Big data aggregators, criminals, and watchful eyes are always pushing the envelope for harvesting and exploiting information collected online. One simple technique to protect your sensitive data from disclosure from these threats is to use communication tools that rely on a system called End-to-end encryption (E2EE). E2EE prevents outsiders from reading messages sent between a sender and receiver, whether it’s email, text messages, voice, video, or any other form of modern communication. Only those parties communicating with E2EE can decrypt and understand these messages — not even an internet service provider or cellular carrier can view this content or meaning of this data. E2EE’s strength is found in the underlying technology called asymmetric encryption, which is actually baked-into a lot of common modern web security protocols. If you want to learn more about how it is used check out our blog on HTTPS, SSL, and TLS.
A few of my favorite apps for both Android and iOS are SIGNAL and WICKR. Users that upgrade from standard text message and phone calls to an E2EE messaging app like SIGNAL or WICKR can benefit from all the privacy protection provided with almost no learning curve. The ease of use and improved functionality make this a no brainer for most who are willing to try.
For email services, there are some providers that offer free and paid E2EE mailboxes, like Protonmail. Emails sent from one Protonmail account to another will benefit from E2EE, specifically a standard asymmetric encryption standard called PGP. There are also plug-ins in several popular email clients (e.g. Outlook, Thunderbird) that can wrap any email in PGP encryption.