5 million accounts have already been registered in ProtonMail cryptographic mail.

    In 2013, employees of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), with the participation of colleagues from Harvard University and Massachusetts University of Technology, developed ProtonMail , an encrypted mail service. He is in Switzerland. According to the developers , the service is protected from the actions of American and European laws, primarily from the control of the NSA. The main goal is to ensure security and respect for the privacy of users. In a sense, ProtonMail was a response to the closure of Lavabit cryptomail after the attack of the American special services on its creator, Ladar Levison . The Swiss company Proton Technologies AG is not subject to US law, which minimizes the likelihood of such a scenario.

    In September 2018, ProtonMail reached a significant milestone: 5 million registered users . “We want you to be able to completely de-gleify your life,” said co-founder and CEO, Andy Yen, in an interview with Inverse . - ProtonMail provides all the [necessary] functions, as well as security and privacy that Google cannot provide. This is our long-term vision. ” In addition to mail, in the future there will be encryption of documents, spreadsheets and everything else.

    Open beta testing of ProtonMail began in 2014 . ProtonMail messages are not stored openly on servers, but are encrypted on the client side. Two passwords are used for authorization: one for logging into the account and downloading encrypted data, the second for decrypting. Password recovery for decryption is impossible; if it is lost, the correspondence cannot be recovered. At that time, ProtonMail was called the only mail service to which the NSA could not access.

    Against the background of the current privacy situation on the Internet, cryptographic services like ProtonMail are very relevant. For example, the dynamics of search queriesshows a serious increase in the popularity of ProtonMail in the period from 2014 to 2018. According to Yen, from January 2017 to September 2018, the number of ProtonMail accounts increased from 2 million to 5 million. Some well-known journalists write on the subject of information security @protonmail.comto indicate the mailboxes : this also contributes to the popularity of the service.

    Interestingly, Google has been hiding ProtonMail from search results for “secure email”, “encrypted email”, etc. for a long time . For example, the table below shows the search positions for ProtonMail for the “secure email” and “encrypted email” requests, as of the beginning of August 2016 in the main search engines. Everywhere the first or second page, except Google, in which ProtonMail was not ranked at all.

    Only after the publication of the problem, Google “fixed the bug”, although it did not disclose the details of what exactly this “bug” was.

    “This case tells us about a previously unnoticed danger, which is called“ search risk ”(Search Risk). The problem is that any competing service, such as ProtonMail, can be easily suppressed by search engines or by the government that controls these search engines. This can happen everywhere, regardless of state borders. For example, even considering that Google is an American company, it controls more than 90% of European search traffic. In our case, Google was the reason that ProtonMail’s global growth was 25% less for almost 10 months, the developers wrote in the official blog.. “The only reason we survived and we are writing this story is that ProtonMail became so widely known, word of mouth, and our community was too big to ignore. Many other companies will have less luck. ”

    Of course, it is difficult to compare the popularity of ProtonMail and Gmail with 1.2 billion accounts. But today, end-to-end encryption is the only way to protect your email messages from prying eyes, including from large Internet companies that scan email traffic, analyze email content and perform user profiling to display relevant online advertising. Traceroute from Turkey to protonmail.com passes, but the site does not open ProtonMail and related ProtonVPN

    (free VPN) face opposition not only from large Internet companies. Periodically, servers are subject to DDoS attacks , and in some countries this access is blocked at the state level. For example, in March 2018, the Turkish authorities blocked access to protonmail.com. Turkish telecommunications companies use DNS poisoning to disguise their servers as Google DNS resolvers, as well as other methods of blocking.

    Graffiti in Istanbul, source

    In Russia, access to ProtonMail and a free service to circumvent ProtonVPN censorship is not difficult yet .

    The situation with the violation of privacy on the Internet is such that cryptographic services become a matter of prime necessity for ordinary users, just as TLS-certificates and encryption of HTTPS traffic become an integral attribute of any website.

    Note . ProtonMail is the most famous, but not the only secure mail service. A complete list of mail servers with encryption scores can be found here . According to security assessments, Mailbox.org and Posteo.de are currently leading in this list. In fifth place is Tutanota, in seventh place - ProtonMail. Click to view full ranking as of 09/18/2018

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