The line ‘free crypto browser extension for Firefox’ contains six of my favorite words within its seven-word construction, which is not bad going. In case you were wondering, for is the word that doesn’t float my boat, although others such as complexity, ‘key management’ and PGP which usually rub me up the wrong way when talking about client side encryption are noticeably absent. That is because Freenigma has no place for them in its lexicon.

Simply put, it is a free extension offering encryption for your webmail account when accessed via the Firefox browser and which works with Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo as well as some lesser-known services.

The less simplistic description would probably add that it is an OpenPGP standard supporting, GNU Privacy Guard implementing system that uses a JavaScript based user script to integrate Freenigma functionality with the desired webmail client, while leaving key management (did I really just say that) to the Freenigma server itself.

There are some limitations, such as the fact that it is only free because it is in Beta and there are absolutely no guarantees that it will remain that way once the Beta expires. In addition, the encryption only covers the mail content and not the webmail from/to headers, or attachments for that matter. Moreover, do not expect Gmail contextual advertising to be, well, very contextual when displayed alongside random text.

It is early days for sure, but if you want simplicity with your webmail security then you cannot really go wrong. The day that the end user did not need to know how to generate a keyring with public and private keys, or choose an encryption algorithm, worry about key length, understand the difference between symmetric and asymmetric encryption or tell RSA and AES apart is long overdue.

The German coders, part of the freiheit.com programming team behind Freenigma, can be found dumping their minds in the best possible way within the superbly named hackers with attitude blog where you can also find out more about Freenigma, funnily enough.

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About the Author

A freelance technology journalist for 30 years, I have been a Contributing Editor at PC Pro (one of the best selling computer magazines in the UK) for most of them. As well as currently contributing to Forbes.com, The Times and Sunday Times via Raconteur Special Reports, SC Magazine UK, Digital Health, IT Pro and Infosecurity Magazine, I am also something of a prolific author. My last book, Being Virtual: Who You Really are Online, which was published in 2008 as part of the Science Museum TechKnow Series by John Wiley & Sons. I am also the only three times winner (2006, 2008, 2010) of the BT Information Security Journalist of the Year title, and was humbled to be presented with the ‘Enigma Award’ for a ‘lifetime contribution to information security journalism’ in 2011 despite my life being far from over...

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LastMitch

Simply put, it is a free extension offering encryption for your webmail account when accessed via the Firefox browser and which works with Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo as well as some lesser-known services.

I used FireFox for years and I don't used extensions.

But it is good to know that someone create a extension for Firefox.

Which I was a bit surprise.