A Defensive Computing Checklist    by Michael Horowitz
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GMAIL

Consider your Gmail password critically important. Never tell it to anyone. Do not use your Gmail password for anything else. If there is a chance you might forget it, write it down on paper twice and store each copy in different secure places.

TECH SUPPORT

To me, the biggest issue with Gmail is that it is free. Any free service comes at the price of no technical support. If something goes wrong with Gmail (or your Google account) tough luck. In my opinion, email is important enough that it is worth paying for, just to get technical support.

ASSORTED

CONFIDENTIAL MODE

What: It is an attribute of individual messages that lets you set an expiration date for sent messages, revoke access to sent messages, and optionally set a password for a sent message. In addition, recipients of confidential Gmail messages are prevented from forwarding, copying, printing and downloading the message. Invoke it while composing a message by clicking on a very small image of a padlock and a clock. The recipient does not need to use Gmail.

But: The recipient can take a screen shot. Message passwords require that you provide a cell phone number for the recipient because the password is texted to them. So, arguably less confidential than normal. Google does not say whether they can read the messages, which means they can.

  1. Watch out for Gmail's new Confidential Mode by Mike Elgan for Computerworld (May 2018). Elgan says that this is neither secure nor email.
  2. Send & open confidential emails from Google

AVOIDING GMAIL

  1. I moved my Gmail to a less creepy email. It was surprisingly easy. by Shira Ovide in the Washington Post (June 27, 2023). Ovide describes how she easily moved 15 years of email messages from Gmail to Proton Mail. Proton offers an Easy Switch feature with instructions on how to move your messages from Gmail, Yahoo or Microsoft’s Outlook. She considers Proton trustworthy and I agree.
  2. 5 Reasons to Ditch Gmail for ProtonMail by David Nield for Gizmodo (March 2021). The article is wrong about End-to-end encryption. It only applies to messages between two ProtonMail users.
  3. How to Migrate from Gmail to ProtonMail by ProtonMail (undated). The steps: Transfer existing emails, Set up email forwarding, Transfer contacts, Inform your contacts and Update online accounts.
  4. Privacy-Conscious Email Providers from PrivacyTools.io
  5. These 4 Gmail alternatives put your privacy first (Fastcompany Aug 2019)

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