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Last week, as I was working through writing applications for my website, I came across a unique situation that I’d never faced before in my life. One of the applicants was a reporter living and working in a country with a very rigid dictatorship and ironclad control over all Internet traffic in and out of the country. She was willing to provide unique insight into social events going on inside the country, but arranging for the delivery of those stories would be complicated by government monitoring and filtering of Internet traffic.
So I went out in search of some kind of free secure email solution that would at least provide a line of communication that was secure enough so that if anyone wanted to see what we were discussing, they’d at least have to put quite a bit of effort and resources into it. As always, I checked MakeUseOf first. We’ve got great coverage of secure communications, such as Jorge’s article on FireGPG for Gmail, OneTimeMessage for secure and self-destructing emails, and Tina’s useful list of 5 online encryption tools.
All useful, but nothing quite offered the 2-way secure and encrypted line of communication that I needed. After a fair amount of searching, I came across a free app that fit the bill called VaultletSuite.
Set Up A Secure Line Of Communication
A secure two-way connection is a tall order when you’re dealing with a highly-funded military complex that surely has decryption software the likes of which you could only imagine. With that said, that doesn’t mean that it’s a walk in the park to decrypt well-encrypted email correspondence. So setting up a secure way to communicate is well worth the effort.
With VaultletSuite – or VaultletMail, which is the tool within the suite I’ll be focusing on – once you install the software, just click to log in, and then click on the link on the login page to set up a new account. In just two or three “Next” clicks, you’ll find yourself staring at your brand-spanking new, highly secure webmail account.
For the most secure connection, both people should sign up for a VaultletMail account, and both people should install the software. According to its about page, the software uses a 2048 bit RSA public key as well as 256 AES encryption to send messages, and it is capable of doing so in multiple languages. While the software won’t protect you from a keylogger you may have on your PC, which will pass along your password you used to log into VaultletMail, the system will protect you, for the most part, from individuals trying to intercept and extract information from your Internet communications.
When you’re composing a VaultletMail email to a friend that has an account in the system, you have several options for further security. The padlock button says it will “protect messages” before sending them to recipients outside the VaultletMail system. How can that possibly work?
This is actually an integrated tool called SpecialDelivery. The SpecialDelivery system will send your intended recipient an initial email, which they must respond to by choosing a passphrase that will protect all encrypted messages you send them. After they’ve accepted your initial email and set up their passphrase, you can send them encrypted emails any time and the communications are secure.
The software also has the ability to prevent the recipient from forwarding, quoting, copying or even printing out the email.
The coolest feature as far as I’m concerned is what I call the “self-destructing message” tool. Click on the little clock icon in the menu, and you can decide now long the message will stay available in their Inbox after they’ve viewed it, and you can also limit the number of times it can be viewed.
For an added James Bond touch, add a sentence to the end of your email that reads, “…and this message will self destruct in 30 minutes.”
You can also configure how the sent message itself is stored in your own mailbox. If you’re sending a message that you don’t want anyone at all to read other than the recipient, you can just set a very short life to the email, and then click “Do not keep Sender’s copy” in the options menu for ScopeControl and HalfLife.
Another feature for some added privacy – if you’re sending the message to a VaultletSoft recipient, you can make yourself anonymous by selecting “firstname.lastname@example.org” in the “From” dropdown list.
Here’s a good example of a secure email in the inbox, with no sender listed and a self-destruct time of 31 days.
If you live in a region of the world where Internet communication is regularly intercepted, using this encrypted system as your regular email service would be a very smart idea. At the very least, it will make it very difficult for the government to access your traffic, and nearly impossible for an amateur to view it.
Give VaultletSuite a try and let me know whether you agree that it’s one of the easiest email encryption systems in the world. Do you like the features? Is there anything you’d change or add? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.