Email is the most familiar means of communication for businesses.
Every day millions of emails are sent with invoices, contracts, and confidential documents, but the issue of securing email communications stands still.
Know how does email encryption work, email encryption types, and software in order to secure your important and sensitive data.
- What is Email Encryption, and Why Do We Need It?
- How Does Email Encryption Work?
- How is an Encrypted Email Sent and Received?
- What Happens When you Encrypt an Email?
- Email Encryption Types
- Email Encryption Software
- Secure vs. Encrypted Email
- Email Encryption Gmail
What is Email Encryption, and Why Do We Need It?
Email encryption refers to protecting sensitive information in an email by encryption. This way, only the person you want to send the message would be able to read it, and it won’t be readable for anyone else.
You need to encrypt your emails while sending confidential information with them. Otherwise, the data can get into the wrong hands, and they can misuse it too.
Is Email Encryption Necessary?
Email encryption can save you from great troubles.
The email communications are unsafe, and there is a chance of information leakage that can harm the organization and result in its loss of reputation.
Thus encrypt your confidential emails and mark yourself safe from data breaches and pervasive surveillance.
How Does Email Encryption Work?
The technology behind the email encryption is the PKI, i.e., the public key infrastructure.
The public key of an owner can be used by anyone, but the private key is only known to the key holder.
How is an Encrypted Email Sent and Received?
If you want to send someone a secured email, then encrypt the message using the public key of the sender.
The recipient has its private key and will be able to decrypt the message and view the contents.
On the other hand, the same procedure can be used for identifying whether the message is from the right sender or not. The sender can send the message by encrypting it with his private key. The public key of the sender is already known to the recipient, so he can decrypt the message with that public key to verify that the message is from the real sender.
Send an Encrypted Message With Authentication Verification
You can combine the above two explained methods to send a secure and encrypted email that also verifies the sender’s identity.
Firstly the sender will encrypt the message using his private key and then encrypt it a second time using the public key of the recipient.
The recipient, on receiving the message, will first decrypt it using his own private key and then decrypt it with the public key of the sender to verify the author’s authenticity.
What Happens When you Encrypt an Email?
By encrypting it, you convert the email’s contents from readable format to a scrambled ciphertext.
How Do You Get the Public Key?
The certification authority (CA) creates and distributes the key pairs. This is a trusted third party that offers the public key ownership and enters that public key into its directory.
In comparison, the private key is provided to the owner only and isn’t made public.
If anyone wants to send an encrypted email to the private key owner, then he can ask for the public key of the owner via email.
You can also get the public key from the online public key directories.
Enter the details of the person you intend to send an encrypted message to and get his public key from there.
Email Encryption Types
The three types of email encryption are:
This server-to-server email encryption makes use of SSL certificates. It is implemented by the email provider and not by the end-user.
S/MIME stands for secure/multipurpose internet mail exchange.
This person-to-person email encryption uses email certificates and is implemented by the end-user.
Email Certificates vs. SSL Certificates
Email certificates are different from SSL certificates. SSL provides server identification and is used for SMTP STARTTLS, TLS, and HTTPS protocols.
On the other hand, the email certificates offer identification for specific email addresses.
PGP stands for Pretty Good Privacy.
This is also person-to-person email encryption but doesn’t use certificates.
It makes use of the PGP-format public keys. This encryption is implemented by the end-user.
In person-to-person or, in easy words say end-to-end encryption, the sender encrypts the message with the public key of the recipient. Then the recipient, on receiving the message, decrypts it with its private key.
Email Encryption Software
Some of the software for email encryption is
- Symantec Desktop Email Encryption
- Cisco registered envelope service
- Egress Email Encryption
- Microsoft Office Email Encryption
Secure vs. Encrypted Email
A so-called secure email has readable contents. So to make it full proof secure, its encryption is essential.
An encrypted email has its contents converted into a ciphertext that is readable for the person with the key for that content decryption.
Email encryption controls the data access as the plain text is easily readable.
How Does Email Attachment Encryption Work?
When email accounts are hacked, the attachments in the email inbox are also compromises. Thus you need to encrypt the email attachments too.
Get the recipient’s public key and encrypt your email along with the email attachment with that key.
Now the email attachment is not readable without the private key of the recipient.
The recipient, on receiving the email, will encrypt the email attachment with his private key and will then be able to read the attachment content.
Email Encryption Gmail
Gmail has made HTTPS the default settings. HTTPS is a security protocol that makes sure the data sent between the browser and the website is encrypted and secured. This way, your Gmail emails are safe when they are stored or in transit too.
The hackers are now advanced, and so the security measures should be tight too in order to protect the sensitive data.
Emails are prone to important information disclosure; thus, the need arises to secure them.
By sending encrypted email, you make sure your information is secured.
By knowing how does email encryption works, you will be able to secure your emails and, this way, protect confidential and sensitive data from being compromised.