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I understand that Gmail to Gmail is not very secure. On the other hand, ProtonMail is a very good option with great features. But there is one thing I don't quite understand:

Why should I use ProtonMail if the recipient uses Gmail? How is this more secure? I mean, if Gmail is not secure enough, then what's the point of sending an email to Gmail from ProtonMail instead of just keep using Gmail (given that it has extra features)?

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I understand that Gmail to Gmail is not very secure.

Depends on the threat. Do you care that a handful of people who work for google and the government can read your messages? If not, then gmail's great.

On the other hand, ProtonMail is a very good option with great features. But there is one thing I don't quite understand:

Why should I use ProtonMail if the recipient uses Gmail? How is this more secure? I mean, if Gmail is not secure enough, then what's the point of sending an email to Gmail from ProtonMail instead of just keep using Gmail (given that it has extra features)?

Yeah, once you send the message outside of the protonmail ecosystem it's only as secure as the least secure link. It's likley that protonmail uses TLS to communicate with gmail, and again, gmail's pretty darn safe.

However, if you had sent the messages to yahoo in the past, then the NSA had a tap on yahoo's network, and that would not have been very safe, unless you don’t care if the NSA reads your mail.

If you sent the message to Hillary Clinton's basement email server, then the cleaning lady could have taken the hard drive. That's not very safe.

Then again, if you sync your email to your personal device, or your computer is compromised, then your proton mail is also compromised.

Maybe use signal on your phone for really really sensitive messages, and gmail with two factor for the rest.

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    +1 for advising to use Signal. It is really better in terms of security. – C0deDaedalus May 25 '18 at 10:24
  • @Jonathan What do you mean by "gmail with two factor"? Is Gmail with two factor authentication more secure? – Karatug Ozan Bircan May 25 '18 at 17:36
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    Typically the biggest threat to an online service is phishing or any other way you could get your password stolen. 2 factor makes it a little more difficult for the attacker. – Jonathan May 25 '18 at 19:52
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I understand that Gmail to Gmail is not very secure

Which is a claim without proof. I would instead suggest that GMail to GMail is more secure then some random mail provider to GMail as long as you stay within the Google infrastructure (i.e. don't use some non-Google mail server to deliver the mails).

... if Gmail is not secure enough, then what's the point of sending an email to Gmail from ProtonMail instead of just keep using Gmail (given that it has extra features)?

If your only recipient is a single account on GMail and you never use the function of Protonmail to send encrypted messages to external users (like GMail users) then the security of all your mails probably depends on what Google offers and how the specific recipient protects his mails.

But, most users probably communicate with several recipients. And even if the account of one of the recipients is hacked and the send mails are stolen the rest of your mails (send to others) is still protected by Protonmail - and the protection they provide is much better then other mail providers do.

And even if you only communicate with this single recipient you might use the feature of Protonmail to send encrypted mails even if the recipient is not on Protonmail which protects the messages even if the recipients account itself is compromised.

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Proton Mail unlike GMail keeps all its messages encrypted in the highest possible degree. Yes, you are right, there is always the possibility of sensitive messages leaking from the receivers mailbox (non-proton mail user) but then again the whole aim of proton mail is to maintain the confidentiality and integrity of your messages. This prevents any sort of information leakage from your mail account.

Furthermore, in the event that a really sensitive message has to be shared with a non-proton mail user there is always the option of encrypting the message sent and also setting it up with a self-destruct if necessary. This way the message stays on the secure proton mail servers. Also additionally, a non-proton mail user would be given the option to reply to the email in a secure manner as well.

Reference: https://protonmail.com/security-details

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    Although self-destruct is an option, I don't find it very convenient. It is hard to force your recipients to use ProtonMail website. For example, they cannot follow my emails in their inbox. – Karatug Ozan Bircan May 25 '18 at 15:44
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    I understand what you're talking about @KaratugOzanBircan. This is a clear case of Security vs User Experience. A possible solution in this scenario is only if the community introspects the security of their mail service and careful make a choice between usability and security. Now thats a tough call to make, Isn't it? – Tony Thomas May 25 '18 at 17:34

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