Encrypted email service ProtonMail is introducing a couple of new security-focused features to its apps this week.
While ProtonMail users on iOS have been able to use TouchID or Face ID unlocking for several years, Android users have so far relied on passwords and PINs. With the latest incarnation of ProtonMail, Android users can also now elect to unlock their email app with a touch.
The new feature requires the user to first set up a PIN, which is used as a backup should the fingerprint ID system fail. So head to settings, set yourself up with a new PIN, and then toggle the little “use fingerprint” switch to the right.
By way of a brief recap, ProtonMail promises users full privacy via client-side encryption, meaning nobody can intercept and read their emails. The company has amassed more than 5 million users since its debut on the web back in 2014, and in the intervening years it has added two-factor authentication (2FA), Tor support, an encrypted contacts manager, and a separate VPN service.
Due to myriad high-profile scandals, privacy awareness is growing in the online population. But privacy-focused apps need to have as little friction as possible for people to use — and fingerprint unlocking should go some way toward achieving that in the latest version of ProtonMail for Android..
Another interesting new feature ProtonMail has activated across all its apps, is something it calls “link confirmation.” Now if you hit a shortened link or hyperlink, ProtonMail will display a little popup box with the full URL of the website you are about to visit.
You can cancel, click to continue, and even indicate that you don’t like the feature and wish to disable it.
This is similar to a tool that Google introduced for G Suite Gmail users last year, with admins able to activate a feature that identifies the links behind shortened URLs, scan images with links behind them, and show a warning prompt when a link is clicked to an untrusted domain.
With phishing and online fraud continuing to blight the web, anything that helps shine a light on dubious emails can only be a good thing.