E-mail Account Security Explained: What is the most secure e-mail service?

Quick take:

  • Gmail, AOL, Microsoft outlook and iCloud use TLS (providers and anyone with access to your account may read your email).
  • Proton mail uses end-to-end encryption. The receiver must have a key to read the message.
  • You do not have to delete your Gmail account.

At the most basic level before getting into technology and other methods of protecting your messages the most important thing for the security of your emails is device security and your password. What that means is even if you use the most reliable email service provider, your failure to protect your password or device may lead to data leaks, identity theft, and unauthorized access to files or devices. The worst that could happen is losing your email account. Losing your email account may happen regardless of which service you use. If you lose your email, the new owner can effectively own your online identity.

From social media to PayPal, many websites today only require a logged-in browser to access.  The person may also register new credit cards or do plenty more with your email.

In this article, we explain how to secure your email account and how-to setup an anonymous email account using Gmail, iCloud, and Microsoft Outlook.

We also have answers to questions, including does google read your emails? How to set up an anonymous email? And plenty more.

Is Gmail the Most Secure Email Service?

G-mail can be quite secure at a password level if you enable two-step verification and protect your password. From a data level, Google recently (2018) changed their policy on allowing developers of 3rd party apps to scan your inbox for profit. This change is good, but it shows that Google does not put your interests first and will only change policy if they are caught.

The only way an attacker or snoop will gain access to your Gmail Account is if the intruder has a stolen password. However, enabling 2-step Verification will keep the intruder out of your inbox even if he has the password. How does it work?

If you have a password, login normally. But before you gain access to mail, saved passwords, photos, bookmarks, and so on. Google will ask for a security key or a code sent via text or voice call. If the person does not have a key or code, he won’t be able to proceed any further. Google Authenticator has better 2FA security than SMS 2FA as SMS has some inherent security flaws such as being easy to spoof, low security, and susceptible to man in the middle attacks.

What if I lose my device?

When you lose your phone, computer, or other devices. Log into your Google account, go to my devices, then log out of the stolen device. Once you do that the person with the stolen device won’t have access to your email account.

Other Gmail protections you should use are.

Google advanced phishing and malware protection

Google created an advanced protection program to protect at-risk account owners from phishing and malware. This protection goes beyond Two-Step—Verification. If you enable it, Gmail will require a physical security key or one in your phone whenever someone uses your password. Google will also automatically block malware.

Google confidential mode

Google confidential mode allows you to set expiration dates on messages, revoke access to the message at any time, and the receiver will require a verification code to open the message.

Gmail security sandbox

Security sandbox allows you to set up rules that specify which attachment to scan, compliance rules for malicious attachments, and you may set up a scan for all supported attachment files.

Suspicious activity

Whenever someone uses your password, Google sends a notification to your phone or other device. That notification allows you to grant or revoke access to your account.

So, is Gmail the Best and Most Secure Free Email Service?

Gmail is one of the most secure email services on the internet, and Google does a good job automatically protecting you from nefarious actors. The service uses 128-bit encryption and TLS (transport layer system) when transferring data.

But remember, no email account is 100% secure, and with a free service you are still the product. It is just harder for someone to take control of your Gmail account.

Google Reads your Emails

Yes, Google can read your email, but only if they must. Furthermore, Google stopped using email content to personalize ads in 2017.

What to remember:

Is iCloud the Most Secure Email Service?

Just like Gmail, iCloud employs strict policies and uses industry-standard technologies to protect your identity and account. To enhance safety, iCloud also offers the user the option to turn on Two-Step-Verification. The protection guarantees that even if your Apple ID falls into the wrong hands, that attacker can’t access your personal information. The service uses end-to-end encryption and encrypts data while in transit via TLS 1.2. However, Apple does not encrypt data on IMAP mail servers.

What if I lose my Apple device?

Head to iCloud, sign in, then log out of all devices. That will protect your Apple ID from theft or misuse, and it disables Apple services, including Apple Pay, on the stolen/lost device. It is also advisable to log out of your account when sharing your device.

So, is iCloud the Best and Most Secure Free Email Service?

Yes, iCloud is a safe and secure free email service, it offers you adequate protection from hackers, and the service encrypts your data while in transit. Just remember that as with any free service, you are the product. It is advisable to turn on Two-Step-Authentication.

Is Microsoft Outlook the Most Secure Email Service?

Just like iCloud and Gmail, Microsoft outlook is a secure free email service. However, all three services offer very little protection from attacks that originate from your end. Consequently, it is important to secure your email and devices.

What to remember

  • Outlook offers Two-Step-Verification.
  • Uses industry-standard protections,
  • Outlook scans email attachments for malware and viruses.
  • The service warns you when you click on unsafe links.
  • Microsoft outlook advanced protection only works on Microsoft accounts.

How to Secure your Email and Passwords

The security of your email account largely depends on you. Consequently, it is vital that you learn to protect your password. According to online security experts, here is how to secure your password:

  • Do not use the same password across sites.
  • Do not save your password on someone else’s browser or device.
  • Never store passwords in plain sight on your computer or device.
  • Do not use your real name, phone number, and other easily identifiable information in your password.
  • Use strong passwords.
  • When you enable Two-Step-Authentication, use a phrase or code that is not easy to guess. Tip: use a wrong answer to the query that only you can easily remember.

The Best Private Email Service

Gmail, Outlook, AOL, and Microsoft Outlook may perceive TOR as a threat to your account. However, the TOR Network is one of the most secure encrypted protocols on the internet. To set up an anonymous email account. You will need an email service available on TOR.

Proton Mail is an email service that allows connections directly through the TOR network. That means your communication or data is protected from Man-In-The-Middle attacks, advanced trackers, and big business such as Google. Anyone looking will not see your email address, physical location, or IP address.

Hush Mail and Counter Mail offer the same level of protection as Proton Mail.

What to remember:

  • Proton mail does not share data with law enforcement.
  • The service has no logs policy.
  • You may use proton mail to send encrypted messages to Google, iCloud, or outlook accounts.
  •  Emails have a self-destructing feature.
  • Proton features Two-Factor-Authentication.

Another added benefit of setting up a Proton Account is that you get a free Proton VPN account.

All that said, one truth remains, your online security depends on the information you put out. So, limit personal data you share on social media, with friends and family. You should also protect your device with a strong password.

It is possible to set up an anonymous email account using any of the email services above. Here is how.

Why and How to set up an Anonymous Email Account

Keeping your private life and work life separate is vital in that it keeps elements of each life from overlapping. For example, using work email to visit some sites may land you in trouble. So, we recommend owning at least two devices, one for work and the other for private use. Each device should have a password to avoid intrusion.

How to create an anonymous email account

Email service providers do not require you to provide your real name, birthday, location, or any other easily identifiable information. Take advantage of this and create an anonymous/fake email account. The options are limitless. All you must do is choose a name, birthday, and location.

You may also use temporary email services such as Guerrilla Mail or Trash mail.

What to remember:

  • You may need a new phone number to set up an anonymous account.
  • Use a VPN or incognito mode.

Recommended anonymous email service providers

Mailvelop Extension

Available on chrome and Firefox, Mailvelop is a browser extension that you may use to encrypt and sign emails. The extension comes preconfigured for Yahoo, Gmail, GMX, Outlook, and WEB.DE.

Your Device

All that effort could be pointless if your phone or computer is not secure. So, we recommend:

  • Make sure your work computer or phone has a strong password.
  • Update your device regularly.
  • Hide your passwords.
  • Do not open suspicious email attachments or click dodgy links.

Overall, all the email services included in this article are secure. However, the service providers will not protect you from attacks that originate from your end. That means it is up to you to protect your privacy. You do that by securing your accounts, protect your browser and device, and installing anti-virus software on your device.

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