03 November 2017

MessageLock Development is Ending.

MessageLock is an email encryption add-in for Microsoft Outlook . It is the product that launched our company over a decade ago. So it's with some sadness that we announce that we have decided to stop development on MessageLock, and that we will be ending support after 2018.

If you are still using MessageLock, we encourage you to consider moving to the free Lockbin add-in for Outlook. Lockbin makes it easy to communicate securely with anyone.  You can get a free Lockbin account now and decide later if the additional premium services are worth a $4.95/mo subscription.

You can download the free Lockbin add-in for Outlook directly from https://lockbin.com

Why are we ending MessageLock development?
When it was launched 12 years ago, MessageLock made email encryption easier for thousands of Microsoft Outlook users.

Demand for MessageLock has not kept pace with other products that we offer, including an Outlook add-in for OpenPGP, Lockbin, and PDF Postman.  The frequency of Microsoft Office updates have made it impractical to continue supporting MessageLock, given the demand.

Will MessageLock stop working?
No, your copy of MessageLock will continue to work, but it will not be supported on upcoming versions of Microsoft Office Outlook

Is Lockbin.com the only option?
While Lockbin is a great option for communicating securely and has an excellent add-in for Outlook, at a customer's request, we will gladly transfer MessageLock licenses to our other products at no charge, including:

Encryptomatic OpenPGP add-in for Outlook:  www.encryptomatic.com/openpgp

PDF Postman add-in for Outlook: www.encryptomatic.com/pdfpostman

If you have you any questions or suggestions for how we can make your transition from MessageLock easier, please contact us.

24 January 2017

Understanding OpenPGP Public and Private Keys

Email encryption has never been easy. The complexity of encrypting emails has frustrated the adoption of the PGP protocol in the decades since Phil Zimmermann released it to the world.

PGP doesn't work the way most people conceptualize encryption, and has been difficult for most to grasp.  It's easy to fall back on the metaphor of a safe with a single combination that both locks and opens the safe.   It's easy to think of knocking on a door, and someone asks "What's the password." If the password is correct, passage is granted.

If someone steals your password, then they can get into your stuff.  A password that both opens and locks something is called a symmetric key password.  If this password is weak and easily guessed, or if someone you have entrusted the password to isn't careful with it, then you have been defeated.  

Open PGP works differently from symmetric key passwords.  Open PGP is asymmetric.

There are two keys in PGP (actually, there can be subkeys, but lets not go there right now).   One key is public and can be known to the world.  The other key is private, and must be kept secure.

If you were going to send me a PGP encrypted email message, you would need to know my public key. You can use my public key to encrypt files and messages that you want me to see. My public is not a secret. 

In fact, here is my public key.  You can know it.  I have published it to a well known key server so you don't have to keep asking me for my public key.  If you want to send me a secure message, you can use my public key.  My public key is not a secret.

If I want to open the encrypted message that you send me (the message you encrypted with my public key), I have to use my private key.  Only my private key can open a message that has been encrypted using my public key.

That is the beauty of Open PGP.  Public keys can be shared openly. We don't have to worry that someone will overhear me sharing my public key with you.

It's like a safe with multiple combinations.   One combination was published in the newspaper, and lets anyone open a door on the safe and put something in. The other combination is a secret and only lets me take something out of the safe.

How can private key unlock something encrypted with a public key?

Oh, so you're a math enthusiast?  For open PGP to work, you really only need to accept the idea that the keys are mathematically related.  You don't have to understand the math, but you should feel comfortable enough to trust it.  It involves working with very large prime numbers.  But if you're interested in elliptical curve cryptography, you read more about it here.

Why don't more people use Open PGP?

Most people don't send encrypted messages because they don't have anyone who wants to receive an an encrypted message.  Message encryption works best when it happens automatically, behind the scenes.  Unfortunately, until recently many large companies that provided communication platforms did not take protecting your messages very seriously.  There is no email encryption option in Gmail or Yahoo mail.  It's difficult enough just to setup an email client like Microsoft Outlook or Thunderbird.  Then, installing the special software to add email encryption is another level of complexity. Then, generating a PGP key pair (public/private) and sharing the public key.... well, you get the idea.

First people need to be convinced that there is a benefit to complexity.  It's easy to convince ourselves that we, "have nothing to hide," and that nobody would be interested in our email anyway.

An easy way to begin to dabble in encryption is to install and use Signal by Open Whisper Systems. It's free and easy to use. Signal is the best implementation for IM encryption that I have seen.

If you are a Microsoft Outlook user, you're welcome to use Encryptomatic Open PGP add-in. We've tried hard to make it easy to install and use, and it's free for personal use.

Thunderbird with the Enigmail add-in is an excellent choice.

Encryptomatic also operates Lockbin.com.  Lockbin lets you send messages to anyone by email, securely, and puts a buffer between you and the technology.

We hope these tools will help you take back your privacy and allow you to communicate confidently.

04 January 2017

PstViewer Lite Now Free for Personal Use

Are you looking for a free email viewer? We invite you to try PstViewer Lite. This Windows software app opens Outlook .pst, .ost, .msg and .eml email files, and is now 100% free for personal use.

If you are a home/student/personal user who wants to access old emails, or if you have an email you want to save as a pdf file, you can now get a free license of PstViewer Lite, previously priced at $29.99.

Unlike other free .pst viewers, PstViewer Lite has no adware/spyware/malware. It's the same product sold commercially by Encryptomatic LLC for five years.

Why are we doing this? We've been dismayed with the recent rash of very poor "free" email viewing software. Some of this software scans your Pst files and then reports "corruption," offering to fix it if you purchase another product. We think that's wrong.

We hope you enjoy PstViewer Lite. Feel free to contact our support team with any questions or bug reports.

PstViewer Lite is still sold, supported and licensed for enterprise and business use.

07 September 2016

Why Did a Signed OpenPGP Email Fail a Signature Test at the Recipient's End?

One of our customers signed an email message with the Encryptomatic OpenPGP add-in for MS Outlook, but noticed that the recipient was unable to verify the message's digital signature, which was reported as invalid. They contacted our support team to report a bug.
On closer examination, our technician discovered that the message was being altered at the email server by MsgTag, a service that inserts web beacons into messages so that the sender knows it has been read.
This is essentially the sort of man-in-the-middle attacks that PGP signing a message is supposed to signal. If a message has been altered in transit, then a OpenPGP signed message will fail a signature test.
You can learn more about Web Beacons here.
If you are a user of #MsOutlook, download a copy of Encryptomatic OpenPGP and start protecting your email messages.

01 September 2016

How to Permanently Erase Emails from Microsoft Outlook

Most people reasonably believe that when they delete an email message from Microsoft Outlook and empty the trash folder, the message is permanently erased.  Forensic investigators know this is untrue, and use the ignorance of Outlook users to recover emails during investigations. Deleted Outlook emails are easily be retrieved with a number of off-the-shelf software tools.   Depending on your perspective, this could be good or bad news. It's great news if you deleted an email with pictures you forgot to save.  It's bad news if you thought you had removed emails that contact embarrassing information.

Even after deletion, emails remain your Outlook .pst or .ost file until you compact the file. Compacting a .pst/.ost file is a feature that Microsoft discourages by making it difficult to access. Besides permanently removing deleted emails, another benefit of compacting is that it makes your .pst/.ost files smaller, saving space. 

How to compact your Outlook .pst file

My example uses Microsoft Outlook 2016, and will be similar on Outlook 2013.

Step 1. Delete your email messages and empty your Trash folder.

You know how to do this. Just click on an Outlook email message and press delete.

Step 2. Empty the trash folder for your .pst file.  

In the Outlook Inbox panel, locate the Trash folder. Press or Right click on it and delete "Empty."

Empty Outlook Trash Folder

Your emails will now appear to be deleted.  They will not appear in your email list or as the result of a search, but as we know they are still lurking beyond sight.

Step 3.  Compact your Outlook .pst/.ost file

In the Outlook folder list, tap or right click on the top line of the .pst/.ost file.  It may have your email address, or if you renamed it, it could have any other name. 

This will bring up a context menu.  Select "Data File Properties."

Outlook data file properties.
Outlook Data File Properties

Selecting "Date File Properties" will take you to the Properties window.  Select "Advanced," then "Compact Now."

Screen shot showing how to locate the "Compact Now" feature in Outlook 2016.
Click "Compact Now" to begin compacting the PST or OST file.

Outlook will begin compacting the PST file and in the process permanently destroying all deleted in the file.  

Screen shot of Outlook window displaying "Compact Now."
Microsoft Outlook "Compact Now" 

If you have not compacted your Outlook PST/OST file before, it could take several minutes to complete the operation.

We hope this helps you manage the size of your Outlook email files, while helping secure your privacy by permanently removing emails you thought you had deleted.  If you have any questions or comments, please post them below.

Encryptomatic LLC is a Windows software developer with a suite of products that help its customers manage their email content. Learn more.

27 July 2016

Encryptomatic Offers OpenPGP Email Encryption Add-in for Microsoft Outlook

Screen image of Encryptomatic OpenPGP add-in in Outlook 2013.
Encryptomatic OpenPGP add-in for Microsoft Outlook

In late 2015, we launched Encryptomatic OpenPGP add-in for Outlook due to the expense and installation difficulties we were having with other PGP email encryption add-ins for Outlook. We needed a product that installed easily, didn't contain any ad-ware, offered a signed installer package, and was so easy that even we could use it. In the end, we had to build our own OpenPGP add-in to get the features we wanted.

As a company, we have always believed that encryption needs to be part of every Microsoft Outlook user's security arsenal.  When the product was released last year, the uptake was slow, and we had a few rough edges to work out. Since then, we couldn't be more pleased with the reception that Encryptomatic OpenPGP has received from business people, private individuals, non-profit organizations, journalists, the security community and even governments.

If you are a Windows Outlook user who wants to learn more about encrypting emails, but  you don't have a Ph.D. in cryptography, we think you'll appreciate how easy it is to install and use Encryptomatic OpenPGP.

22 March 2016

How to Run Open Whisper Systems' Signal Messenger App on Windows

One our favorite tools for secure messaging is Signal Secure Messenger app by Whisper Systems.  Signal is widely lauded for its end-to-end encrypted messaging, which is as easy to use as regular MMS/SMS texting.  Signal is available for iOS on the Apple AppStore and on Android through Google Play.

Open Whisper Systems is working on a Windows desktop app. It's in beta, but there is a long list to be invited to participate.  You can sign up for the beta here.

So while there is no released Signal app for Windows yet, we have discovered a way to install and use Signal on Windows. It involves an Android emulator and Google Voice. If you can't wait for the official Windows Signal app, here's you can get up and running today!

What you will need to install Signal on Windows 10

1. A Google or Gmail Account
2. A Google Voice phone number. Forward your Google voice number to Google Chat.
3. BlueStacks Android App Player

Once you have the above items, continue on.

Start the BlueStacks app player, and log into Google Play using your Gmail/Google account.

Install the Signal app and run it.

Signal will ask you to enter your phone number. Enter your Google Voice number.

Enter your Google Voice number into Signal

Signal will attempt to verify your phone number by sending a SMS code.  It will be unable to receive the SMS verification code of course, because you are running Signal from BlueStacks, and not a real phone.

Request that Signal call your Google Voice number with the verification code.

Request a voice call from Signal.

Signal will now dial your Google Voice number.  Google Voice will answer and record the verification code.  To retrieve this code, go to your Google messenger inbox.

The message will appear as a recording in your Inbox. Play the message to get the code.
Retrieve the Signal verification code from Google messenger.

Go back to Signal and enter the verification code. The installation of Signal will continue.

Signal app continues installation in BlueStacks after entering the verification code

You are now ready to start using Signal on Windows to send and receive secure messages!

Signal Messenger App Running in Windows 10
To start enjoying the privacy that comes with encrypted end-to-end messaging, invite your friends to install Signal. A million other people have done so.