want secure email provider with Roundcube-like or customizable UI
October 16, 2020 6:01 PM   Subscribe

Seems like all the newish secure email providers keep trying to ultra-simplify their web/app interfaces. I get that for mobile that might be a thing, but even for my notebook, I want all the columns! Suggestions? If I had my way I'd say "gimme secure email product X, but let me have my Roundcube GUI" - doesn't seem to be a thing. I think for desktop clients there are options (trusty Thunderbird and maybe emClient), but not for web.
posted by bitterkitten to Computers & Internet (2 answers total)
"Secure" and "email" are two words that generally sit fairly uncomfortably in the same sentence, and adding "web" makes that even worse.

The basic issue is that in order to be as secure as email can ever be, messages need to be end-to-end encrypted, and the decryption keys need to be held securely on endpoint devices only.

If you're using something like ProtonMail's web interface, you're trusting the mail provider to manage your decryption keys. This renders your messages insecure against attacks originating inside the provider itself, which they would not be if you were managing your own keys.

I strongly recommend reading both of the following articles from Fastmail's blog:

Why Fastmail doesn't integrate PGP
PGP tools with FastMail

In particular, the tips in the second article should let you secure any email account from any provider of your choice, using any email client of your choice, to at least the same degree you'd achieve by cutting over to something that advertises itself as a "secure" email platform.

If you want genuinely end-to-end encrypted messaging with less fiddling about, you might want to look into replacing some of your email use cases with something like Keybase - where encryption and related identity management issues have been design considerations from the get-go rather than bolted on as an afterthought, as was necessarily the case for email.
posted by flabdablet at 10:44 PM on October 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: thanks for the tips flabd. Ok lets say I didn't care about security (bad idea, but just for this discussion). Besides Roundcube, seems in terms of web interface, nobody provides additional (customizable) columns with info in them. All I see is dark themes or maybe ability to read your mail on the side or bottom of interface. Any other ideas? Before I start pestering developers with suggestions. ; )
posted by bitterkitten at 11:38 AM on October 17, 2020

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