[Windows] Send and receive encrypted emails using InstantCrypt, a portable program

InstantCryptIf you think that the level of security that your current email provider provides is not enough to secure your important email messages, you might as well encrypt them using the OpenPGP standard. Speaking of which, this is a process that you can easily do using InstantCrypt, a free email encryption program.

What Is It and What Does It Do

Main Functionality

InstantCrypt is an email encryption program that allows you to send and receive encrypted emails. This process involves data encryption and decryption using the OpenPGP standard. Through this program, you get to have a secure end-to-end encryption system that you can use on your preferred web mail service or email program.

Pros

  • Provides a detailed tutorial for new users, you can also refer to the Help Page to learn how the program works
  • Uses OpenPGP method to encrypt and decrypt messages
  • Provides a secure end-to-end user encryption system
  • Secures your emails using a unique passphrase or password
  • Supports all common types of email programs or web email services (Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook/Hotmail, etc.)
  • Supports file attachments – text files, documents, photos, audio files, etc.
  • Keyfile backup – lets you create a backup copy of your key files
  • Offers a portable version
  • You can easily decrypt your emails using other OpenPGP programs, if you no longer want to use InstantCrypt

Cons

  • May not be suitable to all users especially those who don’t have basic knowledge about encrypting or decrypting files
  • You cannot send your emails to multiple recipients
  • The location or folder where your key files are stored aren’t protected

Discussion

InstantCrypt Email SetupInstantCrypt is useful especially if you want to make sure that no one else could read your emails except for the original recipient. While most of today’s email services are already secured with different security and encryption methods, it is still better to add another layer of security and that is through the use of the OpenPGP encryption method.

Through this program, you can send and receive email messages that are encrypted. This also means that in order for you to decrypt the message, you’ll need to provide the correct key as well as the correct passphrase. In the same manner, your recipients won’t be able to decrypt your email message unless they have your PGP encryption key.

In actuality, the concept behind this method is very simple but still, it isn’t something that you could easily teach to others especially if they do not fully understand the basics of data encryption and decryption. This is one of the reasons why the program provides a detailed tutorial as to how it should be used and if ever you encounter some difficulties, you can always refer to its Help File. It’s quite good to see that the developer of this program did make some extra effort to teach its users the proper way of sending and decrypting email messages. This feature is very useful especially for those who are planning to make use of InstantCrypt for the very first time.

Basically, the entire process consists of four steps. The first step is to create your own encryption key. Without this key, other users won’t be able to send you their encrypted messages. Of course, for every encryption key that you create, you also need to provide a secure passphrase or password. When it comes to using this program, you need to consider the following pointers:

  • Your contact needs your encryption key so that he or she will be able to send you an encrypted email message
  • You need your contact’s encryption key so that you will be able to send him/her an encrypted email message

On the other hand, decrypting the email messages that you have received is also very easy. Just create a new mail message, copy and paste the encrypted text that you’ve received on the “Encrypted Message” box, press the “decrypt” button then enter the required passphrase. After that, you will be able to see decrypted file in the “Message Text” area.

So far, I did not experience any issues while using this program. It’s just that when it comes to sending emails, you can only send one email at a time. You cannot send your messages to multiple recipients and if you are not used to using such types of programs, you might find it difficult to send and receive mails even if you have already gone through the basic steps in the welcome tutorial.

Conclusion and Download Link

InstantCrypt is a reliable email encryption program and it is definitely ideal for users who want to send and receive encrypted emails. The best part is InstantCrypt works with pretty much all email services, whether that be web mail like Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook.com, or desktop mail using Outlook. It is a very stable software that you can use on a daily basis. If you want to protect your privacy and send/receive encrypted emails, I highly recommend InstantCrypt. However, if you don’t have enough knowledge about this type of data encryption method, I suggest that you read the Help file first so that you will know how to properly use this program.

Price: Free

Version reviewed: 2.3.1

Supported OS: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8

Download size: 6.9MB for the installer file, 2.7MB for the portable Zip file

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/44

Is it portable? Yes

InstantCrypt homepage

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13 comments

  1. JMJ

    [@Godel] I *think* your first response to me is correct: Comodo generates both Public and Private Keys, installs the Private Key in the Windows Certificate Store on our machines and elsewhere on our machine stores our Public Key.

    On the other hand, it is possible that the Private Key is generated on, and never leaves, our machine. I SIMPLY DON’T KNOW that answer, yet. Frankly, when I first started using Comodo’s certificates, because of their standing as a Certificate Authority, it never occurred to me question their integrity and their providing a product that did what was promised. On its face, it would be a material misrepresentation if they retained a copy of our Private Key or if they engineered a way to recreate it. With the recently revealed shenanigans of the U.S. Govt., we now know anything is possible WITHIN THE LAW, parts of which are secret and unknown. In other words, Comodo and other such entities MAY have some secret, gov’t.-mandated requirement to build in a “backdoor” or some other means to access/recreate our Private Key. I highly, highly doubt that, however.

    If such a secret, legal requirement does not exist aAND Comodo did it anyway, you or I could sue them into oblivion. Governments would also take legal action. Frankly, notwithstanding even the Snowden revelations, IMO this level of paranoia is not warranted, because:
    1. All CA’s would have to be complicit in doing the same.
    2 Some researcher, competitor or dotTechie :-) would’ve uncovered the maliciousness by now.
    3. Other governments would object to an Anglo/American company having such capability.

  2. Godel

    [@JMJ]

    The way I understood mail certificates to work was that the user creates a public and private key pair, then submits the public part of the key to the signing authority to turn into a certificate. Since you’re not giving Comodo anything more than your email address (on the part of the process I looked at) I assumed they must be doing both parts.

    Perhaps they erase their copy of the certificate after sending it to you, but if so, aren’t you relying a lot on trust?

    I suppose I should try it and see what actually happens. Tomorrow.

  3. JMJ

    [@Mr.Dave] You’re welcome, with thanks to you for making me pull up the User Manual. It’s really tragic that your (mine, our) distrusting/second-guessing everything is just good commonsense, isn’t it? Anyway, I’ve reconciled myself to the high probability that, if a skilled hacker or government specifically targeted me, there is little I could do to defeat them with my skill set, resources and knowledge. For any less potent “attack” on my email, I think a desktop client and Comodo will do fine.

    Let me go hippie for a second and say that I am a Child of the Universe and, though born in America, am a Citizen of the World. Every human being is part of my Family. Further, for most of my life, I’ve had an intimate relationship with Chinese people, both here and abroad and count four individual Chinese people as oldest, dearest friends. So, I mean no harm to anyone.

    However, as a recent article regarding Orbit Downloader suggests, there is a real, imminent danger in using software built in China, especially all the “free” stuff flooding the Internet. Look at what a paltry 748KB program did to the sovereign nation of Iran when a hacker-government(s) targeted them. It is almost a certainty that the Chinese government has sponsored production and dissemination of lots and lots of naughty software aimed at enemies and friends, alike.

    Frankly, in my goings and comings, having just barely glimpsed REAL power, I have no illusions about my own. In terms of security, spying, governmental programs and the like, I remind myself, especially in a milieu like this fine Site: Those who say, do not know; those who know, do not say.

  4. Mr.Dave

    [@JMJ] Thanks for you reply. If I used an e-mail client I would certainly look into Comodo. I disagree, however, with your reply to Godel, “It would inherently defeat the purpose of their issuing certificates”. We would want it to be that way, but these days it’s hard to trust anyone. Comodo has development teams in China and Russia, and the NSA probably has their hooks into them as well. I expect our private keys would be on file in several different countries. Just my gut opinion, but I don’t think we can prove who is right. Your high praise of Comodo has got me wanting to learn more about them, and I thank you for that!

  5. JMJ

    [@Godel] I do not *think* they do for at least, these reasons:
    1. It would inherently defeat the purpose of their issuing certificates in the first instance;
    2. If you lose, corrupt or otherwise injure your installed certificate they cannot help you recover it, restore it, etc.
    3. After its being issued, other than using it where it was first installed, all you can do is revoke it. Of course, you have the ability to export the key for safety/backup during which exporting it is further encrypted.

    Therefore, though I am no expert, it clearly appears to me that you and only you have access to your private key. What do you think?

  6. JMJ

    [@Mr.Dave] Please take a look at the page my comment’s link refers to. Comodo, as I stated above, works with most email clients and NOT just Outlook. My personal use and the literature confirm that fact. Read again.

    In addition, you can selectively Digitally Sign each/all/no emails with or without encryption and send to multiple recipients with no cut & paste messiness required.

    Finally, your addressee doesn’t have to install any app to read your encrypted/signed email. Comodo sends your key which, upon their acceptance, is imported into their Windows Certificate Store, just like when you visit an SSL website. Simple.

    InstaCrypt requires you to open two applications, itself and your preferred email client; then you have to copy & paste in order to send ONE email to ONE recipient at a time!?! Seems very cumbersome, to me.

    I have used Comodo SecureEmail for years. Get a free Certificate that works with 99% of email clients and, then, install the SecureEmail app in one of TWO ways:
    1. For Outlook only; **OR**
    2. In Network Level mode (LSP mode) which intercepts **ALL** email activity on your machine.

    Much simpler and more elegant solution.

  7. Mr.Dave

    InstaCrypt looks like a simple way to get started in message encryption. Like Ashraf, I use G-mail. I looked at Comodo and GnuPGP — neither makes it simple to encrypt a text message or file for G-mail, they both work best from Outlook. I don’t use Outlook. InstaCrypt looks simple enough that I can recommend it to the people with whom I want to exchange messages. Since it uses standard algorithms, if they already have something similar installed they can probably read & send back to me using that. Nice find!

  8. JMJ

    Isn’t his process overly complicated, Kent? I’ve installed COMODO Secure Email in client-level mode for my Outlook. only. However, it can also be installed in network-level mode which can encrypt all email sent from whatever email client with automatic key exchange and no need for the recipient to install anything. And, I can digitally sign every email, with or without encryption, to multiple recipients.

    In another post today, Ashraf mentioned why he was still in love with Gmail, despite its many shortcomings. (I think he secretly holds stock in the company.) I asked him there, why he accesses it via a browser, thereby sacrificing privacy and an ad-free experience. Comodo and my beloved POP Peeper obviates those concerns. What do you think?

  9. smaragdus

    The problem with InstantCrypt is that people do not care for privacy. I have InstantCrypt but the only way to use it is to send mails to myself. Because people do not care at all, all that is happening in the USA is possible- the problem is neither NSA nor CIA but the ignorant, careless, indifferent people who tolerate everything.