Most email services come with built-in contact manager. They provide users the option to save and organise more details about any contact such as email address, mobile number, work number, physical address, birthday, job designation and more. Some also allow you to add specific notes to a contact, for additional information. Switzerland-based Proton Technologies has decided to encrypt the contact manager in its email service, making it the only email service to do so.

The feature is rolling out to PC users who have received the latest version 3.12 of Proton Mail. The company is working on making it available on its Android and iOS apps too.

The new contacts manager uses zero-access encryption which encrypts the entire contact details in such a way that no one except the user can decrypt and access them. Proton Mail claims that it does not have access to the private key (generated when the contact was being encrypted) and so it cannot modify or see encrypted contacts. Users can decide to encrypt all the fields or only select ones. All encrypted fields will be highlighted with a digital signature identifiable with a lock and tick icon.

The new contacts manager uses zero-access encryption.
The new contacts manager uses zero-access encryption.

There have been cases in which emails have been intercepted by secretly changing the email ID and then setting up a fake domain. The changes are so minute that users won’t notice it right away. Encrypting the contact field will prevent anyone from tampering with the contact details.

Proton Mail also encrypts emails, so any mails sent out from it cannot be seen by anyone, except the receiver who has the private key to decrypt the mail. The email service was set up in 2013 by a group of researchers working at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) and claims to have over 2 million users.

The service came into limelight after multiple references in the popular TV show, Mr Robot, which aired first in 2015.