Email Security: How to Encrypt Email & Why It’s Important?
What is Email Encryption and How Does It Work?
To provide a safe and scalable means of authentication and encryption, email encryption employs key pairs based on public key infrastructure (PKI) technology. Public key cryptography, an encryption process that relies on the usage of two linked encryption keys, a public and a private one, is at the heart of PKI. To encrypt and decrypt a message, these two keys are combined.
Depending on the level of protection you desire, you have numerous alternatives. Fortunately, the majority of these email encryption software solutions work with any email service.
- Secure/multipurpose internet mail extensions (S/MIME) certificates are the most secure email encryption solutions. S/MIME certificates use Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to protect your emails by digitally signing them to verify the sender’s identity and encrypting information and attachments in transit and on the email server. Most Microsoft Windows, iOS, and Android devices, as well as most large web-based email providers including Gmail, Office 365, and Apple Mail, support S/MIME.
- You can use PGP/MIME (Pretty Good Privacy/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) to create a decentralized approach to securing plain text content. This option gives you more control over email encryption, but it requires the use of a third-party program.
- You can encrypt the channel with Transport layer security (TLS), but the message will remain unprotected. This implies that after the message reaches the recipient’s inbox, you won’t be able to control the encryption.
How to Encrypt Email Messaging with S/MIME Certificates?
Enterprises need a complete security approach that supports both encryption and verification of digital identities for all personnel and devices to truly protect messages from today’s sophisticated threats.
S/MIME certificates, which use a variety of advanced security measures, provide users confidence in their digital correspondence and help them avoid many of today’s attacks on workplace email users and infrastructure. They are an essential component of an organization’s overall email security strategy.
In three ways, these certifications improve the security profile of your email communications:
- The sender’s identity is verified. Each certificate includes the sender’s verified email address, allowing recipients to verify that all messages are real from authorized parties by showing a checkmark icon that identifies the sender as genuine and the email as unaltered.
- Content and attachments are encrypted. The certificates are used by sending and receiving mail clients to encrypt and decrypt the content, including attachments. As a result, attackers are unable to intercept conversations in transit or read content stored on servers.
- Integrity assurance. If a signed email or its attachments are tampered with in any manner, it will fail validation and the user will be notified.
Even when using smartphones and mobile devices to access email, S/MIME certificates protect employees from spear-phishing assaults. These certificates ensure users that emails are authentic and unaltered by encrypting/decrypting messages and attachments and confirming senders’ identities.
Visit DigiCert S/MIME Client Certificates – Email Certificates (sslcertificate.ch) to obtain a S/MIME certificate.
How to Send an Encrypted Email in Gmail.
Gmail email services are divided into three categories: basic, business, and enterprise. All of these, according to the site, use TLS server-to-server encryption. Only Enterprise users have access to hosted S/MIME encryption (G Suite Enterprise and G Suite Enterprise for Education).
To enable S/MIME, your administrator installs your certificate on Google’s server using the G Suite Google Admin console. Then, following these procedures, you’ll be able to encrypt and digitally sign emails:
- Prepare your email with the recipient’s email address, content, and any attachments.
- Click on the lock icon in the top-right corner next to the cc and bcc options.
- Click View Details to see if the recipient has encryption; you can also change your S/MIME settings here.
- Click on Settings.
- Select Enhanced Encryption with digital signature and click OK.
- Click Send.
Google uses color codes to indicate the different levels of email encryption visually in Gmail:
- Green – S/MIME encryption is keeping information safe.
- Gray – Transport Layer Security (TLS) is protecting your email, but it’s only safe if both the sender and the recipient have TLS.
- Red — The email has no encryption security.
Why Email Encryption Is Important?
Cyberattacks and data breaches involving email are frequently in the news. Unfortunately, email’s protocols and infrastructure are decades old, and how we protect email identities, information, and systems have remained mostly unaltered. Messages and attachments can be spied on, modified, or fabricated, enabling for a variety of assaults, including virus installation, resulting in data loss, as well as the theft of cash, company secrets, credit card numbers, and other sensitive consumer information. As the use of mobile devices grows and face-to-face communication declines, attackers are more likely than ever to prey on employee-related vulnerabilities and weak email security postures.
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