Hello there. Here is an extremely detailed step-by-step guide showing how to set up encrypted email with SecureMyEmail™ on a Mac or PC.
NOTE: If you’re used to installing software on your computer, it’s doubtful you’ll need this guide, and think the steps are way way too granular. Just go download the software and jump into it. We made it pretty intuitive.
This was done on an iMac with a Gmail account but, because we’re geniuses ;-), the apps and setup are nearly identical for ease of setup on all your devices.
- If you don’t have the software installed yet, go to our main website and click on “Pricing + Downloads, or just click here.
2. Click on the compatible software for your device and download it.
3. Do you want to install it? Yes, you do.
4. Accept the license agreement.
5. This is me, trying to get an “action shot” of dragging the SecureMyEmail icon into the Applications folder to install it. Hopefully, you get the idea.
6. Install warning. Do you trust us? Yes, you do.
7. SecureMyEmail installs and you should see an icon appear in your Menubar and Dock (Mac) or Desktop and Taskbar (when running) (PC). If it doesn’t automatically launch, click on the icon to launch SecureMyEmail.
8. As a NEW USER, make sure you click on the section to create a new account.
9. Fill in your info to create a SecureMyEmail account. Be sure to enter the primary email you wish to secure. You can add additional emails after you complete setup of the first email and account.
10. Create your Secret Password/Passphrase. This is the password/passphrase you will keep private. No one will know it but you. It should be a good one because we will create your 4096-bit encryption keys using it. This password unlocks your private key and allows you to decrypt emails and attachments. It’s very important, but you can also change it later, so don’t freeze up. 🙂
Note that this is also the place that if you are already using PGP, and you wish to use your current PGP keys with SecureMyEmail, that you should stop and go to Settings >> Advanced >> Import PGP Key.
11. Write your secret password/passphrase down and keep it somewhere safe. Trust us, unless you’re one of those people that can remember that October 3rd was a Tuesday when you were 3-years-old, and it was raining, you will likely forget it. That will be upsetting. Then you’ll ask us and we’ll have to tell you that, for security, we really don’t have it, and can’t recover it. Then you’ll be mad at us too. Please, just write it down for now. On paper. Old school style.
12. Securely upload your keys to our servers so you have a backup and to ease setting up other devices. Unless you’re a expert in backing up and managing cryptographic keys (some of you may be), we STRONGLY recommend you upload a copy to us.
It’s encrypted before it even leaves your computer, then travels through an encrypted tunnel to our secure servers in a secure data center in Switzerland. It’s completely safe. Even if someone got a hold of it, without your password/passphrase, it’s useless. Also, if you just want to upload it, sync up all your devices, and then delete it off our servers, you can do that too at Settings >> Advanced >> Delete Active Secret Key from SME Servers.
13. Next, is setting up your profile. This is all basically optional but nice if you plan to invite contacts and add them into SecureMyEmail. They’ll see your picture as well as see if you verified your identity with a social network. Probably overkill, but that’s how we roll.
14. Choose your Email provider. In this case, we’re setting up a Gmail address to encrypt, so we’ll choose Google. Microsoft keeps changing things, but for Microsoft 365/Office 365, Exchange seems to be best button. If you have Hotmail or Outlook.com, try Outlook.com.
NOTE: To encrypt @iCloud.com, @mac.com, or @me.com email addresses, you choose “Other” but you will need an app-specific password from Apple that you will use in place of your regular mail password. Click here to get one.
15. When you click Google, SecureMyEmail connects to Google so you can sign in and authorize the app to manage your email. Next few slides show how this looks with Google.With other providers it will look different or be manual input.
16. If all that goes okay, and we are able to connect to your provider, you’ll get a success message. If there is a problem, or you get an “unable to connect” message, double-check your settings and check out this article.
17. And….you’re done. You should be dropped in your INBOX and see your email start to load, including a Welcome Message from us. If your mail doesn’t load, maybe hit the reload icon, or maybe just wait a few. Why are you so impatient? What’s wrong?
Ok. Now, feel free to take a look around. Again, we tried to make most features intuitive and have instructions built in. Or, maybe let’s send an encrypted email to someone?
We designed SecureMyEmail to be intuitive and built in many instructions. Still, we hope you find this guide helpful. As all the apps are virtually identical, we’ll just use screenshots of our iOS app to walk you through a typical setup.
Create your Account
After installing software, choose “Create Account.”
Enter your information
NOTE FOR CURRENT PGP USERS: If you wish to use your current PGP keys with SecureMyEmail, you will need to start with our Mac or Windows software. During setup, you will be able to import your existing keys. You can also import them later from Settings>>Advanced >>Import PGP Key.
First Name /Last Name – This will be your account name. Your email display names will be what you already have for each specific email address already.
Email Address To Secure – This should be the first email address you wish to provide encryption for and will serve as your Primary Email account and Account Username. It can be changed later in Email Settings once you add additional email addresses.
Account Password – This will be your overall SecureMyEmail account password, but NOT the same as your individual email account passwords, or your secret encryption passphrase.
Click “Sign Up”
Create Secret Password/Passphrase
This is the most critical step. You should create a very good password or passphrase that you will commit to memory and/or keep in a safe place. Only you will know this password. It will be paired with a military grade 4096-bit decryption key we will create for you.
Passphrases or sentences are superior to passwords as they are harder for computers to guess if done well. Do not choose a song lyric or sentence from a book. It should be unique. Misspell a word or two for even better security. That drives computerz nuutzz. Just make certain it’s something you can remember!
Once you fill in the fields with your new password/passphrase, click “Next” and we’ll create your keys.
Only someone that possesses your private key and your secret password/passphrase can decrypt your email and attachments. Again, the idea here is that even if someone stole your device, hacked into it, then hacked into your email, and then even somehow retrieved the private key, they would still be unable to decrypt your email and attachments unless they also have this secret passphrase.
It is the ultimate in security but PLEASE write your secret passphrase down on paper and keep it somewhere safe until you are certain you will never forget it. Because, if you do forget it, you too will be unable to decrypt your email. 🙂
Uploading Secret Decryption Key
We strongly recommend you upload your decryption key. It is encrypted with your secret passphrase before it leaves your device, uploaded through an encrypted tunnel, and remains encrypted on our secure servers in Switzerland. Again, without the secret passphrase, which only you know, no one can ever decrypt it. Uploading it will serve as a backup of your key in case something happens to your device(s) and will also make setting up additional devices SO much easier. But, with us, you don’t have to.
Set up Your Profile
These steps are optional. You can upload a photo as well as link to your social media accounts. Why would you want to link to your social media accounts? To prevent someone from impersonating you. We call it Social Authentication.
As an example, if you authenticate to your Facebook account, and later invite a contact, the invited contact will see a Facebook badge on your SecureMyEmail profile that they can click on. When they click on the badge, it will take them to your Facebook profile page so they can verify that it is, indeed you, and not an impostor. The idea is that an impostor would not be able to authenticate to your Facebook page so they cannot earn the badge/link. Perhaps a bit overkill, but a nice feature in today’s world filled with phishing attempts and other impersonation fraud.
Just click “Next” when you’re done.
Email Account Setup
For Google/Gmail/G Suite, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook.com (including all email domains that are owned by Microsoft such as Hotmail), we are linked directly into their “Oauth” authentication systems, so set up should be easy and fairly instantaneous once you authenticate.
For MS Exchange, click on exchange icon, and then you just enter your email address and password and it should set up very easily.
If the email you entered when you set up is issued by one of the providers shown, click on the logo. If not, click “Other.”
How to encrypt Gmail, G Suite,Yahoo Mail, Outlook.com and other legacy Microsoft email addresses (Hotmail, etc.)
After clicking on Google logo, you’ll see this screen. It should have your email information filled in. Simply slide Oauth slider to the right.
Now, click on the orange button that says “Authenticate” or “Re-authenticate” (if you had previously set this account up).
You should now see the below. Click “Continue” and follow the steps Google presents for you to authenticate. They will vary based on what information exists on your device.
After successful authentication you should immediately be dropped into your INBOX. Mail should start loading immediately, but if you have a great deal of email, it may take a bit longer. You should be able to start sending encrypted email immediately.
How to encrypt “Other” email providers…
Pretty much everyone else, including personal and business domains.
If you’re using a provider other than Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, or Exchange, you’ll need to manually input your email settings, although we will attempt to enter these for you automatically from our large and growing database of email settings.
- Fill in your desired email display name for this account or use the one we enter for you.
- Enter the email address (check carefully…a typo is bad here)
- Enter the password for this specific email account. (Does you provider require an “Application Specific Password” for third pary email software?)
- Click “Next”
On the next screen you’ll need to closely check your settings. Again, we do maintain a database for many providers so we will attempt to populate these settings for you. Still, this doesn’t always work so you’ll want to check both the Incoming and Outgoing mail server settings closely.
Okay, I did all that and it still isn’t connecting…
Fear not. Here are some common things to try:
Are you using the provider’s correct IMAP settings? (we do not support POP email)
Are your internet connection and firewall settings ok? (if other email clients and internet applications are working okay this probably is not the issue).
Does your email provider require an “app-specific password?” (iCloud mail definitely does, for example.) You must set this up before you try to connect and use the new password in place of your usual email password in the SecureMyEmail Email Settings)
Do you have two factor authentication set up with this provider? (This can sometimes cause an issue so try turning it off and retrying and then you can try turning it back on)
Does your provider use “Oauth” to authenticate you? (We have this setup with Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook.com (as well as other Microsoft legacy email domains) so try sliding Oauth slider to “on” position to see if that helps.
If none of that works, contact our Support Team and we’ll try to help.Many providers have small idiosyncrasies that, once worked out, will enable trouble-free connecting from there on out.
Account Settings are where you can Manage your account, change your secret passphrase, sync and transfer your security keys to set up other devices.
Upload/Transfer Private Key
This is where you can upload the private key from a particular device to our secure servers. PLEASE NOTE this will replace any private key that is already on our systems. There is usually no need to do this as most users upload their private key during initial setup. If you didn’t upload a key during setup, or chose a temporary option, or manually deleted your key from our systems, and now need to set up new devices, or wish to keep a copy of your key on our systems as a backup, you may do so here.
This downloads your currently stored private key from our systems to your device. Devices should automatically attempt to sync to our servers, and offer to download your key from our systems, so this manual syncing is usually unnecessary. A reason to do this might be that if you uploaded your private key, or a new one, from another one of your devices to our systems, and now you wish to get that key on this device.
Change secret email password/passphrase
This is NOT your Account Password. This is the secret password that encrypts and decrypts your email and enables other secure functions throughout SecureMyEmail. It should not be shared with anyone. This should be used if you, personally, feel you wish to change your secret password/passphrase.
Do remember, for optimal security and privacy, we do not know and cannot recover your secret passphrase. Write it down and hide it now or you’ll likely forget it and be stuck.
Can’t remember your old secret passphrase? Check out Regenerate Security Keys under Advanced Settings.
Change Account Password
This is where you can change your SecureMyEmail Account Password. This is NOT your secret password/passphrase for decrypting email. This is your password for your general account only.
This is where you can manage your billing and payment methods. You can check when your account renews as well as add a credit card if your old one is expiring, or has expired.