You thought encrypting your email was complicated and expensive? We'll show you how to send your first encrypted email in just 2 minutes!
Select the appropriate icon to install Mailvelope on your browser of choice:
Once you answer the browser security questions during installation, Mailvelope will be installed and you will see the Mailvelope welcome page:
After you select the Mailvelope icon you can begin the initial configuration of Mailvelope.
You will be redirected to Key Management in order to create a PGP key for your email communication:
After you select "Generate Key" the following dialogue will pop up:
Mailvelope needs your name (or your nickname) and the email address with which your new key should be associated. Lastly, pick as complicated a password as possible. Remember it. It cannot be reset!
For ease of use, Mailvelope requires your key to be automatically uploaded to the key server. We therefore recommend you tick the appropriate box and provide your consent.
After you select "Generate", Mailvelope will notify you of the the successful creation of your key.
Great! You now have your own PGP key! Now all you have to do is verify the email address that you used on the Mailvelope key server so that other Mailvelope users can send you encrypted emails.
Log in to your webmail provider. You should have a new email in your inbox from the Mailvelope key server.
Open the email. You will see that it contains two attachments. Klick on the one named "encrypted.asc". Mailvelope automatically recognizes the content as encrypted and marks it accordingly. Your email provider may not be able to preview the file. In this case, please follow the instructions in our FAQ.
With the click of the symbol, decryption will begin. You only need to input the password that you created earlier...
Simply click on the link in order to confirm your email address.
Your key is now verified!
By the way, did you notice? You've already decrypted your first email successfully. The procedure will be the same for all other emails that you receive in the future.
Open a new email in your webmail as usual.
Warning: In order to write an encrypted email, you must begin by using the Mailvelope editor, whose icon can be found in the top right corner. Open it by selecting the icon and then compose your email:
As soon as your intended recipient has installed and configured Mailvelope, their email address will turn green when input. If not, the address is not yet available on the Mailvelope key server. In this case, ask if they have generated their key and verified it by email, as you have done, and confirm that the email they used is the same as the one you have entered in your email.
Now write your email.
Upon selecting "Encrypt", the Mailvelope editor will close and you will be redirected to your webmail editor...
Add a subject (Attention: The subject always remains unencrypted by PGP!) and select "Send".
Congratulations! You've now sent your first encrypted email!
Should you be interested, the next section will introduce you to even more in-depth technical information about email encryption. Answers to further questions and information about more specific uses of Mailvelope can be found in our detailed FAQ.
Have fun with Mailvelope!
The goal of Mailvelope is to make the use of email encryption as easy as possible. However, a little technical knowledge will make it easier for you to use Mailvelope. We therefore recommend you take some time to read this introduction to the basic principles of Mailvelope.
In order to communicate through encryption, you have to "seal" your message in such a way that only the recipient can access it. You need the so-called "public key" of the receiver so that your message can be encrypted and sent securely.
Only this recipient has the "private key" associated to this public key. This "private key" allows the messages to be reopened. In PGP / Mailvelope we therefore always speak of key pairs:
This concept of encryption using key pairs is technically referred to as "asymmetrical encryption". By default, Mailvelope handles the exchange of public keys between sender and recipient behind the scenes, via the key server. For an introduction to asymmetrical encryption you should watch this 5 minute video.
Our special thanks to jagres and Asimina Papac from localizationlab.org for making this translation possible!
The Mailvelope Team