Mar 02 2023

ProtonVPN launches extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers

Category: Email SecurityDISC @ 10:54 am

You can now connect to ProtonVPN with just one tap of a button.

Proton VPN has launched its new browser extension for Chrome and Firefox, fulfilling one of the most sought-after features requested by its user community. This new extension provides users with a more flexible way to protect their online privacy and bypass censorship.

The Proton VPN browser extension is a standalone platform that encrypts internet traffic and browsers without needing to install Windows or Mac applications. This distribution method allows users in countries with blocked app stores to access Proton VPN.

ProtonVPN launches extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers

With this new extension, users can easily protect their browser traffic without affecting the speeds or IP addresses of other applications on their devices. The extension can be used across multiple browsers, and each browser can be connected to a different server, allowing for up to ten simultaneous VPN connections.

In a statement, Proton VPN explained that they understand the importance of online privacy and freedom of access, and this new extension is designed to provide more options for users to protect their online activity. They also emphasized that they take user feedback seriously and strive to implement new features that cater to their needs.

The Proton VPN browser extension is available for Chromium-based browsers (such as Google Chrome, Brave, Microsoft Edge, Chromium, Opera, and Vivaldi) and Firefox-based browsers (including Firefox itself, LibreWolf, and Waterfox).


Proton VPN is a well-known and reputable VPN provider based in Switzerland that has been praised for its strong security measures and privacy protections. The company’s commitment to expanding its offerings and providing users with more control over their online privacy is a significant step forward in the fight for digital rights.

Secure email that protects your privacy

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Tags: Email Security, ProtonEmail, ProtonMail, ProtonVPN

Jan 16 2023

Why encrypting emails isn’t as simple as it sounds

Category: Email SecurityDISC @ 1:39 pm

Why organizations need encryption

Encrypting an email message ensures that unauthorized parties cannot read it. For any party without proper authorization, the message will appear indecipherable.

For organizations, message confidentiality is crucial to stop potentially sensitive information from reaching prying eyes. Also, they should be able to confirm the integrity of the message and the sender’s identity – without this, spoofed messages can be sent.

The basis of confidential communication over email is that both sender and recipient have secured their respective local systems, by hardening the host OS, employing client security, EDR, XDR and so forth.

Different options have different benefits and challenges

Best-effort opportunistic encryption methods such as Outlook Message Encryption (OME) and various third-party solutions (email encryption gateways, plugins and similar) have the benefit of being easy to use. They can also be transparently integrated into email programs (such as Outlook Message Encryption), and make it easy to contact new people, with no need for prior key exchange – if the message is sent to a user who doesn’t run the same system, a portal for opening the message is typically placed in view.

Additionally, they can often be integrated into the outgoing email server with rules to enforce encryption automatically, depending on set rules such as automated encryption for certain attachments, for example.

There is, however, the possibility of an unauthorized party decrypting the message if they gain access to it first. This poses a real threat as the email communication itself is not guaranteed to be encrypted due to the email delivery process being reliant on STARTTLS and similar opportunistic encryption schemes. This can be mitigated by adding 2FA, such as via SMS PIN code which can help improve security (of course, the recipient’s cell phone number must be known when sending). And in many situations, it is important to also identify the sender’s identity reliably: After all, if anyone can send messages, how can you differentiate a genuine sender from an imposter?

Full encryption methods such as S/MIME and PGP/GPG enable complete confidentiality where only the recipient can decrypt the email message due to the possibility of verifying the sender’s identity. However, several issues arise when using this method. There is a need for key management where keys need to be distributed, swapped, and kept up to date. There is also limited support as the recipient often needs to use the same solution as the sender.

Only a certain subset of contacts typically use this solution, leading to the need to use multiple solutions depending on the recipient(s). This also requires extra effort to determine which solution can be used for the specific recipient and if the solution is secure enough for the material being sent. This can lead to a complicated user interface with different, confusing options like “sign only” or “sign and encrypt”. It becomes quite easy to end up choosing the wrong option, or worse, forgetting to use the encryption at all (since it usually must be selected specifically).

Recently Google started offering option to use S/MIME with Gmail as “E2EE” or “client-side encryption”. This option is currently in beta testing and only available for limited audiences. This however is a significant development as it might result in wider adoption of S/MIME encryption, especially if made available for free Gmail tiers.

The threat model decides

What is the best solution? S/MIME or PGP/GPG may seem like attractive solutions, but challenges in key management and difficulty in training people to use them could lead to poor adoption. Some less secure solutions could be used for most communication, while the more secure solutions, such as S/MIME or GPG/PGP, could be used for other recipients.

The users that need to use the more secure solutions must be instructed on identifying when the more secure method is needed and how to use the solution properly (such as key management and practice sending and receiving encrypted email). Ultimately the demands of the specific organization and use cases determine the solutions that might be needed.

Checkout our previous posts on Email Security…

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Tags: Email Security, encrypting email, ProtonMail

Dec 20 2022

Google’s New End-To-End Encryption for Gmail on the Web

Category: Email SecurityDISC @ 9:48 am

On Friday, Google released a beta version of Client-side encryption (CSE) for Gmail. This newest service is only useful to organisations that can produce their own decryption keys because CSE is designed for organisational use.

Google has now made “end-to-end encryption” available for Gmail on the web, following Meta’s 2016 offer to use it for WhatsApp. However, it only provides client-side encryption (CSE).

Notably, Client-side encryption (Google refers to as E2EE) was already available for users of Google Drive, Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Google Meet, and Google Calendar (beta).

“We’re expanding customer access to client-side encryption in Gmail on the web. Google Workspace Enterprise plus, Education plus, and Education Standard customers are eligible to apply for the beta until January 20th, 2022”, Google announces.

End-To-End Encryption for Gmail

Sensitive information in the email body and attachments are rendered unreadable by Google servers using client-side encryption in Gmail. Customers retain control of both the identity service used to access encryption keys.

“You can use your own encryption keys to encrypt your organization’s data, in addition to using the default encryption that Google Workspace provides,” explains Google.

“With Google Workspace Client-side encryption (CSE), content encryption is handled in the client’s browser before any data is transmitted or stored in Drive’s cloud-based storage.

“That way, Google servers can’t access your encryption keys and decrypt your data. After you set up CSE, you can choose which users can create client-side encrypted content and share it internally or externally.”

Google Workspace already uses the latest cryptographic standards to encrypt all data at rest and in transit between our facilities. Client-side encryption supports a wide range of data sovereignty and compliance requirements while enhancing the secrecy of your data.

For customers of Google Workspace Enterprise Plus, Education Plus, and Education Standard, Gmail E2EE beta is presently available.

By submitting their Gmail CSE Beta Test Application, which should include the email address, Project ID, and test group domain, they can apply for the beta until January 20, 2023.

Google says this feature will be OFF by default and can be enabled at the domain, OU, and Group levels (Admin console > Security > Access and data control > Client-side encryption).

To add client-side encryption to any message, click the lock icon and select additional encryption, compose your message and add attachments as normal.

Also, the feature is not available to Google Workspace Essentials, Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Education Fundamentals, Frontline, and Nonprofits, as well as legacy G Suite Basic and Business customers. Also, the service has not yet been rolled out for personal accounts.

Finally, End-to-end encryption is something we take for granted in the modern era when hacking and data leakage is becoming more frequent occurrences. 

End-To-End Encryption for Gmail

Tags: Email Security, end-to-end encryption, Google gmail

Oct 01 2009

Sophisticated phishing attack and countermeasures

Category: Cybercrime,Email Security,Identity TheftDISC @ 12:36 am


Phishing and Countermeasures: Understanding the Increasing Problem of Electronic Identity Theft

Phishing is a practice of luring unsuspecting Internet users to a fake Web site by using authentic-looking email with the real organization’s logo, in an attempt to steal passwords, financial or personal information. In daily life people advise to retrace your steps when you lose something. The question is how you retrace your steps on cyberspace where some uber hackers know how to erase their footsteps to avoid detection. It is difficult to find phishers in cyberspace, and jurisdictional issues make it even harder to prosecute them. Then there is an issue of trust that phishers dupe people to believe that their web site is not fraudulent to collect personal/financial information.

Below is an example of sophisticated phishing attack
Link to phishing email

It looks very legit, with all the correct data, logos, graphics and signatures.

One giveaway: the TSA rule change has nothing to do with rental cars. It only affects your airline ticket vs your photo ID (drivers license, passport, whatever.)

To verify that this is bad stuff, right click on the links. You get “”, which looks OK on first glance, since it says “”. But myAvis should not send me to “”. I also noticed that all the other links send you to the same location.

The clincher (here comes the geeky stuff:)

To open a terminal window, press the “Windows key” and the letter “R”.

You will see the “Run Dialog Box”. Type “cmd”, and press “OK

Open a terminal window and run nslookup:

C:\> nslookup
> <<< check IP address of the real AVIS web site Server: Address: Non-authoritative answer: canonical name = canonical name = Name: Address: <<< get IP address of the real AVIS web site > <<< now check IP address of the bogus AVIS web site Server: Address: Non-authoritative answer: canonical name = Name: <<< not the same domain as the real AVIS domain Address: <<< note IP address is in a totally different sub net > <<< now do a reverse lookup of the fake AVIS web site Server: Address: ** server can't find NXDOMAIN <<< it should give you the web site name > <<< bogus AVIS web site name Server: Address: Non-authoritative answer: Name: Address: >

Moral of the story: be very careful with links in emails and web pages. To check the authenticity of the link, right click on the link, copy that to a text file and take a good look.
Don’t click on the phisher’s email. Type URL into web browser yourself

In the table below are the 12 threats to your online identity which can be manipulated in phishing scams, and possible countermeasures to protect your personal and financial information. Some threats are inadequate or no security controls in place. The last row of the table is a monitoring control to identify the warning signs of identity theft.

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Tags: email archiving, Email Security, Identity Theft, online backup, phishing, phishing countermeasures, phishing threats, web security