While revelations from Edward Snowden and others have led to people worrying about the security of their digital correspondence, actually securing email is a harder task. Many of the tools that have been created for that purpose can be difficult to use, or hard to understand.
IronBox wants to help. The Redmond-based security startup announced today that it is launching IronBox for Outlook, a service that allows users to encrypt their email with the push of a button in Outlook’s toolbar. It’s designed for lawyers, accountants and other professionals who need to keep their correspondence private, even as fears about snooping mount.
“If you can send an email, you can use IronBox,” IronBox co-founder and CTO Kevin Lam said in a press release.
Lam, who has previously worked as a Senior Security Technologist for Microsoft and has a background in ethical hacking, started IronBox with Tim Riley, who currently sits on the board of Seattle-based search marketing company Point It in addition to his work as CEO of IronBox. The company is privately funded.
IronBox uses encryption functionality built into Microsoft Word and Adobe PDF to allow users to lock up their correspondence with a password, and send it off to their recipient. That should provide some solace for people concerned about NSA surveillance, since all of the encryption and decryption takes place on a user’s computer. According to Lam, the company or another party wouldn’t be able to decrypt the data even if they were required to by court order.
Of course, that protection relies on a user choosing a strong enough password, but it’s still better at securing secrets than sending email in plain text.
The encryption service doesn’t come cheap, though. IronBox for Outlook costs $9.99 a month, or $99 a year. Still, it seems like a viable option for people and businesses that want to protect their email without having to worry about a lot of the technical details.