Google To Add "End-To-End" Encryption To Gmail, But What About Right Now?

  • Posted on: 29 October 2014
  • By: davis

Google will be rolling out a encryption-focused user-friendly Chrome extension in the near future. While the project has been available since June, there has not been much public progress made. Google's production manager and spokesman Stephanie Somogyi assures us "Once we feel that the extension is ready for primetime, we’ll make it available in the Chrome Web Store, and anyone will be able to use it to send and receive end-to-end encrypted emails through their existing web-based email provider."

What's to be done in the meantime? Funny you should ask, anonymous Internet user who supplies leading questions! First, let's head over to https://www.mailvelope.com/ and install the Chrome extension found on the front page (or Firefox depending on your needs).

Once the extension is installed, you will see a little lock and key in the top right section of your browser's toolbar. Click the key, and then click "Options"

You will be automatically directed to Mailvelope's user dashboard. Select "Generate Key" on the left side. Enter your full name and the email that you wish to tie the key to. You may click "Advanced" and change the key size to 4096 bits if you are extra-paranoid.

Enter a secure password (this is the last line of defense against hackers. If someone steals your private key, but doesn't know your password, this is the last barrier between them and your data). Click submit.

You now possess your own key pair! Other people need your public key in order to send you messages. You will need their public key in turn. A public key looks like this:

-----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----
Version: Mailvelope v0.10.2
Comment: Email security by Mailvelope - https://www.mailvelope.com
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=1Jei
-----END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----

The above is my actual PGP public key. Click "Import Keys" in Mailvelope and paste my key in. You can now send me an email using my public key! 

If I wanted to send you an email, I would need for you to send me your public key, or have it listed somewhere. This is a downside of the PSK approach, but that's a topic for another day.

Welcome to the wonderful world of encryption. Remember, governments, corporations, and bad people are all actively seeking to intrude on your personal communications. Google wants to scan your email for keywords in order to deliver targeted advertisements. The government wants access to your communications for obvious reasons, and bad guys want your personal for all sorts of nefarious reasons - identity theft, bank fraud, account hijacking, etc.

Freedom of speech has a different meaning on the Internet. The ability to speak freely and privately is a freedom every person should exercise.