Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Email Security

ProtonMail Opens Encrypted Email Service to Public

Encrypted email provider ProtonMail announced the global availability of its privacy focused email service to the public this week.

Encrypted email provider ProtonMail announced the global availability of its privacy focused email service to the public this week.

Offering end-to-end encryption in its email service, ProtonMail was launched in beta in May 2014 by CERN scientists and has been available on an invite-only basis for the past two-years.

With more than 1 million users participating in its closed beta, the service is now open to the world to allow more people take advantage of its privacy protection.

To ensure that user data is not accessible by third-parties, not even by ProtonMail itself, the company says that it stores data in an encrypted format and uses two passwords, one required to identify the user, and the other to decrypt the data. The second password is never sent to the server but is used only on the device, making the data unavailable to anyone else but the user, the company explains.

In addition to fully opening the service to the public, ProtonMail announced the availability of free iOS and Android mobile apps.

The global availability of the service comes at a time when encryption and privacy are under great scrutiny after Apple refused to help the FBI unlock the iPhone belonging to the Islamic terrorist behind the recent mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. While compromise appears elusive in this battle, the UN believes the FBI risks setting a dangerous precedent that could have a chilling effect on human rights.

Tech companies have already announced their support for Apple in the legal fight over encryption, and ProtonMail says that it now has the occasional needed to fight governments to protect user privacy. The recent challenges against encryption and privacy determined ProtonMail to open the service for public registration, allowing anyone to obtain an encrypted email account immediately.

While governments might be concerned about terrorism and encryption, weakening encryption would undermine the collective security, which is the wrong approach, ProtonMail says.

The email provider explains that the general public needs to be provided with the right tools to defend the rights to privacy, so that the decision is transferred into the hands of the people and not governments. For that, ProtonMail provides users with free email service as a basic offer, although it also offers premium accounts, which offer additional features and benefits.

In November 2015, the Geneva-based encrypted email provider was targeted by a powerful and continuous distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that crippled its network for days. Initially believed to be the work of a cyber-extortionist group, the attack was later suspected to have been launched by a state-sponsored actor, given that it took down the ISP’s datacenter and routers in Zurich, Frankfurt, and other nodes.

“Strong encryption and privacy are a social and economic necessity, not only does this technology protect activists and dissidents, it is also key to securing the world’s digital infrastructure. This is why all things considered, strong encryption is absolutely necessary for the greater good,” ProtonMail Co-Founder Dr. Andy Yen says.

“The best way to ensure that encryption and privacy rights are not encroached upon is to get the tools into the hands of the public as soon as possible and widely distributing them. This way, we put the choice in the hands of the consumer, and not government regulators,” Yen added.

Written By

Click to comment

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

Join this webinar to learn best practices that organizations can use to improve both their resilience to new threats and their response times to incidents.


Join this live webinar as we explore the potential security threats that can arise when third parties are granted access to a sensitive data or systems.


Expert Insights

Related Content

Cloud Security

Microsoft and Proofpoint are warning organizations that use cloud services about a recent consent phishing attack that abused Microsoft’s ‘verified publisher’ status.

Application Security

Fortinet on Monday issued an emergency patch to cover a severe vulnerability in its FortiOS SSL-VPN product, warning that hackers have already exploited the...

Application Security

Virtualization technology giant VMware on Tuesday shipped urgent updates to fix a trio of security problems in multiple software products, including a virtual machine...

Application Security

Password management firm LastPass says the hackers behind an August data breach stole a massive stash of customer data, including password vault data that...

Email Security

Microsoft is urging customers to install the latest Exchange Server updates and harden their environments to prevent malicious attacks.

Application Security

Microsoft on Tuesday pushed a major Windows update to address a security feature bypass already exploited in global ransomware attacks.The operating system update, released...

Application Security

Electric car maker Tesla is using the annual Pwn2Own hacker contest to incentivize security researchers to showcase complex exploit chains that can lead to...

Application Security

Less than a week after patching critical security defects affecting multiple enterprise-facing products, VMware is warning that one of the flaws is being exploited...