Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ will address questions that non-subscribers might have. Specific questions about setting up accounts and services are covered in a separate FAQ within the site.

What does SecureNym offer?

Simply put, private, secure e-mail capabilities. The degree of security and anonymity is largely up to the user. Much like driving a car, safety depends a great deal on the operator. Used correctly, SecureNym offers excellent levels of both security and anonymity.

Click here for SecureNym's Terms of Service.

How is it used?

There are a several ways to access SecureNym and number of options that may be implemented. One secure method is to use the SecureNym web interface (click here for view) for all messaging needs. This interface makes use of SSL encryption at all times, and looks somewhat like Hotmail or other similar services.

Can you use your mail client?

SecureNym may be used directly with Outlook Express 5.0+, Outlook, Eudora 6.0+, and Netscape 7.0+ versions.

Outlook 2002 (which comes bundled with Win XP) may NOT work with SecureNym, or other mail servers using SSL, other than those using Microsoft Exchange. Outlook 2002 was shipped with many known bugs, this being only one of them. Outlook 2003 seems to have resolved this problem.

Netscape 6+ (Mac and PC) does work with SecureNym, but is so buggy that it's use is NOT recommended at this time.

By using authentication and SSL, all messaging is secure and anonymous. If the user does not enable SSL, security will be considerably lessened.

What is Secure File Transfer?

This feature allows users to send files securely to any user. Click here for details.

Is additional encryption supported?

SecureNym now supports both PGP and S/mime server-side encryption. This allows users to have all incoming messages automatically encrypted before being saved to your mailbox. For those users who archive messages on our mail servers, SecureNym recommends enabling PGP or S/mime encryption of incoming messages.

Please be aware that PGP 9 is NOT recommended for use with SecureNym or otherwise. The 'new' PGP's use of "Pervasive Encryption" and "Automagical" functions is quite confusing, and raises some security issues as well.

Additional S/mime information may be found here.

Whether using the web interface or most mail clients, SecureNym offers SSL encryption.

By installing PGP or an S/mime certificate on your computer, and uploading the public key to SecureNym, all messages in the mailbox are fully encrypted with a key that only the user can unlock.

Even when messages are sent to a recipient that does not use PGP or S/mime, his reply will be fully encrypted with your key upon arrival at SecureNym. SecureNym never has your private key, so only you can decrypt a message.

What do you need to do?

Your privacy depends upon the responsible use of the service. SecureNym cannot fully protect the user who ignores the guidelines and uses the system irresponsibly. Security requires steps such as enabling SSL if using a mail client that supports its use, not leaving messages on the server, and using PGP encryption, if at all possible, to insure message privacy until retrieval.

What does SecureNym know about users?

SecureNym maintains no logs of user activity. When a user subscribes to SecureNym, a randomly generated key is issued from the server. There is no record of who receives any key, and once the key is entered, it is immediately deleted from the key file.

For those desiring total anonymity, subscriptions should be paid by money order.

SecureNym does NOT maintain copies of messages, including backups. Once a message has been deleted, it is gone forever.

How difficult is it to get started?

Once you subscribe, access is immediate through the web interface. Upon login, an extensive set of FAQs are available for just about any questions that should come up. These include step-by-step instructions on proper configuration of a mail client, where to get PGP, how to install and use PGP, S/mime, and a preferences page for customizing your usage.

Technical support is available by e-mail initially, and subsequently by phone if needed. Support is a priority and is very personalized.

What about bulk mailings?

SecureNym is not to be used for any type of mass mailing. This includes mailing lists, of whatever nature. The total number of recipients of any message is limited to twenty.

Anyone considering use of SecureNym for spam should NOT waste their time or money. SecureNym will not tolerate spam, and offending accounts will be cancelled without warning.