Brussels / 1 & 2 February 2014


Mailvelope: OpenPGP for the browser

Mailvelope is a browser extension and allows to enhance existing web-mailers like Gmail™ or Yahoo™ with functionality to encrypt and decrypt mails. Mailvelope is based on the OpenPGP standard, offers key management, and is therefore compatible to existing PGP implementations.

The issue that Mailvelope wants to address is the low adoption rate of email encryption solutions. Although S/MIME and PGP have been around for many years, we see only limited proliferation.

It is our view that the most limiting factor of encryption applications are usability issues. Mailvelope wants to address this problem not by reinventing the wheel, but by tapping on established standards like OpenPGP and by making these more accessible.

The focus of Mailvelope are webmail providers. The extension comes preconfigured for major providers like Gmail™, Yahoo™,™ and GMX™ but is designed as a generic solution, that should work with any provider or website. Whenever an OpenPGP armored message is displayed in the browser, it will be identified as such and the user has the option to process and decrypt it. For the encryption scenario, we provide a secure way to compose the user message and then transfer it back to the website after it has been encrypted.

Mailvelope is currently available in the Chrome Web Store, a Firefox version is almost complete and expected for Firefox 27. The current feature set supports a basic mail encryption scenario and key management. Planned features are key server integration, signing of messages and attachments.


Thomas Oberndörfer