Virtual Event: Threat Detection and Incident Response Summit - Watch Sessions
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Email Security

Silent Circle Kills Encrypted Email Service

Silent Circle, a startup providing private encrypted communications solutions, has shut down an encrypted email service that it offered as part of its secure communications offerings.

Silent Circle, a startup providing private encrypted communications solutions, has shut down an encrypted email service that it offered as part of its secure communications offerings.

News of Silent Circle shuttering its email service comes shortly after Lavabit, another encrypted email service believed to have been used by Edward Snowden, shut down apparently as a result of pressure from US authorities. 

Silent Circle LogoSilentCircle was co-founded by former Navy SEAL sniper Mike Janke, and PGP creator Phil Zimmermann, and has created a platform for encrypted text, e-mail, mobile phone and video teleconferencing services through a secure, proprietary network and set of applications.

“Silent Circle has preemptively discontinued Silent Mail service to prevent spying,” the company said in a note posted to its website and blog.

US laws permit national security officials to make requests to technology and telecommunications companies that under law must be kept secret, putting these companies in a tough position in regards to transparency for customers. 

While Silent Circle has not received subpoenas, warrants, security letters, or anything else by any government, the company wants to be proactive and decided that it was best to shut down Silent Mail.

“Email that uses standard Internet protocols cannot have the same security guarantees that real-time communications has,” the company explained. “There are far too many leaks of information and metadata intrinsically in the email protocols themselves. Email as we know it with SMTP, POP3, and IMAP cannot be secure.”

“We’ve been debating this for weeks, and had changes planned starting next Monday,” the note continued. “We’d considered phasing the service out, continuing service for existing customers, and a variety of other things up until today. It is always better to be safe than sorry, and with your safety we decided that in this case the worst decision is no decision.”

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Other offerings from Silent Circle, including Silent Phone, Silent Text, and Silent Eyes, will continue to be offered, as they are end-to-end secure and Silent Circle does not have the encrypted data and does not collect metadata on user conversations.

“We apologize for any inconvenience, and hope you understand that if we dithered, it could be more inconvenient,” the note concluded.

Written By

For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.

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.

SecurityWeek’s Threat Detection and Incident Response Summit brings together security practitioners from around the world to share war stories on breaches, APT attacks and threat intelligence.


Securityweek’s CISO Forum will address issues and challenges that are top of mind for today’s security leaders and what the future looks like as chief defenders of the enterprise.


Expert Insights

Related Content


No one combatting cybercrime knows everything, but everyone in the battle has some intelligence to contribute to the larger knowledge base.

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.


The FBI dismantled the network of the prolific Hive ransomware gang and seized infrastructure in Los Angeles that was used for the operation.

Cybersecurity Funding

Los Gatos, Calif-based data protection and privacy firm Titaniam has raised $6 million seed funding from Refinery Ventures, with participation from Fusion Fund, Shasta...

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...


The Hive ransomware website has been seized as part of an operation that involved law enforcement in 10 countries.


Many in the United States see TikTok, the highly popular video-sharing app owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, as a threat to national security.The following is...