How to Encrypt a Gmail

By Naomi Bolton

Sending important or sensitive information via a webmail service such as Gmail is always risky, but you can minimize the danger by encrypting your messages. Even if your mails are intercepted by someone, he will be unable to read the encrypted message. You can streamline the process of encrypting your emails by using a free browser extension, but your recipient has to know the password in order to decrypt your mails. This means that you and your recipient have to agree on a decryption key to use for mails in order to make use of encrypted mails.

Encipher It (All Browsers)

Step 1

Navigate to the Encipher It website (See Resource 01) and install the bookmarklet. Drag the "Encipher It" link in the "How to install bookmarklet" section of your page to your bookmarks bar if you are using the Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browser. Right-click the "Encipher It" link and select "Add to favorites" from the context menu if you are using Internet Explorer.

Step 2

Log in to your Gmail account and click the "Compose" button.

Step 3

Complete the recipient and subject fields of the mail and then type your message.

Step 4

Click the Encypher It bookmarklet that you saved earlier and then enter an encryption key in the pop-up box that opens. The text below the box indicates how secure the key is and ranges from very weak to very strong. Use a combination of numbers, letters, uppercase and lowercase characters for the most secure encryption key.

Step 5

Click "Encipher It" once you are satisfied with the strength of the encryption key and then click "Yes" when asked if you want to convert the encrypted text into a short link.

Step 6

Click the "Send" button to mail the message to your recipient. She will receive a mail with a link to decrypt the text in the mail. This can be done only by entering the correct decryption password.

Secure Gmail (Chrome)

Step 1

Navigate to the Secure Gmail extension page (see Resources) and click the "Add To Chrome" button.

Step 2

Click the "Add" button when asked to confirm the new extension and then sign in to your Gmail account.

Step 3

Click the lock button next to the "Compose" button and complete the recipient and subject fields.

Step 4

Enter your message in the body of the email and then click the "Send Encrypted" button.

Step 5

Enter the encryption password in the pop-up window and then click the "Encrypt & Send" button. Optionally, enter a password hint that only the recipient will know.

Encrypted Communication (Firefox)

Step 1

Navigate to the Encrypted Communication add-on page (see Resources) and click the "Add to Firefox" button.

Step 2

Click "Allow" and then click "Install Now" confirm that you want to install the add-on.

Step 3

Click "Restart Now" to restart your browser and then sign in to your Gmail account.

Step 4

Click the "Compose" button and type your email as normal.

Step 5

Right-click the body of the mail and select "Encrypt Communication" from the context menu.

Step 6

Enter a password in the pop-up window that opens and then click "OK."

Step 7

Type the password again to verify that it is correct and then click "OK."

Step 8

Click the "Send" button to mail the encrypted message to your recipient. He will need to install the Encrypted Communications Firefox add-on and know the password you selected to decrypt the message.