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Help Center / Using Email Encryption

Depending upon your industry, you may be required under federal law for HIPPA or PCI Compliance to digitally sign or encrypt certain emails. Even if your job does not require protecting email from unwanted eyes you may just want personal privacy in your email correspondence. Regardless of the reasons the most reliable way to secure your communications with co-workers, business partners, suppliers, friends, and family is through mail encryption and digital signatures. Email encryption protects the contents of your messages against unauthorized reading, while a digital signature ensures that your original message has not been modified and comes from a certain sender.

What is Email Encryption?

Email encryption protects the privacy of messages you send by converting them from readable text into cryptographically scrambled text.

To be able to send and receive encrypted email messages, you need two basic things:

  • Digital ID (Email Certificate).
  • Share your public key (which is part of the Email Certificate) with the correspondents you wish to receive encrypted messages from.

You need to share the certificates with your contacts because only the recipient who has the Private Key that matches the Public Key the sender used to encrypt the email can read that message. You and your recipients would exchange Public Keys (which is part of your Digital ID) so that you will be able to send encrypted emails to each other.

If a recipient does not have the corresponding Private Key matching the Public Key used by the sender tries to open an encrypted e-mail, they will be unable to read the email or any attachments enclosed with it.

Obtain a Digital ID for Email (used for both encryption and signing)

To be able to encrypt important emails you must first obtain a Digital ID, also known as Email Certificate. You can get the digital ID from one of the sources recommended by Microsoft. (Most Digital IDs issued by Certificate Authorities are paid services with an annual renewal fee. Comodo is one of the few that provides free Email Certificates.)

Instructions for Configuring Email Clients for S/MIME

Additional Notes

Please note that not all Email Clients support S/MIME encryption. The most common Email Clients; Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird, IBM Lotus Notes do. Apple Mail on iOS (iPhone/iPad) and Blackberry support S/MIME encryption natively, but Android devices do not. All web-based mail services other than Outlook Web Access (OWA) do not support S/MIME encryption. If a recipient receives an encrypted email from you on a source that does not support S/MIME they will not be able to read your email.

Although Scarab Media’s Mail Servers use TLS (Transport Layer Security) to encrypt email that is “in transit” when being received from your device and when being delivered to the recipient’s Mail Server, the email is not encrypted when it is stored. If you require email encryption for HIPPA compliance you must encrypt your email with S/MIME prior to sending.

Posted in: Email

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