Hushmail

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Hushmail
Web address Hushmail.com
Type of site Web-based email
Registration Yes
Owner Hush Communications Corp.
Created by Cliff Baltzley
Launched 1999
Alexa rank positive decrease 6,692 (April 2014)[1]
Current status Active

Hushmail is a web-based email service offering PGP-encrypted e-mail, file storage and vanity domain service. Hushmail offers "free" and "paid" versions of service. Hushmail uses OpenPGP standards and the source is available for download. If public encryption keys are available to both recipient and sender (either both are Hushmail users or have uploaded PGP keys to the Hush keyserver), Hushmail can convey authenticated, encrypted messages in both directions. For recipients for whom no public key is available, Hushmail will allow a message to be encrypted by a password (with a password hint) and stored for pickup by the recipient, or the message can be sent in cleartext.

Accounts[edit]

For individuals

A free e-mail account has a storage limit of 25MB, but does not include IMAP or Post Office Protocol (POP3) desktop service. If a user does not use a free account for three consecutive weeks, Hushmail deactivates the account. Customers attempting to reactivate a disabled account are required to pay for a Hushmail premium account. There are two types of paid accounts. The basic Premium paid account provides 1 GB of storage, without desktop service. The Premium+Desktop paid account provides 10GB of storage, as well as IMAP and POP3 service.[2] Free account registration may be restricted in some regions.

For businesses

The standard business account provides the same features as Premium+Desktop, plus other features like email forwarding, catch-all email and vanity domain. Optional features that can be added for an extra fee include: secure web forms, user admin, reset passphrase and email archiving.[3]

Additional security features include hidden IP addresses in e-mail headers, two-step verification[4] and HIPAA compliant encryption.

Company details[edit]

Hushmail was founded by Cliff Baltzley in 1999 after he left Ultimate Privacy. Hushmail office and servers are based in Vancouver, Canada.

Compromises to email privacy[edit]

Further information: E-mail privacy

Hushmail received favorable reviews in the press.[5][6] It was believed that possible threats, such as demands from the legal system to reveal the content of traffic through the system, were not imminent in Canada, unlike the United States, and that if data were to be handed over, encrypted messages would be available only in encrypted form.

Developments in November 2007 led to doubts among security-conscious users about Hushmail's security and concern over a backdoor. The issue originated with the non-Java version of the Hush system. It performed the encrypt and decrypt steps on Hush's servers and then used SSL to transmit the data to the user. The data is available as cleartext during this small window; the passphrase can be captured at this point, facilitating the decryption of all stored messages and future messages using this passphrase. Hushmail stated that the Java version is also vulnerable, in that they may be compelled to deliver a compromised java applet to a user.[7][8]

Hushmail turned over cleartext copies of private email messages associated with several addresses at the request of law enforcement agencies under a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the United States.;[7] e.g. in the case of U.S. v. Tyler Stumbo.[7][8][9] In addition, the contents of emails between Hushmail addresses were analyzed, and 12 CDs were turned over to U.S. authorities. Hushmail privacy policy states that it logs IP addresses in order "to analyze market trends, gather broad demographic information, and prevent abuse of our services."[10]

Hush Communications, the company that provides Hushmail, states that it will not release any user data without a court order from the Supreme Court of British Columbia, Canada, and that other countries seeking access to user data must apply to the government of Canada via an applicable Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.[8] Hushmail states that "...that means that there is no guarantee that we will not be compelled, under a court order issued by the Supreme Court of British Columbia, Canada, to treat a user named in a court order differently, and compromise that user's privacy" and "...if a court order has been issued by the Supreme Court of British Columbia compelling us to reveal the content of your encrypted email, the "attacker" could be Hush Communications, the actual service provider."[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]