An Easy Way To Send Confidential Information Online

SecureSend logoAs most Americans probably already know, U.S. Government agencies, including the National Security Agency (NSA), are reading all of our emails and text messages. In addition, Internet users worldwide have always been cautioned to never send credit card numbers or other sensitive information via email because of security issues. In theory, normal email is easily intercepted and read by anyone with a bit of technical knowledge. If you do not want anyone cyber-snooping into your personal life, there is an easy solution.

Yes, you can safely and securely send credit card numbers or other sensitive information via email. However, you cannot do it with the normal email we have all been using for years. Instead, we can send ENCRYPTED email messages. In fact, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology RECOMMENDS AES encryption or even stronger encryption for sending all confidential information. The U.S. Government and most other governments all use strong encryption methods to send their own military-grade communications. Banks, stock brokerage firms, and other financial institutions use strong encryption to safely send millions of dollars online every day.

Several companies offer secure and encrypted email services to private individuals as well as to banks, companies, and others. One of the easier services to use is SecureSend.

SecureSend will secure your data so that you can send email or instant messages to anyone with ease, and no one will be able to intercept or “hack” your message(s), ever. In case you don’t trust normal AES encryption, SecureSend adds even more encryption to protect your information with several of SecureSend’s own proprietary algorithms and methods. This is ideal to protect oneself from government data collection programs, including the NSA’s PRISM program, as well as from “black hat” hackers who simply want to steal your credit card number.

If you were to send your credit card number by encrypted email and a hacker then gained access to that email message, here is an example of what he or she would see: jYBFurbxSQbw1vqcjN0fVZJz3Y0VKC4Jq41a9Rub4iE/23n/Qcc9UR3t2aj+EhMq

Encrypted email is the answer for anyone who wishes to keep confidential information just that: confidential. It is used by business owners, lawyers, doctors (Have you heard of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, also known as HIPAA?), politicians, banks, accountants, drug dealers, and private citizens alike. Security experts generally agree that encryption should be used by all citizens.

With SecureSend, you don’t have to worry about sending credit cards, passport numbers, social security numbers, or any other forms of confidential data over the Internet. The encrypted text can be shared publicly for all the world to see (if you so choose), but no one will gain anything useful from the encrypted text without the password that you—and only you—know. Without the password you create to encrypt your message, it is absolutely impossible for anyone to intercept that message.

Several other companies provide secure, encrypted email services, but most of them are difficult to use. SecureSend makes sending your encrypted text simple with built-in copy and email functions. SecureSend not only encrypts messages, but it also can encrypt attached files.

To encrypt a message or a file, you must use either the SecureSend app that you have installed in your computer or cell phone or the SecureSend app available on the web. Select “Open” in the “File” menu, and then select your desired file from the file picker that opens. Once you have encrypted the file, you will be asked where to save it. Encrypted files will always have the .securesend extension and can be decrypted in a similar fashion, with either SecureSend app or the (free) SecureSend Decrypter.

SecureSend offers several products, including the following:

SecureSend is the main encryption/decryption client, available as an application on the Mac App Store and as a program for Windows and Linux. It costs $9.99 and provides encryption and decryption of text and files.

SecureSend Decrypter is also an app on the Mac App Store (and a program for Windows and Linux). This is the free companion to SecureSend. It is available without charge to everyone, and only provides the decryption of text and files encrypted by SecureSend.

SecureSend Online is a separate, browser-based service which allows for encryption and decryption of text and credit card information from any Internet-capable device with a web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera, or almost any other web browser on Windows, Macintosh, Android, Linux, UNIX, or most any other operating system). SecureSend Online provides industrial-strength encryption without the need to install any special software at either the sending or receiving computer(s). It produces encrypted text that is fully compatible with SecureSend and SecureSend Decrypter. This product is offered as a credit-based online service; specifically, decryption is always free, and encryption costs one credit, which can be purchased for as low as $0.125. There are no monthly/recurring fees.

There are drawbacks to SecureSend, however. First, it does cost money to purchase the app or to use the web version to send encrypted messages. That said, the prices seem modest, and decryption is always free.

Next, the message recipient needs to have one of the family of decryption programs: either by purchasing the main encryption/decryption client or by downloading the FREE SecureSend Decrypter or by using the FREE web-based SecureSend Online service in a web browser. In addition, the recipient also must have a little bit of technical knowledge to be able to use the decryption software and to understand what he or she is doing. Admittedly, very little technical knowledge is required; but, the process is not quite as simple as normal email messaging.

The easiest method of using SecureSend probably is to use SecureSend Online. It is a separate, browser-based service which lets you encrypt and decrypt text and credit card information from any Internet-capable device. SecureSend Online provides industrial-strength encryption without the need to install any special software at either the sending or receiving computer(s). It produces encrypted text that is fully compatible with SecureSend and SecureSend Decrypter, which costs the sending person but is free for the recipient(s). The sender needs to establish an account at SecureSend and deposit a few dollars. Every time that person creates and sends an encrypted message, a few pennies are deducted from the account. Of course, he or she can “top up” the account at any time.

Again, decryption is always free.

SecureSend is an easy and inexpensive way to keep your private communications private.

You can learn more about SecureSend at: http://www.securesendapp.com/.

11 thoughts on “An Easy Way To Send Confidential Information Online

    • —> Can you perhaps put a Print PDF button here too?

      Done! The “Print & PDF” button should now show at the end of every article posted here. You can print any article, email it, or save it to your own computer as a PDF file.

      Thanks for the suggestion!

      – Dick Eastman

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    • The Decryptor software by itself is useless. To read a secure email message sent with SecureSend, you need BOTH the Decryptor software PLUS the secret key (similar to a password) the sender used to create the secure message.

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    • —> Using a web based decryption service seems to defeat the very purpose

      Try it. SecureSend starts off by using an SSL connection to your web browser (the same as used by banks, credit card companies, and others) which is supposedly very secure and then SecureSend adds its own encryption in addition to the SSL encryption. In other words, it is an encrypted connection being sent over an encrypted connection. That’s double layers of encryption. Anyone who taps into your connection when you are reading the secure email message in a web browser will see something that looks like this: asg%&8gDKT#mKFlk27*bDoGu. The “extra software” required to safely decrypt the message gets downloaded to your browser before the message is delivered to you. Of course, you also have to manually enter the encryption key (which is similar to a password although more secure than a password) before the message is decrypted.

      I have no way of testing SecureSend’s claims but they do state that using the web browser is fully secure. I tend to believe them.

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  1. I confess, I don’t see how this works. I have to send the encrypted message and the other person has to de-encrypt it. So what prevents hackers from getting the software and decrypting? If a password is required, how do you securely get the password to the person who needs it in order to legitimately decrypt it?

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    • —> So what prevents hackers from getting the software and decrypting?

      They don’t have the super-secret encryption key the sender used to encrypt the message.

      Technically, an encryption key is not the same thing as a password although people who are not familiar with encryption keys often confuse the two. An encryption key often looks like a password but it works differently.

      —> If a password is required, how do you securely get the password to the person who needs it in order to legitimately decrypt it?

      By any means other than email. Perhaps you meet in in person and say “I’ll send you encrypted messages using this encryption key” or you converse on the telephone (although telephones are VERY insecure) or you exchange encryption keys by old-fashioned mail or any other means of exchanging information. I would prefer a face-to-face meeting but others use different methods.

      For instance, let’s say that you and I meet over lunch someplace where no one else is around. Maybe a “brown bag lunch” on a bench in a city park. I tell you, “every time I send you an encrypted message, the encryption key will be “abcdefghisjlm”. (That’s a very weak example but suffices as an example for this discussion.)

      That is our secret. I told you but I won’t tell anyone else. I assume also that you won;t tell anyone else.

      Later, I send you an encrypted message using that encryption key. When you receive it, the message looks like gibberish. However, if you use SecureSend’s Decoder, you enter the encryption key of “abcdefghisjlm” and the original message then appears in plan text.

      Anyone else who listens in and intercepts the message but does not have the encryption key will see a message that looks something like this: jYBFurbxSQbw1vqcjN0fVZJz3Y0VKC4Jq41a9Rub4iE/23n/Qcc9UR3t2aj+EhMq

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  2. As long as you and the recipient happen to be able to meet at reasonable cost, that is well and good and/or as long as you expect to need that security for an extended conversation – else there is little point.

    If he is close enough you can hand him an encrypted thumb drive – though it seems the government can force you to disclose the key for this even at that?

    In any case, won’t you and/or your correspondent have to keep a readable copy of the key around? Surely not in plain text on your PC/phone/iPad which can be lost, stolen, broken into….?

    Then again, once the spooks see you go to all that trouble – at the very least they’ll catch the message(as) they can’t read – which will just as surely arouse their interest, and so, you and your respondent will have to securely encrypt your key, which I see as a never ending vicious circle, with the government holding the key to your cell, if you don’t hand over your key 🙂

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    • —> In any case, won’t you and/or your correspondent have to keep a readable copy of the key around?

      Not if it was short enough and easy to remember, such as a person’s name. However, most security experts will advise you to use long encryption keys of random numbers and letters. In that case, you obviously have to keep a copy of it someplace. I would never keep it on paper, however, and, as you say, not in plain text.

      Most governments use these techniques to keep military and diplomatic messages secret. Banks and other institutions use similar methods to safely transfer millions of dollars online every day.

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  3. If Hillary Clinton had used this method (and maybe she did ) then there would be less of a keffufle over her emails.n Then again, maybe that is why she used her private server.

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