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When you call a function with a yield keyword, the code in the function does not run. Instead, a generator object is created. You can store the generator object to a variable. This generator object has the ability to run the code inside the function on demand.

When you invoke the generator object, Python runs the code inside the generator function once. It stops when there is a yield keyword and delivers a value to the caller.

When you invoke the generator again, the execution continues from where it stopped. In other words, Python runs the function again, and stops at the next yield keyword, and delivers the value once again.

This process continues until there are no more values to yield.

A function that uses a yield keyword is a generator function. Generators are useful when you need to iterate values without storing them in memory.

yield keyword and generators work on a technical level, you should first learn what iterators and iterables are. Here is a yield keyword without understanding iterables and iterators.

To truly understand how thekeyword and generators work on a technical level, you should first learn what iterators and iterables are. Here is a complete guide you might want to check. But you can also get a decent idea of thekeyword without understanding iterables and iterators.

This guide teaches you what the yield keyword does on a high level without technical details about iterators and iterables.

Why Yield in Python?

The yield keyword is useful when you are looping through a big group of values. The reason why you might want to use yield instead of return boils down to memory efficiency.

But what if there are like 1 billion words on the file?

A Python program cannot handle a list of 1 billion words. Thus, you cannot store the words in a list! To come over this, you need a mechanism in which you don’t have to store the words in a list yet you can still loop through them.

This is where you can use generators, that is, functions that yield values.

The idea of a generator is to not store all the words in memory at once. Instead, the generator loops through the collection one word at a time. It only stores the current word in memory. Besides, it knows how to get the next one. This way the generator can loop through the list of 1 billion words without having any trouble with memory consumption. Theoretically, you could use a generator like this to loop through an infinite number of words because practically no memory is needed.

The best part is that the generator syntax looks identical to applying for…in loop on a list. So even though the mechanism is entirely different, the syntax remains.

Example

When you call a function with a yield keyword, you create a generator object. When you invoke this generator object (for example by using a for loop), you are essentially asking it to give the next value in the group of values you are looping through. This process continues until there are no values left.

For example, here is a generator function that squares a list of numbers

def square(numbers): for n in numbers: yield n ** 2

Now, let’s call this function and print the result:

squares = square([1, 2, 3, 4, 5]) print(squares)

Output:

You might think this object stores the squares of the numbers [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], right? But this is not the case! The squares object doesn’t store a single value nor does it have a single square calculated anywhere. Instead, the generator object gives you the ability to calculate the squares on demand.

To actually calculate the squares, you need to invoke the generator object. One way to do this is by using the built-in next() function. This function asks the generator to compute the next squared value.

Let’s call the next() function five times and print the results:

print(next(squares)) print(next(squares)) print(next(squares)) print(next(squares)) print(next(squares))

Output:

1 4 9 16 25

As you can see, each next() function call delivers the next squared value in the list. In other words, each next() call runs the square() function once to compute and deliver the right squared value.

But how does it know which value to compute?

The generator object remembers where it left since the last time someone called next() on it. This is how it knows how to choose the next value correctly.

But this whole next() function thing is a bit confusing, isn’t it? Sure! You shouldn’t actually use the next() function to iterate a generator. Instead, you can use a good old for loop to invoke the generator.

def square(numbers): for n in numbers: yield n ** 2 squares = square([1, 2, 3, 4, 5]) for square in squares: print(square)

Output:

1 4 9 16 25

Notice that the for loop calls the next() function on the generator behind the scenes. It does this until there are no values for the generator to calculate.

I hope you now have a better understanding of the yield keyword.

Next, let’s take a quick look at how you can understand the intent of a yielding function better.

Shortcut for Understanding Yield in Action

If you are new to generators and yielding, here is a trick you can do to understand what the yielding code does.

Notice that this trick is not an equivalent replacement for the yield statement! But rather, it helps you understand what the code does if you are not comfortable reading code that uses the yield keyword.

Here is the trick. When you see a yield keyword:

Add this line as the first line of the function: result = [].

Replace all the yield val expressions with result.append(val).

Add a return result to the bottom of the function.

Now read the function and understand what it does.

Compare the function to the original one.

Let’s see an example of applying this trick to a function with the yield keyword. Here is an example of a generator function:

def square(numbers): for n in numbers: yield n ** 2

To see what this function does, let’s apply the above steps to the function:

1. Add result = [] to the beginning of the function.

def square(numbers): result = [] for n in numbers: yield n ** 2

2. Replace yield val with result.append(val).

def square(numbers): result = [] for n in numbers: result.append(n ** 2)

3. Add return result to the bottom of the function.

def square(numbers): result = [] for n in numbers: result.append(n ** 2) return result

4. Read the function and understand what it does.

So, now you can clearly see that this function takes a list of numbers, squares the numbers, and returns a list of squared numbers.

It’s important you understand that this modification is not a replacement for the yielding function! Instead, it helps you understand the original code better.

To fully understand what the yield keyword does, you need to understand what are iterables, iterators, and generators. Here is a complete guide you should read.

Conclusion

The yield keyword is a memory-efficient way to loop through a big collection of values. A function with the yield keyword is called a generator.

A generator function doesn’t store the iterated values in memory. Instead, it cares about the current value and knows how to get the next one. This makes it possible to loop through a huge number of values. You only need memory for a single value.

You can apply the traditional for loop syntax when iterating a generator object. When doing this, the generator generates the values on the go.

Further Reading

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What Does Willpower Do In Diablo 4?

Diablo 4 allows players to choose from five classes with unique skills, abilities, and playstyles.

But how do you optimize your character’s performance and potential?

One of the critical factors is your Core Stats, which are Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Willpower. Willpower in Diablo 4 is an essential Stats that can increase your character’s Resource Generation, Healing and Overpower Damage.

This article will focus on one of these core stats: Willpower, explain what Willpower does, and how to increase Willpower in Diablo 4.

What Is WillPower In Diablo 4?

Willpower is one of the four major stats in Diablo 4, along with Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence.

It affects your character’s Healing and Overpower Damage, two crucial aspects of combat.

More healing means you can survive longer and recover faster from enemy attacks.

Overpower Damage is based on your weapon damage and modified by your Willpower stat.

Furthermore, it also affects your resource generation and skill damage depending on your class.

Example: If you are a Barbarian, you get +0.03% resource generation and +0.01% skill damage per point of Willpower.

What Does WillPower Do In Diablo 4?

Willpower also has different effects for each class, depending on the resource system, skill damage and playstyle.

Different classes have different starting values of Willpower, with Druids having the highest of 10 and Barbarians having the lowest of 7.

Furthermore, the image below shows what Willpower does for every class in Diablo 4.

Willpower is useful for all classes in Diablo 4, but some classes may benefit more from it than others.

1. Willpower Effect On Barbarian

Willpower is a good Stat for Barbarians, as it improves their Fury generation, the resource they use for most skills.

It also increases their Healing and Overpower Damage, essential for surviving and dealing with burst Damage in melee combat.

1 Willpower = 0.1% Resource Generation, 0.25% Overpower Damage and 0.1% Healing

2. Willpower Effect On Sorceress

Willpower is an excellent Stat for Sorceresses, as it grants them Critical Chance, which is the probability of dealing double Damage with their skills.

Their Willpower Stat modifies Critical Chance, so having more Willpower means more Damage and effects.

Furthermore, it is also helpful for staying alive and finishing off enemies with powerful spells.

1 Willpower = 0.1% Resource Generation and 0.25% Overpower Damage

3. Willpower Effect On Druid

Willpower is a decent Stat for Druids, as it increases their skill damage while in Werewolf form, one of their primary forms of combat.

It is also helpful for sustaining and enhancing their damage output.

1 Willpower = 0.25% Overpower Damage and 0.1% Healing

4. Willpower Effect On Rogue

Willpower is a mediocre Stat for Rogues, as it has no additional effect for them, but it still increases their Healing and Overpower Damage.

Healing and Overpower Damage are beneficial for Rouges, as they are often in close range and must avoid or recover from enemy attacks.

1 Willpower = 0.25% Overpower Damage and 0.1% Healing

5. Willpower Effect On Necromancer

Willpower is a poor Stat for Necromancers, as it has no additional effect for them, but it still increases their Healing and Overpower Damage.

Moreover, Healing and Overpower Damage are irrelevant, as they deal most of their Damage with shadow effects or curses.

1 Willpower = 0.25% Overpower Damage and 0.1% Healing

How To Increase WillPower In Diablo 4?

In Diablo 4, you can boost and increase your Willpower Stat in several ways.

Here are some ways to increase it, which will also increase Healing and Overpower Damage.

Spending points on Willpower when you gain a level.

Equipping items that boost your character’s Willpower.

Using skills that provide Willpower bonuses.

Using Paragons that enhance your Willpower effects.

Activating altars of Lilith that grant permanent Willpower points.

Furthermore, there are 34 altars, giving you a maximum of 68 extra Willpower points.

Read on to learn whether you can Refund the Paragon board in Diablo 4 and how to farm Penitent Greaves in Diablo 4.

The Bottom Line

Willpower is one of the four core stats in Diablo 4, and it affects your character’s Healing and Overpower Damage.

Furthermore, you can increase your Willpower by spending points, equipping items, using skills, activating Paragons, and finding altars of Lilith.

Hopefully, has helped you understand Willpower better and how to use it effectively in Diablo 4. Happy hunting!

Read on to learn the Razorplate drop rate in Diablo 4 and whether you can Trade Uniques in Diablo 4. 

Iphone 3D Touch, What It Can Do And What It Can’t

What it is ?

Introduction

To touch upon the sudden name change from ‘Force Touch'(on the Apple watch and Macbooks) to ‘3D Touch’, the speculation behind this shift points to a couple of reasons- ‘3D Touch’ has a better, non-intrusive feel to the name compared to ‘Force Touch’, making it a marketing boon. Another reason could be that Force Touch is a binary standpoint, wherein you either press hard or don’t(logically speaking, there are varying levels of pressure with Force Touch too). 3D Touch, however, also measures how hard you press the display(with greater granularity). Whichever the reason, Apple have made their call and seem content with it.

Features

3D Touch is present in all of Apple’s apps that come preinstalled in a contextually relevant manner. A developer API has also been available that’s led to vivacious developers and big names such as Instagram and Facebook to adopt 3D Touch into their apps. Apart from app implementations, 3D Touch is prevalent in some system-wide elements as well. Here’s a detailed list of the applications of 3D Touch:

Live Photos: Live Photos, in essence, are a photograph with 1.5 seconds of video before and after the picture(Android users can find alternatives to Live Photos here). While viewing the still image in the gallery, pressing it harder allows you to watch it come to life as iOS plays the 3 second video surrounding that image. The same thing can be seen if your wallpaper is a Live Photo.

App Implementations: Each app can have their own implementations of 3D Touch using the Developer API. eg: Warhammer 40K, a game demoed by Apple, employs 3D touch to launch stronger attacks when engaged, as compared to normal taps.

Contextual Shortcuts: Pressing an app that supports 3D Touch allows you to bring up upto 4 shortcuts that can take you right into a specific section of that app. eg: the Phone app lets you press it to call your favourite contacts.

Cursor Positioning: Whenever entering text, you can press the keyboard to enable a cursor mode that lets you place the cursor wherever you want. Pressing harder still, lets you start selecting words in a similar way.

Drawing in Notes: A small feature, but drawing in the new Notes app lets you draw darker strokes if you press the screen while drawing.

Limitations

3D Touch is undoubtedly in its nascent stages. And, as of now, that’s the only serious limitation. If you’ve ever heard anyone say ‘3D Touch is going to become important…in the future’, they’re right. What 3D Touch lacks right now, essentially, is ubiquity, and, by extension a prevalent mindshare. During our time with the iPhone 6S, we had to constantly and consciously remember which apps and where, in those apps, 3D Touch actually works. If you want to get at some file/item quicker, or jump straight into a specific task, 3D Touch should, in theory, let you do so; but unless you’re entirely sure that the result yielded will be what you want, you end up doing what you wanted to do, slower than you would otherwise.

Possibilities- A Developer Perspective

Conclusion

3D Touch does open up a new dimension of possibilities. The only limitations it faces right now is its newness and lack of widespread adoption. But we would rather see a delayed and well-thoughtout implementation to a hasty and tacky one. And the former seems to be exactly where 3D Touch is headed. Let us know what you think about 3D Touch and whether it seems like something that is appealing to you.

What Does It Cost To Develop New Software?

Technology is the cornerstone for nearly every business in the world today, and the software you use often determines whether or not your business will be competitive in your field. It is vital, therefore, to invest in your company’s software development. The cost of software development depends on a variety of different factors. The complexity and size of the project, the technology used, and even the geographic location of developers are reflected in the final price.

The cost of software development

This is defined by the logic of software and the number of various features it has. Note that not all features have the same cost of implementation. Push notifications and video calls, for example, have vastly different costs because of the complexity of code and time required. Complicated real-time data analytics with multiple permission levels will require different resources than, say, a fitness app with a calorie calculator. 

To provide a frame of reference, here are some of the common features of software development, along with the approximate time and cost  of implementing them (based on a rate of $25 per hour).

Search: $300 to $500 over 12 to 20 hours

Push notifications: $625 to $875 over 25 to 35 hours

Login: $750 to $1125 over 30 to 45 hours

Edit profile: $1125 to $1500 over 45 to 60 hours

Payments: $1500 to $1875 over 60 to 75 hours

Calls: $6500 to $9250 over 260 to 370 hours

Applications are also a cornerstone of business in recent years, and the cost will depend in part on the software included in your business’s mobile app. The average costs of app creation are as follows.

A minimum viable product: $5,000 to $20,000

A simplified app: $20,000 to $60,000

An average-scale app: $60,000 to $150,000

A complex, full-scale mobile app: $150,000 and above

These numbers depend on the company and even on individual projects. These are just rough guidelines of what to expect at this hourly rate. Some teams don’t even use such estimates and evaluate purely on a case-by-case basis.

There are many different kinds of software aside from those consumers regularly interact with. Depending on your business, you may require software packages such as PEO (payroll and employee recruiting) software and CRM (customer relationship management) software. You can either develop these systems internally or subscribe to them through a third-party system, which can also vary in cost. Weigh the pros and cons of each option before determining which would be best for your company. [Read more about the business cost of keeping software updated.]

Factors that affect the cost of software development 1. The size

Before describing a software’s size, we first need to understand the definition of a screen in this context. A screen is a page, open menu or anything that a user sees after they make an interaction. For example, a Login page and a Change Password page are two different screens with different functions. In this context, the size factor is straightforward. The more screens the software has, the more the project will cost.

In general, small apps have somewhere in the range of 10 to 25 screens and run upwards of $75,000. Larger projects with 50-plus screens can cost $250,000 and up.

2. The design

Custom design makes your software stand out and more pleasant to use. Long gone are the times of lime green text on black backgrounds (although it certainly is an aesthetic used to this day). UI/UX is what makes the application user-friendly — that’s what the “U” stands for. 

The design process can be complex, depending on how extravagant you want the elements to be and how many iterations it will go through. The best designs aren’t created perfectly from the start. They are developed after several feedback-and-redesign cycles. In addition, the number of high-quality custom images will drive the price up.

Bottom Line

If you want many complex elements in your software, such as high-quality custom images, the UX/UI design will go through increased iteration cycles that drive up the cost.

3. Platforms supported

Take into account how many platforms you want your software to work on. If you want a mobile app, do you want it to work on iOS and Android? Maybe you require a cross-platform solution. A desktop tool has its own nuances, as do purely web-based services. All of this will be reflected in the price. 

4. Technology

The stacks of technologies aren’t equal as well. Some applications can be written in a single API. Others require front-end development done in one programming language, the back end in another, and they need to work together seamlessly. This correlates with the complexity of the project since different features often require different technologies.

5. The development team

The number of people working on your project directly correlates with its cost. It is the same principle if you are paying for a dedicated team. The time of each developer, QA-engineer and project manager costs money. It’s as simple as that.

The type of software development team you have affects their cost. If your organization has a specialized IT team already on the payroll, then you will spend substantially less money for software creation. However, their ongoing wages can add up and cost more in the long run. Not to mention, many existing teams don’t have the necessary knowledge or enough people available. In that case, you can augment your staff with a dedicated team or outsource the process. Outsourcing is the most expensive option, but the quality of the project you receive will also be higher. When choosing your software development team, ask them relevant questions about the development process and the software itself.

6. The team’s location

The development team’s location  also has an influence on the price. Rates differ drastically depending on where the team is based. In the U.S. you can pay up to five times more for the same job done somewhere else. The key is to figure out a balance between cost and quality. 

7. Ongoing maintenance

Software is never truly complete. It’s always possible to add new features, improve performance, and fix unnoticed bugs. This is the benefit of time and material payment plan that we’ll discuss later in this article. You don’t have to wait until you get the final product to request changes

There is a saying in the industry that you should multiply all costs threefold. That’s largely the result of people choosing the fixed-price payment model when they don’t have a clear vision of the project in mind. The product they get is different from what the client envisioned and then they need to spend extra.

The best payment model for software development

The two most common payment models are fixed price and time and material. Which one is more suitable for you largely depends on the size of the project and how defined your needs and requirements are. 

Fixed price

This option is better suited for projects with clearly defined requirements that aren’t subject to change. In short, you pay the entire development cost upfront. This can work for many clients but has more risks attached. It’s easy to lose control and communication with the team will be limited. Also, it’s not uncommon to face delays when working on a large project. This model is more suitable for small and simple projects.

Tip

If you have a small, simple project with clearly-defined requirements, pay all of the development costs upfront.

Time and material

This is the more flexible method of the two. Payments are made incrementally instead of in a lump sum upfront. Depending on the agreement, you can pay every two weeks, every month or whatever time period is preferred. This approach allows for more control over the team and the development process as a whole. You can see the project whenever the payment is made. This way, you’ll be able to check the reports, ask for extra features, and make other suggestions. 

Additional reporting by Andrew Kurilo.

What Is Overemployment, And What Does It Mean For Your Business?

The rise of remote work has facilitated overemployment – employees who work more than one job, often without their employers’ awareness.

Employees seek additional jobs due to inflation, the rising cost of living, job insecurity, and a desire for financial freedom and security.

Overemployment affects employers because moonlighting employees may have reduced productivity, availability and performance.

This article is for employers seeking to identify and tackle the issue of overemployed employees.

The pandemic proved that remote work is feasible for many industries. Remote and hybrid positions are now a mainstay of modern working life, with big companies like Microsoft and Spotify and small businesses adopting permanent remote and hybrid work arrangements. 

However, remote work’s freedom and looser structure has led to a phenomenon called  “overemployment,” where workers hold multiple positions simultaneously. We’ll examine the overemployment trend and its effects and share how employers can reduce the chances of their teams working multiple jobs.

What is overemployment?

Overemployment is having two or more remote jobs simultaneously. And it’s a growing trend: According to a ResumeBuilder survey, 79 percent of remote workers have held more than two jobs simultaneously in the last year – and 36 percent have at least two full-time remote jobs. 

Overemployment differs from side hustles, odd jobs and the gig economy, which refers to income-earning activities outside a traditional long-term employer-employee relationship. In contrast, overemployed workers put in up to 40-plus hours weekly at two or more jobs at the same time. 

How is overemployment possible?

Remote work is fueling the overemployment trend. While working two full-time jobs would be challenging to impossible in an office environment, employees can easily monitor two company Slack channels and email accounts while balancing the day-to-day requirements of two positions. 

Working from home wasn’t invented when COVID-19 hit. In fact, telework has been around since the dawn of the 21st century. However, the trend boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2023, when, according to Pew Research, 71 percent of U.S. employees were mandated to work remotely as a health precaution.

According to the FlexJobs Career Pulse survey, around 66 percent of U.S. employees still work remotely part time even after pandemic restrictions have eased and more companies operate normally. Employees are drawn to remote work’s flexibility and are in no hurry to relinquish it. According to Future Forum, 76 percent of employees prefer the flexibility of hybrid work. 

Did You Know?

Some believe office work is going the way of the dinosaurs. Many businesses have a “new normal” that includes hybrid and work-from-home setups instead of a traditional office environment.

Why are employees working multiple jobs?

Several factors contribute to the decision to work multiple jobs. For some, economic need necessitates overemployment; others want job security and financial freedom.  

1. Inflation and cost-of-living increases necessitate overemployment.

According to Statista, inflation in the United States has been prevalent since 2023. While the consumer price index eased at the beginning of 2023, inflation in the U.S. remains high.

Additionally, according to JPMorgan Chase, mid-income households’ purchasing power has been deteriorating since 2023. This means that the same amount of income might not go as far as it did previously. 

The combined effects of inflation and the high cost of living have prompted people to hold multiple jobs to make ends meet. This is especially true for those who live in cities with a high cost of living, such as Los Angeles and Miami.

2. Job security fears fuel overemployment.

Mass layoffs have been a significant issue in the U.S. economy since the start of 2023. In 2023, layoffs affected the tech industry particularly, and many more companies and industries will likely experience layoffs and budget cuts.

Instead of relying on a single job for their income, some employees hold multiple jobs simultaneously to reduce the financial blow if one employer lets them go. They may be onto something: ResumeBuilder’s survey found that around 19 percent of laid-off tech workers were not strongly affected by the job loss because they had other jobs to fall back on.

Tip

The jobs most at risk of layoffs include product management, quality assurance, marketing, finance and information technology.

Key Takeaway

Free remote working tools like Basecamp, Asana and Toggl can help you stay on task and work efficiently from home.

3. Overemployment may violate corporate policies.

Employees working multiple jobs simultaneously could be in violation of corporate policies. For example, if a company has a noncompete clause, an employee working with a competitor could expose the employer to legal risks.

Similarly, some companies may forbid employees from working as independent contractors. In such cases, if an employee is found to be providing such services while with the company, they breach their contract.

In fact, in 2023, credit reporting agency Equifax fired 24 remote employees who secretly held dual full-time employment. The termination was because their second job conflicted with their role, a violation of the company code of conduct.

Is it illegal to work multiple jobs in the U.S.?

It is not illegal in the U.S. to work multiple jobs. At-will employment is the de facto standard in the U.S., meaning employers and employees are not bound by a contract.

It’s up to an employer’s discretion whether or not they allow employees to work multiple jobs. Generally speaking, employers are more likely to accept employees working multiple jobs if the moonlighting job doesn’t conflict with company policies or if the employee isn’t taking away time and resources from their primary job.

However, at-will employment also means an employer can terminate a worker without notice or cause. This means employees may risk losing their job if an employer finds they’re working multiple jobs.

Did You Know?

Firing a remote employee has unique challenges. It’s crucial to work with IT to shut down the employee’s online access to applications, programs, databases and communication channels.

How can employers prevent overemployment?

While employers cannot completely prevent overemployment, they can take steps to reduce the chances of their workers juggling multiple jobs.

Tip

To discern if employees are faking being active online, check their chat platform availability, see how long it takes to complete tasks and note if they seem to work only when you’re monitoring.

Mitigate overemployment in your business

Overemployment has become a growing concern for many employers, as it can have severe implications on an employee’s productivity and performance and the company’s bottom line.

Employers should take proactive steps to reduce the risks associated with overemployment. Overall, employers should strive to create an environment where employees feel valued and fairly compensated so they don’t have to rely on additional income sources.

What Is Email Encryption And How Does It Work?

Did you know that most email services like Gmail and Outlook only use basic email encryption techniques, leaving your email prone to data attacks? This tutorial discusses the various data encryption techniques you can implement to secure your data.

What Is Email Encryption?

Email encryption is a technique that disguises an email so that only the sender and intended recipient can access its contents, preventing unauthorized individuals from intercepting the signal and reading the message.

Most email doesn’t have this level of protection. Content is sent as regular text and open to data security risks. However, you can step in with proper end-to-end encryption, for instance, to secure your confidential email easily.

In this method, email is encrypted on the sender’s system using a public encryption key that scrambles the email and any attachments. The email is then sent to the recipient, who has a private key that can be used to decrypt the message. This technique is so secure that the message cannot be read by any email services, banking institutions, Internet service providers (ISPs), or hackers.

Why Is Email Encryption Important?

Privacy on the Internet is paramount for every individual and enterprise. However, a cyberattack can very easily put your private information in emails, such as login passwords, files, pictures, sensitive documents, and OTPs, at risk.

Image source:

Pexels

The data you are sending via email may seem harmless, but even a mildly proficient hacker can extract your static or dynamic IP address, which can be used to reveal your name, address, ISP, and so much more. Using this data, any motivated hacker can wreak havoc by using strategies like phishing.

Phishing is one of the most prominent forms of cyberattacks. A large number of these attacks are caused by unencrypted emails that reveal sensitive data to malicious parties and are entirely preventable. Given this scenario, it’s in your best interest to encrypt your email.

Types of Email Encryption

There are multiple protocols for email encryption, each one suitable for different use cases, depending on implementation cost, success rate, complexity, and various other factors. A few prominent email encryption protocols in use today are covered below. They can be divided into two distinct types: transport-level encryption and end-to-end encryption.

Image source: Pexels

Transport-level encryption handles the data during transportation from the sender to the recipient. This format is less robust but cheaper than end-to-end encryption (E2EE), which stores the private encryption key at the endpoints and uses a public encryption key to secure data. The additional protection offered by this method comes at an additional price.

PGP and S/MIME

PGP or Pretty Good Privacy is considered one of the most widely used encryption protocols in the world. It utilizes the end-to-end encryption approach, providing cryptographic privacy and authentication with techniques like hashing, data compression, symmetric-key cryptography, and public-key cryptography to encrypt and protect datasets like emails, directories, and documents. S/MIME is used for email that contains multimedia files.

It was developed by Phil Zimmermann in the year 1991 and follows OpenPGP as the encryption key and standard (RFC 4880) for encrypting and decrypting data.

StartTLS

StartTLS is a form of transport-level encryption that uses either TLS (transport layer security) or SSL, also known as secure sockets layer, to upgrade an unprotected system to a protected one. It asks the email server to convert the unencrypted message into an encrypted one while the mail is being transmitted from sender to recipient.

This way, both the sender and recipient enjoy encryption without having to encrypt and decrypt messages on their systems. However, this approach can still leave the data vulnerable to hackers, who may intercept the message between the sender and the email server. These vulnerabilities can be overcome using protocols like DANE and MTA-STS.

DANE or MTA-STS

DANE (DNS-Based Authentication of Named Entities) or MTA-STS are similar protocols and serve the same purpose. MTA-STS is actually SMTP MTA-STS, short for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol – Mail Transfer Agent – Strict Transport Security. That is a mouthful!

The only apparent difference between DANE and MTA-STS is that DANE utilizes DNSSEC for DNS authentication, while MTA-STS relies on certification authorities. Also, MTA-STS features a testing-only mode, which allows you to deploy a policy in a test environment before adopting it.

Image source:

Pixabay

These tools can be used as add-ons for extra protection on top of the StartTLS encryption protocol. They protect you from hackers and cybercriminals using StripTLS attacks or stripping attempts of TLS security levels, by enforcing the use of TLS by both the sender and recipient. Therefore, these protocols offer an added level of premium protection if a user finds that existing StartTLS encryption protocols are not enough.

Bitmessage

Bitmessage is a relatively newer component of online data encryption and security. It was released under the liberal MIT license in 2012 and is based on the model of security protocol used by Bitcoin. Bitmessage is a peer-to-peer, zero-trust framework that gained traction shortly after its release when rumors of spying by the National Security Agency (NSA) surfaced. 

GNU Privacy Guard

GNU does not adhere to any single model of data encryption – transport level or end-to-end formats. It is, in fact, a complex hybrid of the two. Also known as GPG or GnuPG, it utilizes public key encryption for ease and symmetric key cryptography for the swiftness of the process. 

It is open freeware and can be used, modified, studied, etc. GNUPG is still prone to cyber attacks where hackers may pose as either sender or recipient. This is due to the exchangeability of the public key used for encryption.

Third-Party Email Services That Offer Email Encryption

There are several third-party email clients that offer varying degrees of email encryption. These email service providers can help defend you and your system from cyberattacks, spam mail, doxxing, and many other ways hackers try to get through your defenses.

1. ProtonMail

Developed by CERN scientists in 2013, ProtonMail has emerged to be one of the leading secure email services in the market today. It is best suited for personal, non-institutional use by individual users, and encrypted email sent using this service can be accessed by recipients across all email servers.

Image source: ProtonMail

ProtonMail features a strict no-logs policy, meaning it does not log any user information that passes through its systemn to ensure complete security and anonymity on the Web.

It utilizes end-to-end encryption to best protect your data between nodes. One of the most unique features of ProtonMail is PGP encryption, which very few email clients offer.

2. Mailvelope

Image source: Mailvelope

The unique thing about Mailvelope is that it features neither a desktop nor a web app. Rather, it is a free browser add-on that integrates itself with almost all web email services and encrypts your email without forcing you to migrate to a different app ecosystem. 

Mailvelope has been adopted by users across all usage types. It is suited for enterprise, institutional, and individual users and has been integrated into the workforce of several companies. It is compatible with email services like Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, 1&1, Freenet, and GMX.

3. CipherMail

CipherMail caters specifically to corporations and similar institutions and has been adopted by dozens of multinational companies across verticals. 

CipherMail’s powerful email encryption gateway supports all major encryption protocols, like S/MIME, PGP, TLS, and PDF encryption. On top of that, it is compatible with all SMTP-based services and can be easily integrated into the existing workforce of an enterprise.

It also offers a Webmail Messenger that can protect data in cases where S/MIME or PGP cannot be used.

CipherMail allows users to communicate efficaciously and securely with external recipients who do not use any email service provider. In such a scenario, the recipient can install and use CipherMail’s webmail messenger to securely receive messages and files across the Web. CipherMail can also be accessed via Android devices.

4. Startmail

StartMail is a secure email service offered by the creators of the privacy-focused Startpage search engine. It integrates PGP encryption standards into the encryption protocol.

Image source: StartMail

The thing to note here is that PGP is implemented with only the server and is therefore not true end-to-end encryption. However, you can enable two-factor authentication to secure your account, protecting it even if your password is compromised.

StartMail offers users the ability to utilize burner email addresses without losing the encryption privilege, thus adding additional convenience to day-to-day operations. It also allowsmultiple aliases for quick throwaway usage and offers complete IMAP and SMTP support to users. 

StartMail has a web client and desktop app. However, it lacks mobile support.

5. CounterMail

CounterMail uses OpenPGP to encrypt your data with 4096 bits encryption keys.

Image source: CounterMail

It is the only known email service that can protect your email from man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks. To achieve this, it uses a hypercomplex system comprised of four layers of added protection, including:

SSL encryption

Session encryption

OpenPGP encryption

Server side disk-encryption

These layers are based on standard algorithms, but their independent operational ability makes them impenetrable to attacks.

The service also offers two-factor authentication for added protection and comes with a seven-day free trial. Even the payment gateways offer an anonymous payment option to further protect your identity.

Frequently Asked Questions Can hackers intercept encrypted emails?

Yes, it’s possible for hackers to intercept your encrypted emails. However, they will not be able to read the content of your email, as it will be distorted and jumbled. The only way to make it readable again is to decrypt it using the encryption key.

What are the most common methods of email hacking?

The most common are:

Does encrypted email guarantee encrypted attachments?

Not all encryption methods can automatically protect files that are attached to a message. Encryption methods that cover attachment encryption are usually end-to-end based. If they aren’t, you’ll need a separate program to encrypt your file before attaching it to the email.

Image credit: Mikhail Nilov via Pexels.

Ojash Yadav

Ojash has been writing about tech back since Symbian-based Nokia was the closest thing to a smartphone. He spends most of his time writing, researching, or ranting about Bitcoin. Ojash also contributes to other popular sites like MakeUseOf, SlashGear, and MacBookJournal.

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