How to Send a Secure Email: Your 2024 Email Privacy Guide

February 16, 2024
·
5 min

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Someone could be sitting in front of a tiny computer screen right now, reading all the sensitive information you’re sharing with your friend via email. This is the reality for 1 in every 5 Internet users–and the only way to be in the safe zone is to figure out how to send a secure email.

In this article, we share insight on how to send a secure email to friends and colleagues so you can safeguard your personal information. We also share top email security best practices and answer some questions on email security.

Why send a secure email?

Sending a secure email is important to ensure that emails sent from your devices cannot be intercepted and read by unauthorized persons. Here’s a detailed explanation of why you need to send secure emails:

Prioritizing privacy

Ideally, your emails should be visible to only you and the intended recipient(s) of the mail, and they should be private to everyone else. But this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, your email could be intercepted by unauthorized persons or corporations who want to sell, misuse, or expose your personal information. 

Ensuring that your emails are sent securely reduces the risk of any of these situations happening.

Security needs

Did you know that anyone you send an email to from your regular email service provider, such as Gmail, can find your IP address and then your home address? This could easily expose you to being a victim of identity theft, and in some cases, you may suffer financial loss and even end up with a damaged credit score.  

Secure emails vs. encrypted emails

Secure emails cover the broad concept of security as far as emailing is concerned. It involves authenticating the sender and receiver(s) of the email as well as ensuring a secure connection is established during email transmission. 

Most email services use protocols like SSL and TLS to ensure users can send secure emails via their platform, and some provide features for advanced email scanning to identify spam and phishing emails.

Encrypted emails mean that the content of your email is changed so that it is unreadable to a third party for whom the email was not intended. Ideally, email encryption should be done end-to-end (E2E) so that emails remain unreadable to those they were not intended for when they are in transit or stored on the email service’s servers.

The best email services allow users to send both secure and encrypted emails. Some platforms even generate proxy email addresses— a disposable email address that cannot be linked to you to send emails anonymously. This reduces the risk of spam and phishing attacks and keeps your primary email address private.

How to send secure emails

Here’s how to send secure emails on Outlook, Gmail, and more. 

In Outlook (Office)

Image of the Outlook platform

Microsoft Outlook allows users to secure their emails before sending them using the encrypt and do not forward options. Here’s how to access these options in Outlook:

  • Click on “New Mail” as you usually would to start a new mail, and Outlook will open a page for you to type in your mail.
  • At the top of the page, find the “Options” tab.
  • Click on the tab, and it'll display several text and symbol menus.
  • Find the lock symbol and click on it.
  • This would display three options: encrypt, do not forward, and no permission set.
  • Click on “Encrypt” if you only want your email to be transmitted and delivered encrypted.
  • If you also want the recipient to not forward, print, or copy the content of your email, then you can choose the “Do Not Forward” option.
  • Your secure email is ready to be sent.

In Gmail

Image of the Credential Mode in Gmail

On Gmail, you can send secure emails by setting your email to confidential mode. In this mode, you have two options: set an expiration date and require a passcode. The best part is that you can choose both options. 

Here are the steps to follow:

  • Type in your mail as usual with the recipient's address, subject, and any other information you want to include in your message.
  • Now that your email is complete, tap on the “three-dot icon” on the menu, and it’ll display some options for you.
  • Click on the “Confidential Mode” option.
  • A pop-up page will appear, asking you to set the expiration date and whether your email would require a passcode to access. (Note: If you choose an SMS passcode, you’ll have to enter the recipient’s phone number.)
  • Now that you’ve chosen the option you want, click on the “tick” on the top right corner of your screen.
  • Send your email.

On iPhones

Image of the account settings for iPhone

The iPhone mail app allows users to send encrypted mail to others:

  • Start your email as you normally would by adding the recipient's email address, your subject, and the main text.
  • When you’ve finished drafting your email, check that S/MIME is turned on for your account and that you have the recipient's public key. You can find this in the 'Advanced' part of your settings.
  • Check the blue lock icon next to the recipient's name. A closed lock means the message is encrypted.
  • If the lock is closed, your secure mail is ready to be sent!

Email security best practices

In addition to sending secure emails, it’s helpful to take other steps to keep your email security on point. Here are some ways to help keep unauthorized third parties from accessing your emails:

1. Use proxy emails

A proxy email is an alternative email address that you can use instead of revealing your true email address. Usually, proxy email service providers don’t need your real email. They just create a new email for you and they have an inbox where you can read and filter messages sent to you via that email address. 

Cloaked allows you to send emails and sign up for websites and apps using your proxy email. This proxy mail cannot be linked to you or any of your information, making it an ideal choice for anonymity. Cloaked also allows you to use your proxy emails to sign up on different platforms and websites, creating completely anonymous digital identities for you.

Image of passwords saved using Cloaked

Learn more about Cloaked identities.

2. Consider email encryption

You can encrypt your mail using the Gmail app, Apple Mail, and Outlook. All you have to do is follow the steps outlined in the section on how to send secure emails. Email encryption ensures that any email you send from your device is only readable by the email recipient(s).

3. Don’t send sensitive or confidential information via email

Confidential information includes things like card information and personal identification numbers. These pieces of information should not be sent, at least in their full form, via email.

 

Sensitive information, such as confidential work documents, should never be sent via email in its plain form. They should instead be passworded or encrypted, or, if possible, shared with the other party in person. Sometimes, the old way is the safest way.

4. Only use reliable WiFi

Unreliable WiFi, like those you find in public spaces, is vulnerable to being compromised by bad actors who can easily initiate a man-in-the-middle attack to snoop on your device activities while using the WiFi. 

With this, they can get access to your login details and emails. While public WiFi may be tempting, it’s best to stick to reliable and trusted WiFi. You can also boost your email security while sending emails over a WiFi network by using a secure VPN.

5. Strengthen your passwords

Passwords are the easiest way that people can gain unauthorized access to your device. Thus, strengthening your passwords is one of the best ways to ensure that your emails are secure. 

Password managers like Cloaked can help you generate strong passwords for your device and apps. The best part is that you don’t need to remember these passwords as Cloaked stores them for you and auto-fills them automatically when you want to log in on these sites. 

Cloaked’s password manager also supports importing passwords from other password managers and even passwords that you saved locally as CSV files so you don’t have to manually save your passwords on Cloaked. 

If you want to change the password and email to all your accounts, the platform has an auto cloak feature that you can use to do this at the same time for ease. 

Using Cloaked in the Nike checkout

Get started with Cloaked.

6. Set up anti-virus and spam filters

Anti-virus and spam filters counter virus attacks and spam emails and messages that aim to compromise your device and expose your confidential information. Setting up these filters helps you send emails to friends without third-party snooping.

7. Be wary of attachments and links

Not every attachment or link sent to your phone should be opened. A good number of links from untrusted sources and strangers are phishing bombs waiting to be clicked or malware waiting to take over your device and infiltrate your network. 

Attackers could also use emails or email clones of people you're familiar with, so inspect every attachment and link before opening–even if it's from a trusted person.

8. Stay informed about email scams

As a security-conscious person, being aware of trending email scams will help you stay on top of your data security online. These help you anticipate possible attacks and implement measures to forestall them. Staying informed about email scams will also inform you of the measures to implement to avoid being a victim of these scams.

9. Use 2FA and biometric security

One form of authentication is not enough if you want to ensure sophisticated email security for your devices. You can use passcodes and OTPs in combination with your passwords to create an extra layer of security, and password managers can help you with this.

Cloaked offers time-based one-time passcodes (OTPs) to its users for an added layer of security and for a seamless login experience.

Secure email FAQs

We’ve got answers to your frequently asked questions on how to send secure emails.

How do you send a secure email?

There are several ways to send a secure email. You can send a secure email by ensuring that your email is encrypted from your device to the recipient’s device. You can do this using your regular email apps like Outlook, Gmail, and Apple Mail, as explained. 

The easiest? With Cloaked. 

Cloaked creates new, disposable email addresses for you that cannot be traced or linked to you.

What is the best way to send a secure email?

The best way to send a secure email is with Cloaked.

How do I send a secure document via email?

You can send a secure document via email by passwording the document to ensure that only those with the password can open the document.

Can you send a secure email via Gmail?

Gmail allows you to send secure emails, giving you the option to choose between setting an expiration date for your email and having the email automatically deleted from the recipient’s account. You can also use passcodes to protect your emails with Gmail.

Another option for sending secure emails is with Cloaked. Cloaked creates pseudo-identities that provide anonymity online. This pseudo identity consists of a disposable email address and phone number that could be used to send messages, make calls, and sign up on apps online, in addition to sending secure emails. 

 

How do I make my email address secure?

You can make your email address secure by using apps that create pseudo email addresses for you. Cloaked is a great app for this as it not only creates pseudo email addresses for you but also provides a dedicated inbox where you can view your emails. 

Improve your email security with Cloaked.

Email security is key for ensuring user privacy online as our emails are connected to almost every platform and website we use. Whether you’re simply browsing the Internet, filling out a survey, texting a potential significant other on a dating app, or sending an email to a colleague, you understandably want it to be private and secure. 

Cloaked is here to have your virtual back. Cloaked works by creating quasi or proxy identities for you—these include usernames, email addresses, and phone numbers. These identities are available to be used on any app or channel online, including to purchase items from shopping websites.

Cloaked’s zero-knowledge access architecture ensures that you alone have access to your emails and information. If a data breach occurs, your information will never be leaked, since it’s not only encrypted but also masked (or Cloaked!).

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