails. However, if you click on one of the emails, the body would open behind the compose mail window so you have to minimize the latter to read the content. There are other options on top of the page including Upgrade, Settings, Contacts, Report Bug and Your Username, which has the logout option. Overall it’s easy on the eyes and it’s not difficult to learn how to use.
Sending and Receiving Email
You can send an email to both ProtonMail and non-ProtonMail users. Emails to ProtonMail users are automatically encrypted. However, those that you send to non-ProtonMail users would not be automatically encrypted. You must choose to encrypt the message if you want it to be sent securely. You would be asked to enter a password that the recipient would use to unlock your message. This means that you need to send this password by other means so that only the recipient would have access to the email. Here’s how to send an email using ProtonMail. Skip the steps for encrypting the message if sending this to another PhotonMail user. As mentioned, messages would be automatically encrypted for them and they would use their mailbox key in order to read their messages.
- Click on Compose Mail.
- Type the email address of the recipient on the “To” field.
- Enter the subject of the email.
- Type the email as you normally do and click Send if sending it to another ProtonMail user. If not, continue with the steps below before clicking on Send.
- Click the Encryption (lock) key on the lower left side of the compose mail window next to the attachment icon.
- Enter the password the recipient would use to read the encrypted message.
- Confirm the password.
- Enter a hint if you want.
- Click Set then Send.
Encrypted messages that you send to non-ProtonMail users would automatically expire within 28 days. There is also an option to shorten the expiration period by clicking on the Expiration Time icon and entering the weeks, days and hours it will expire. You can receive email even to non-ProtonMail users. You would only be asked for your mailbox password after logging in.
- Sending of encrypted email is highly secured
- Easy to use
- Free account is available
- Paid plans are affordable and they offer additional features
- Web-based and apps available
- Limited support on free accounts
- After logging in with your mailbox password, all your messages are in plaintext format so others may still see them if they are around you.
- Mailbox password cannot be reset if forgotten