Have you ever sent a postcard to someone and wondered who else might read it during its travels to the recipient? That’s essentially what you send an email that isn’t encrypted. Whenever you send an email that isn’t encrypted, it can be read by anyone, or any server, that is used to pass the email along to the recipient. However, when an e-mail is encrypted, the content of the e-mail is “locked” and can only be opened by the specific “key” installed on the recipient’s computer.
Don’t worry! Most modern e-mail services such as Gmail and Office 365 have some level of encryption “built in” to their servers, so your e-mails are encrypted and de-crypted automatically. However, it’s not uncommon these days that e-mails are sent directly from a website — for example, perhaps you receive an e-mail containing payment and shipping information when a client places an order on your website. Obviously, it’s important to be sure the information in these e-mails is transmitted securely.
But again, don’t worry! Encrypting e-mails sent from your website only requires a free e-mail encryption certificate and a bit of programming — and Faster Solutions will be more than happy to assist.
Did you Know?
According to Stellarbluetechnologies.com
- 73% of all Americans have fallen victim to some type of cyber crime
- 47% of Americans have had their personal information exposed by hackers
- 80% of all businesses suffered some sort of computer hack over the last 12 months
- Over 27 million Americans have fallen victim to identity theft over the past five years, nine million of those victims found their identities stolen within the last year
Why you should encrypt your emails
- Using a personal email certificate lets you digitally sign your email so that the recipients can verify that it’s really you sending the message as well as encrypt your messages so that only the intended recipient can view the message that you send.
- Comodo is a great company that offers free digital certifications for your own personal use.
- You easily obtain your free certificate by filling out a very short and simple registration form.
- By obtaining and using a personal email certificate to digitally sign your emails, you can help stop the spread of spam and malware being distributed in your name.
- The digital signature provides confidence that a sender is legitimate; if someone receives an email from you often sees that the message is ‘unsigned’, they will know right away that it wasn’t from you and can delete it.
How does it work?
Basically, e-mail encryption is just a very technical version of passing notes to your friends “in code.” That is, two friends agree on the “key” to the secret code — perhaps the key is to replace each letter with the letter that comes next in the alphabet, so “APPLE” in code would become “BQQMF.” When one friend wants to write a coded letter to the other, they first write the letter normally, then “translate” the letter into the code. When the second friend receives the letter, they use the key to “translate” the coded message back into the original.
The way that email encryption typically works is using a public and private key, which is known as Public Key Infrastructure or PKI. The only person that will have access to the private key is you — it’s what you use to encrypt the messages you send. Then, you can provide the public key to anyone who will need to receive your encrypted e-mails. Note that public and private keys are installed on specific devices — that is, to read encrypted messages on both your laptop and desktop computers, you will need to install the public key on both computers.
Now your private key is used to decrypt such a message, so even if someone did get their hands on one of your e-mails, all they would see is a bunch of gibberish. Whenever you are sending an email to someone else, you can use your private key to digitally sign your email message so that the recipient knows that you, in fact, sent it. In the case of e-mails sent from a website, as mentioned above, the “private” key is installed on the server to encrypt the messages as they are sent, and the “public” key is installed on your own computer(s), meaning that only the computers with the public key installed can open and view these e-mails.