ProtonMail is a very popular email service. The Swiss-based company focuses on privacy and security and guarantees users will not be affected by censorship measures. Earlier today, the company revealed their service can now be reached over the Tor network, which adds another layer of privacy and anonymity to the mix. A big step forward for privacy advocates, and another validation of the Tor project.
ProtonMail Embraces Tor Users
Up until this point, it was not possible to access the ProtonMail service while being connected to the Tor protocol. The Swiss company went the extra mile for their customers by enabling this feature as of today. This move is part of the company’s plans to improve user privacy and circumvent censorship restrictions.
As more users rely on ProtonMail, it makes a lot of sense for the company to introduce this change right now. Protecting civil rights is a battle that needs to be fought on different frontiers. Offering a secure and private email service is just one of the tools needed to achieve this goal. Interestingly enough, ProtonMail acknowledges this growth mostly stems from the recent US Presidential elections.
Accessing the ProtonMail service requires users to have the Tor browser installed. Detailed instructions on how to set everything up and access the email service can be found on the ProtonMail blog. It is possible to combine these two powerful services on computers, as well as iOS and Android.
It is important to note the Swiss company generated an onion URL that can be accessed. However, they want to ensure the address was easy enough to remember. It took considerable computational resources to come up with the right URL. After all, the company wants to prevent phishing attacks from having Tor users redirected to fake login pages. The “protonirockerxow.onion” address should be easy enough for most people to remember.
Moreover, ProtonMail obtained a digital certificate to ensure all Tor traffic is running through https. Although this is an added measure that is not necessarily needed, it still adds an extra layer of security. ProtonMail has indicated plans to host the online site in a secret location, while still using their own infrastructure.
All things considered, supporting the Tor protocol is a smart move by ProtonMail. Anyone using the Tor browser will have their real IP and location shielded at all times, ensuring not even the Swiss email provider can see it. Even if an attacker sniffed the packet stream, they would not necessarily be able to deanonymize users of either service. Plus, supporting Tor makes it virtually impossible for governments or ISPs to block access to the email service.
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