GDPR and Updates to our Terms and Policies

April 25th, 2018  |  Published in News

On May 25, 2018 the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect in all countries in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Norway, where Runbox is located, is part of the EEA and is implementing these regulations through its own legislation.

We welcome these new regulations as they greatly strengthen the rights of the individual to digital privacy and security, which we always have promoted and supported.

What is the GDPR?

The GDPR is a set of regulations declaring that the individual should have control over their personal data by specifying how such data may be collected, processed, and stored.

The regulations require that businesses and organizations integrate this right into their business practices through policies, procedures, and technologies that safeguard the users’ privacy.

Important principles are that personal data are processed lawfully, for legitimate purposes, and with explicit consent from the user. This means that your personal data can only be collected with your permission.

The regulation also sets forth a number of rights on the part of users of digital services:

  • The right to transparency about how data is processed.
  • The right to access and information about collected data.
  • The right to rectify stored data.
  • The right to erase data (“right to be forgotten”).
  • The right to restriction of processing.
  • The right to data portability.

GDPR also recognizes the term “privacy by design”, which means that privacy shall be considered in all circumstances when personal data is processed or stored. By also introducing “privacy by default”, GDPR states that appropriate measures must be implemented to ensure that personal data collected is only used for the specific purpose for which the consent is given.

How does Runbox implement the GDPR?

At Runbox we believe that the privacy and security of your data is essential, and that it’s important for you to be aware of your rights and your options when it comes to your personal data.

Runbox has therefore been working on the implementation of the GDPR throughout our organization and our services over the past three years.

The activities that implement the GDPR in Runbox can be divided into 3 main areas:

  • Internal policies and procedures
  • Partners and contractors
  • Protection of users’ rights

The first two areas include documentation of information security management and internal policies and procedures, as well as data processing and confidentiality agreements with our partners, contractors, and staff.

The third area relates directly to you as a Runbox user, and includes the terms and policies that govern your use of our services, how we aim to inform and educate our users about privacy, and how we are implementing tools and utilities that safeguard your privacy rights.

Runbox’ main areas of GDPR implementationRunbox' GDPR Implementation

Revised Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

As part of our GDPR implementation the Runbox Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have been revised:

While the Terms of Service has only been updated with minor changes, the Privacy Policy has been restructured and amended. It provides a comprehensive overview of the policies that govern your privacy as a Runbox user, and describes in an accessible way the types of data Runbox collects in order to responsibly and reliably operate an email service.

It also lays out how user data are processed and stored, how they are being protected, and what rights you have as a user of our services.

It’s important to us that you are informed about your rights and your options with regards to your privacy. We ask that you review the revised terms and policies by May 25, 2018 when they take effect, and invite you to contact us with any questions or concerns.

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Our path to GDPR compliance — and how it will strengthen the protection of your personal data

April 11th, 2018  |  Published in News

Runbox has been focusing on privacy and information security from day one, and have paid attention to the strict Norwegian legislation concerning the processing of personal data ever since.

Norway is a member of European Economic Area (EEA) and as such has to implement certain EU regulations, even if Norway is not a member of the European Union (EU). When the European Parliament and the Council decided new legislation for the protection of personal data, that legislation also applied in Norway and has to be implemented by May 25, 2018.

The legislation, titled General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), contains rules for how personal data should be processed. Using the terms of GDPR, this includes how, when, and under which conditions, personal data

  • can be collected, processed and stored, which demands explicit consent, and explicit stated purpose;
  • shall be rectified;
  • shall be deleted (right to be forgotten);
  • shall be released to the person that owns the data (right to portability);
  • could be transferred to third parties for processing, where a Data Processing Agreement (DPA) is mandatory;
  • could be transferred to processors outside EEA.

At Runbox we have followed the development of this new EU legislation from the very beginning, and as early as 2014 we initiated a project in order to become GDPR compliant.

As a first step we started developing a planning document which includes detailed plans for making our information security management complete and consistent. The document laid out a number of activities which are now outlined in 15 sub-projects, of which some are completed, and others are in process of being completed.

However, information security is a continuous effort and the sub-projects will give rise to additional activities far beyond the GDPR framework.

We will keep you updated.

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Runbox Two-Factor Authentication

June 14th, 2017  |  Published in News, Security

Runbox recently launched Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). 2FA is a log in procedure where an additional piece of information is required in addition to your username and account password.

This additional factor is a code that can only be used once, or for a limited period of time.

Two-Factor Authentication

Runbox Two-Factor Authentication

Runbox 2FA currently supports Timed One-Time Passwords (TOTP) and One-Time Passwords (OTP) as additional factors. We are planning to expand this with Yubikey or U2F support.
 

Runbox is the only 2FA-enabled email provider in Norway

NorwayRunbox is located in Norway, which has some of the strongest privacy regulations in the world.

By choosing Runbox as your email provider, your data will be protected by these regulations while ensuring your email is secure from unauthorized access.

Read on to find out how Runbox 2FA works and which options are available.

 

Timed One-Time Passwords (TOTP)

2FA Timed One-Time Passwords

2FA Timed One-Time Passwords

To use this option you will need a smartphone and some free software.

Timed one-time passwords works by giving you a login code which changes over time, in addition to your password.

To get started, download a TOTP app such as Authy, FreeOTP or Google Authenticator onto your mobile phone and follow their instructions.

Note: It is essential that your smartphone has the correct date/time set as this is used by the TOTP app to generate the correct codes that allow you to log in.

 

One-Time Passwords (OTP)

2FA One-Time Passwords

2FA One-Time Passwords

When you enable this option, the system will generate random passwords that you can use only once. Used passwords are discarded automatically and cannot be used again.

You can download the the list of passwords to a computer or mobile device, or you can print them out if necessary. However, you must keep the list secure as these passwords can be used to access your account along with your usual username and account password.

 

 

Trusted browsers

2FA Trusted Browsers

2FA Trusted Browsers

This option allows the server to trust your current web browser so that you don’t have to use a 2FA code. The option places a small piece of code in your browser (a cookie) that tells the server not to require the 2FA details and you can just log in with username and password.

You should only use this method of bypassing 2FA on a computer or device that you are confident nobody else can log in to. You can temporarily turn on/off individual browsers from the trusted list, or you can delete the browser entry entirely which will force that browser to require the 2FA details.

 

Unlock code

2FA Unlock Code

2FA Unlock Code

If for some reason you are unable to log in with 2FA after it has been enabled, this code can be used to disable 2FA.

The code can be used in conjunction with a secure question/answer for additional security.

 

 

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New Account Security features launched

March 14th, 2017  |  Published in News, Security

We are excited to announce the launch of a new Account Security interface with Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for Runbox.

This completes more than a year of development, and we are quite proud of the result. The new features will significantly improve the security of your Runbox account when you activate them.

Account Security features

The new Account Security interface includes 4 main features: Two-Factor Authentication, Manage Services, App Passwords, and Last Logins.

Used separately or in combination, these features add extra layers of security to your Runbox account.

Two-Factor Authentication

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is a log in procedure where an additional piece of information is required in addition to your username and account password.

This additional factor is a code that can only be used once, or for a limited period of time.

Two-Factor Authentication

Runbox Two-Factor Authentication

Runbox 2FA currently supports Timed One-Time Passwords (TOTP) and One-Time Passwords (OTP) as additional factors. We are planning to expand this with Yubikey or U2F support.

Manage Services

The new Account Security interface lets you disable various services such as IMAP, POP, and SMTP. These are the services you use when using an email app/program to access your mail.

By disabling services you are not using, you prevent attempts at unauthorized access to your account via those services.

App Passwords

You can also set up unique passwords for each of your apps or devices, giving you complete control over the access to your account.

If you then happen to lose a device you can simply delete the corresponding app password, effectively disabling access from that device.

Last Logins

This section shows a list of the most recent login attempts to your account from each service such as web, IMAP, POP, and SMTP.

If you suspect that there have been unauthorized login attempts to your account, you can review this list and take appropriate action.

How to set up Account Security features

To get started, just go to the Account Security screen to set up 2FA and the other security features.

We encourage you to review our Account Security help page for details about the new functionality first. This will ensure that you understand how 2FA works and prevent you from getting locked out of your account.

We welcome any questions or feedback you might have, either as comments to this blog post or via our contact form or support system.

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How To Use Email Securely

November 1st, 2016  |  Published in Commentary, Security

Much has been said and written in the media recently regarding email, and here at Runbox we’d like to take the opportunity to help make it all a bit more understandable.

What is email, anyway?

Email, or electronic mail, is the most common method of exchanging digital messages.

It is easily the most flexible online messaging service available, because it lets users send and receive unlimited text, multimedia, and other files to anyone with an email address anywhere in the world.

Email was invented in the 1960s and is still one of the most popular services currently available via the Internet, with over 90% of US Internet users actively using email.

How does email work?

Email systems consist of computers and devices that are connected via the Internet. These computers and devices can be servers that process and store electronic mail, or clients such as laptops and smartphones that are used to send and receive email.

Email clients and server Email clients connected to a server

When someone sends an email, the message is transferred from his or her device to a server that processes the message.

Based on the recipient email address, the server finds out where to send the message next.

This is usually to another server associated with the recipient’s address, and often via a number of other servers that act as dispatchers.

There are many different types of email software that can send, receive, and store email. If you use a computer or a smartphone, you might be familiar with software such as Outlook, Apple Mail, or Thunderbird.

Where is my email actually stored?

Because the volume of email is so large, email clients typically let servers store all the email that is received and sent and only download messages when they are opened.

This is very convenient because the server can then do resource intensive things like filtering out spam and viruses, and other kinds of sorting and processing.

Another important reason for keeping emails stored on a server is that it lets more than one client access the same messages.

For instance, you can set up your laptop, your tablet, and your smartphone to access all the email that is stored in your account on the server. You can also use a webmail in your web browser, which essentially works as an email client.

This means that your email will be synchronized across all your devices, without you having to do anything manually.

You can read more about how this works in our Help article Using an Email Client with IMAP.

How can I be sure that no one else can access my email?

When you sign up for an email account, you select a username and a password that only you know. This ensures that only you can access the email that is stored in your account on the server.

As you can imagine, it is important that you choose a strong password to make sure that no one else can guess it. It’s also important to be aware of scams that may try to trick you into revealing information that could let someone gain access to your account.

End-To-End Encryption

End-To-End Encryption

However, to be certain no one can read your email even if they were to gain access to it, you can use encryption.

Email encryption can protect your messages all the way from your device to the recipient’s, by encoding them in such a way that it’s virtually impossible for someone unauthorized to unscramble them.

You can read more about this in our Blog post Email Encryption with Runbox and our Help article Encrypting Your Runbox Email.

We hope this article helped clarify what email is, how it works, and how to use it securely. For a more in-depth article, please see How Email Works.

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Account security and password strength

July 3rd, 2016  |  Published in News

In the recent past, some high profile companies have had user account details stolen by criminals. In some cases these details have been made public. Many people use the same usernames and passwords across different services, which means that their other accounts may also be at risk.

Use a Strong Password

Runbox has not had a data breach. However, if you use one of the affected services and have used the same login with Runbox then your Runbox account could also be at risk.

We would suggest you update your Runbox password if you feel it might be necessary. What would have been a strong password a few years ago, might not be strong now. This is because criminals have an increasing ability to try large numbers of known passwords against accounts.

For useful tips about choosing strong passwords we recommend our Account Security help page. It is easier than you might think to create good passwords that are easy to remember.

Two-Factor Authentication

To improve account security further, Runbox will be launching two-factor authentication (2FA) in the near future.

With 2FA turned on you will need to provide both your username, password, and an additional piece of information to access Runbox and your account settings. And if you choose to use IMAP, POP, or SMTP, you will be given strong passwords to use.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about account security, please contact us at Runbox Support.

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Support Requests & Account Security

May 16th, 2016  |  Published in News

At Runbox we are very pleased to be able to offer personalized support to our customers, and we do this 7 days/week, every week of the year.

If you need to contact Runbox Support, we would advise you to read our help page on Contacting Runbox Support. In particular we would like to draw your attention to the sections regarding how we will use information to identify you as the account holder.

It is very important that we protect your privacy and security of your account, and there are elements of that process that require you to keep account information up to date so that we can ensure we are talking to the correct person.

The most commonly used piece of information we use to identify you when you can’t contact us from your Runbox account is your alternative email address, and it is very important that you keep this up to date. Being unable to verify you as the account holder is very frustrating for customers and also for us as we can’t offer you the support you are expecting.

We realize there are some customers who prefer their Runbox account not be linked to other email accounts or methods of communication, but this does limit the support we can offer in those cases. We will always try to help as best we can, but ultimately we would rather deny access to an account than to provide that access to the wrong person.

If you have any questions about this, please contact Runbox Support  🙂

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Hardened web server security

March 31st, 2016  |  Published in News, Security

We have recently hardened our web server security, giving Runbox an A+ rating on securityheaders.io — in addition to our existing A+ rating on ssllabs.com.

The policies we have implemented are the following:

X-Frame-Options: Tells the browser that we don’t allow the Runbox web site to be framed (included) by other web sites, which defends against attacks like click-jacking.

HTTP Strict Transport Security: Strengthens our implementation of Transport Layer Security (TLS) by making the browser enforce the use of encrypted communication (HTTPS).

Content Security Policy: Protects our web site from Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks.

HTTP Public Key Pinning: Protects us from from Man-in-the-Middle attacks by making sure the TLS certificates used by the browsers are the ones implemented on our servers.

X-XSS-Protection: Sets the configuration for the cross-site scripting filters built into most browsers.

X-Content-Type-Options: Forces browsers to use the declared file content type instead of trying to be too clever, which helps to reduce the danger of drive-by downloads.

These changes will help ensure that your use of Runbox is as safe and secure as possible, and we will continue making security-related improvements in the future.

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TLS Upgraded for Incoming Email

February 12th, 2016  |  Published in News, Security

Today we have upgraded the TLS (Transport Layer Security) of our incoming email servers to support version 1.2, which is the most recent. This means that when email is sent to Runbox from other services, the highest level of encryption will be used if the other service supports it.

This also means that all communication between your email program and Runbox now uses TLS 1.2 (if supported by your email program).

 

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Why Runbox being in Norway is important

August 18th, 2014  |  Published in News

We are emphasizing Runbox’ location in Norway as something that is important to you as an email user, and you may wonder why. This article will explain it all.

Summary

  • Norwegian ShieldAll your Runbox email is privacy protected because our servers are located in Norway, and Runbox strictly adheres to the Norwegian privacy legislation.
  • Runbox protects your data against disclosure because the authorities must present a valid court order based on evidence of criminal activity to seize any data.
  • Any foreign nation requesting account information or contents have to send a formal request to Norwegian judicial authorities, and only with a Norwegian court order can any data be disclosed.
  • Norwegian authorities are not allowed to perform surveillance of data traffic without a court order.
  • Under Norwegian legislation, Runbox is not required to keep any traffic logs, and is permitted to delete your data if you ask us to.

Norwegian privacy legislation and regulations

First of all, Norway has enacted strong legislation regulating the collection, storage, and processing of personal data, mainly in The Personal Data Act (Lov om behandling av personopplysninger; Personopplysningsloven) and Regulations on the Processing of Personal Data (Forskrift om behandling av personopplysninger; Personopplysningsforskriften).

The first version of The Personal Data Act was implemented as early as 1978. This was a result of the pioneering work provided by the Department of Private Law at the University of Oslo, where one of the first academic teams within IT and privacy worldwide was established in 1970.

Additionally, the Norwegian Data Protection Authority (Datatilsynet), an independent authority, facilitates protection of individuals from violation of their right to privacy through processing of their personal data. It also verifies that statutes and regulations which apply to the processing of personal data are complied with, and that errors or deficiencies are rectified.

Any complaint against decisions made by The Data Protection Authority may be reported to The Privacy Tribunal (Personvernnemda), another independent authority, for decision.

The Norwegian Criminal Procedure Act (Lov om rettergangsmåten i straffesaker; Straffeloven, unofficial translation) is an important law governing the seizure of objects or data when a criminal act has been reported to the police. Section 211 states that mail may only be seized from an electronic communication service pursuant to a court order.

Another important law in this context is the Norwegian Penal Code (NPC, Almindelig borgelig straffelov; Straffeloven, unofficial translation) which states that it is illegal to access information systems or data unauthorized (NPC §145), and this includes all employees in the public sector (NPC §116).

We must also mention Norwegian Law on Electronic Communications (Lov om elektronisk kommunikasjon; Ekomloven), which regulates telecommunications in Norway. This law contains rules for the interception of electronic communications and for the duration of storage of personal data.

Because Runbox is similar to an Internet service provider and not a telecommunications company, Runbox is NOT affected by this law. This means that Runbox for instance is permitted to delete your email data upon your request at any time, and that we are not required to store any traffic logs.

The bottom line is that a request from Norwegian police authorities to disclose data from any Runbox account will be rejected by Runbox unless a Norwegian court has decided otherwise.

What does compliance with Norwegian privacy laws mean?

So what does Runbox’ compliance to Norwegian laws mean regarding your personal data when using Runbox, and the content of your emails stored on our servers?

Runbox does not collect any data about you except what is necessary to provide you with our services. This is in accordance with our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which is compliant to The Personal Data Act §8. This paragraph states that personal details can only be collected and processed with consent from the registrant.

Similarly important is §11, stating that personal data must not be used for purposes inconsistent with the initial purpose of collection except with consent from the user.

Only if presented with a court ordered seizure pursuant to the Norwegian Criminal Procedure Act may Runbox be forced to disclose information to The Norwegian Police Service. It is therefore an absolute prerequisite that a crime has been committed.

What about requests from authorities outside Norway?

A request from foreign authorities or agencies regarding Runbox account details or user data has a long way to go before it reaches Runbox:

It will in general start with a legal request (letter rogatory) submitted through diplomatic channels to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who sends it to the Attorney General at the Norwegian Office of the Prime Minister, who will, if appropriate, forward the request to the Ministry of Justice and Public Security who in turn sends it to the appropriate police unit, for example the National Criminal Investigation Service, Norway (Den nasjonale enhet for bekjempelse av organisert og annen alvorlig kriminalitet; Kripos) or The Norwegian Police Security Service (Politiets sikkerhetstjeneste; PST) for independent investigation. All requests will of course be evaluated with regards to Norwegian laws and regulations.

The Norwegian police authorities may then present Runbox with a subpoena, which will be rejected by Runbox as a matter of principle. The case may then be submitted to a Norwegian court, and an attorney will be appointed to represent the account owner. If the court finds that there is evidence or probable cause for suspicion of criminal activity on the part of the account owner, Runbox may be presented with a court order requesting us to disclose the requested information.

Norway has entered into agreements with some foreign nations to cooperation in criminal matters regarding disclosure of objects and data, that may simplify the procedure above:

Through the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters requests go directly to the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, through the Schengen Agreement requests go to the public prosecutor in Norway, and between Nordic countries, requests go to central or local police (district chiefs of police). Requests from Canada and Thailand go directly to the Ministry of Justice and Public Security.

All other nations, the United States included, have to follow the general rule outlined above: Requests must be sent through diplomatic channels to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The agreement between Norway and the United States (and Australia) is about extradition of criminals only, not about assistance in “ordinary” legal matters.

Since Runbox Solutions was founded in 2011 we have received 0 court orders for disclosure of account details or user data. We have received 3 requests directly from attorneys in the United States, all of which have been rejected outright.

What about surveillance…

According to the laws mentioned above, the Norwegian police authorities can not execute communication control, for instance surveillance of electronic messages, without a valid court order. An independent tribunal, the Control Committee for Wiretapping (Kontrollutvalget for kommunikasjonskontroll) is established to control that the police’s use of wiretapping occurs within the framework of the law and that the use of such methods is as limited as possible.

This means that no surveillance of traffic to or from Runbox can occur unless a valid court order is presented. However, the regulation that governs wiretapping (Forskrift om kommunikasjonskontroll; Kommunikasjonskontrollforskriften) and the Control Committee for Wiretapping do not pertain to intelligence, which is the domain of The Norwegian Parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Committee (Stortingets kontrollutvalg for etterretnings-, overvåkings- og sikkerhetstjeneste), see below.

…and intelligence?

Let us examine the various Norwegian intelligence agencies and their mandates:

The Norwegian Intelligence Service (Etterretningstjenesten) is a body established in order to survey and monitor civil and military activities outside Norway. This body is not authorized to survey or collect information about Norwegian natural or legal persons, which includes companies. For that reason, Runbox is beyond the authority of this agency.

The Norwegian Police Security Service (Politiets sikkerhetstjeneste; PST) do NOT have any legal rights beyond The Norwegian Police Service, which is discussed above.

The Norwegian Defence Security Department (Forsvarets sikkerhetsavdeling, FSA) applies to military institutions only, and is not relevant for Runbox customers at all.

The National Security Authority (Nasjonal sikkerhetsmyndighet, NSM) is established to control governmental and civil institutions regarding security, and because Runbox does not provide services to such institutions, this authority is not relevant to Runbox or our customers.

Joint Counter-terrorism Center (Felles kontraterrorsenter, FKTS), is a recently established department within PST staffed with people from PST and EtterretningstjenestenFKTS is a cooperation agency sharing information and analyzing terror threats against Norway. FKTS is subject to the laws and regulations governing the activities of The Norwegian Police Security Service and the Norwegian Intelligence Service.

In order to monitor these agencies and ensure they are acting in accordance with laws and regulations, the Norwegian Parliament has established The Norwegian Parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Committee (Stortingets kontrollutvalg for etterretnings-, overvåkings- og sikkerhetstjeneste), and Control Committee for Wiretapping (Kontrollutvalget for kommunikasjonskontroll). Their mandate is to ensure that the police’s use of wiretapping is in accordance with the law and is as limited as possible.

What is the conclusion of all this?

All your Runbox email stored on our servers is safe because Runbox is located in Norway. Runbox strictly adheres to the Norwegian Personal Data Act and the Norwegian Criminal Procedure Act, which is the main legislation governing our operations. This fact, along with our ethics, prevent us from doing anything unauthorized with your data.

Specifically, Runbox protects your data against disclosure requested by the authorities because they must present a valid court order to seize any data. Such a court order is difficult to obtain, because it must be based on evidence of criminal activity related to the account owner.

Norwegian authorities are not allowed to perform surveillance of data traffic without a valid court order. Norway has established independent agencies to ensure that these agencies follow the laws and regulations under which they operate. In addition, Norway is an open democracy with a critical and investigative press which readily publicizes any suspicion of breached laws and regulations.

Any foreign nation asking for data have to send a formal request according to established protocols and strict rules. And any such legal request will be scrutinized by Norwegian judicial authorities, and only in cases where Norwegian law is breached could a request result in a court ordered seizure which is necessary to obtain data from Runbox.

In short, no authority or agency can monitor Runbox’ data or traffic without a court order, which can only be issued on evidence of criminal activity in violation of Norwegian penal code.

Additional protection

Runbox customers automatically have an advantage by storing their email in Norway, and you can add another layer of protection by encrypting your communication with Runbox.

To protect your privacy even further, Runbox does NOT use Google Analytics or any other third-party tracking of our customers’ usage. We never use data or traffic information for any other purpose than anonymous statistics in order to improve our services and our system’s performance. Our service is absolutely ad-free, and we do not share or sell your personal details to anyone.

The combination of the strict Norwegian legal environment, our solid IT infrastructure, Runbox’ ethics and Privacy Policy, and the technology Runbox provides, means that Runbox provides a service that is uniquely private and secure.

For more information about the privacy and security of Runbox’ services, please see the following links — and feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.

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