Email encryption is the technique of masking the content of your emails so that they cannot be read by unauthorised individuals. When sending sensitive information over email, such as social security numbers, passwords, login credentials, and bank account details, it is vulnerable.
It’s critical to encrypt all emails, not just the ones containing sensitive information, when encrypting them. It’s a red flag for a hacker if only part of your emails are encrypted, and it may make your inbox even less protected. They won’t have to trawl through hundreds of emails to discover data they can utilise because they’ll just have to hack into a handful.
Email encryption is the process of manipulating the information of an email so that it becomes a puzzle that only you can solve. Emails are encrypted and decrypted using the public key infrastructure (PKI). In the form of a digital code, each individual is given a public and private key.
The importance of email encryption is that it protects you from a data intrusion. The hacker won’t be able to do anything with the information if they can’t read your communication since it’s encrypted. Over 13 billion data records have been lost or stolen since 2013. A data breach costs $3.86 million on average in 2018. Since 2017, this figure has increased by 6.4 percent. Because data breaches take time to detect, they may be costly.
S/MIME and PGP/MIME are the two most common email encryption protocols. The encryption method for S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) is chosen by a centralised authority and is integrated into most OSX and iOS devices. Because it is incorporated into big web-based email providers like Apple and Outlook, S/MIME is commonly utilised.
PGP/MIME (Pretty Good Privacy/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) uses a decentralised trust model to overcome the security concerns that plain text messages face. This technique gives you more flexibility and control over how thoroughly your emails are encrypted, but it does necessitate the use of a third-party encryption tool.
Step by step guide to encrypt Emails in Gmail
- S/MIME is already incorporated into Gmail, but it will only work if both the sender and the receiver have it enabled.
- Activate hosted S/MIME. Follow Google’s instructions for enabling hosted S/MIME to activate this setting.
- Constitute your message as you usually would.
- To alter the S/MIME settings or degree of encryption, click the lock symbol to the right of the recipient and then “view details.”
- When changing the encryption levels, keep the following colour codes in mind:
Green — Data is encrypted using S/MIME and can only be decrypted using a private key.
Gray — The email is guarded with TLS (Transport Layer Security). Only when both sender and the recipient have TLS capabilities will this function.
Red — There is no encryption security on the email.
Step by step guide to encrypt Emails in Outlook
- The S/MIME protocol is also supported by Outlook, although it requires additional setup.
- S/MIME encryption should be enabled. Obtaining a certificate or digital ID from your organization’s administrator and installing S/MIME control are both required steps in this procedure. Follow the instructions in Office to set up S/MIME encryption.
- By navigating to the gear menu and selecting S/MIME settings, you may encrypt or digitally sign all messages. Choose whether to encrypt all emails’ contents and attachments or to add a digital signature to all messages sent.
- Individual messages can be encrypted or deleted by clicking more options (three dots) at the top of the message and selecting message options. “Encrypt this message (S/MIME)” can be selected or deselected. You’ll want to deselect the option if the person you’re sending a message to doesn’t have S/MIME enabled; otherwise, they won’t be able to read it.
Step by step guide to Encrypt Emails on an iOS device
- S/MIME functionality is also included by default on iOS devices.
- S/MIME should be enabled in advanced settings.
- Set the option “Encrypt by Default” to yes.
- A lock icon will display next to the recipient when you type a message. To encrypt the email, click the lock icon and shut it.
- The email can be encrypted if the lock is blue. If the lock is red, the recipient’s S/MIME configuration has to be enabled.