October 9, 2006

Freenigma

Freenigma is a service that allows you to send secure, encrypted web based email using popular webmail services like Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail without the need for any specialised software. All you need is Firefox and a webmail email address.

Most common email is sent in plain text format. This means that if somebody intercepts your email they can easily read the message. Enter Freenigma – a service that allows you to encrypt your email messages so that only the person you intended to get the message can read it.

Freenigma is simple to use; go to www.freenigma.com and sign up for a free account. Once you are set up you’ll need to install the special extension for Firefox, restart and you’re ready to send encrypted emails.

Once installed you’ll notice a new toolbar appear when you have logged in to your webmail account. You’ll only be able to send encrypted emails to friends who have signed up to Freenigma. After you’ve finished writing your message press the ‘encrypt’ button and Freenigma encrypts your email and it is send to your friend. When they receive the email they click the ‘decrypt’ button, enter their password and the email appears, formatting and all.

Freenigma works on any computer that supports Firefox, including Mac OS X, Windows and GNU/Linux. It uses one of the most popular ‘open source’ cryptographic software packages called GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG). Freenigma’s development was partly funded by the German governmental agency for IT security so you can bet it’s secure.

If you do start using Freenigma remember you’ll need to use Firefox with the installed extension. Without Firefox your emails will remain encrypted and therefore unreadable – it’s probably not the best thing to use if you rely on reading your emails in Internet cafes in Siam Reap.