HP TECH TAKES /...

Exploring today's technology for tomorrow's possibilities
How to Encrypt Email and Send Secure Messages

How to Encrypt Email and Send Secure Messages

Michelle Wilson
|
Although you might not have experienced any issues sending emails containing sensitive information like your bank account number or login credentials, it’s still an operation that can make you vulnerable to hackers. Emails sent over an open network can be intercepted and malicious actors can see email contents, attachments, or even take over your account.
To drive home the importance of email security, take a look at some alarming statistics that show the widespread cybersecurity issues that may have affected you in the past and still pose a threat today:
As these numbers illustrate, emails are a point of vulnerability for many unsuspecting users. However, it’s not all doom and gloom, there are ways to protect yourself and your information.
To help safeguard against hackers and ensure your privacy is maintained, you can use encryption. Encryption ensures that your emails remain unreadable, even if they fall into the wrong hands.

What is encrypted email and what are the benefits?

There are two main types of ways to encrypt emails, one protocol is called S/MIME and the other is PGP/MIME.

S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions)

S/MIME allows users to send encrypted and digitally-signed emails. This protocol allows recipients of the email to be certain the email they receive is the exact message that began with the sender. It also helps ensure that a message going to an outbound recipient is from a specific sender and not someone assuming a false identity.
How does S/MIME work? S/MIME provides cryptographic-based security services like authentication, message integrity, and digital signatures. All these elements work together to enhance privacy and security for both the sender and recipient of an email.
S/MIME also works with other technologies such as Transport Layer Security (TLS) which encrypts the path between two email servers. The protocol is also compatible with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) which masks the connection between email messages and Office 365 (a common email service) servers.
In addition, BitLocker works in conjunction with S/MIME protocol, which encrypts data on a hard drive in a data center so if a hacker gets access, he or she won’t be able to interpret the information.

PGP/MIME (Pretty Good Privacy/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions)

PGP/MIME is another protocol that encrypts and signs an email and any attachments. There is more flexibility and control over how well you want your email to be encrypted - but it requires a third-party encryption tool.
One major advantage of this protocol is that if an email is intercepted, the contents can’t be leaked. In order to read the message, the recipient has to download the whole message, including all attachments, since everything has to be encrypted together.

What are the benefits of encrypted email?

It’s hard to overstate the importance of securing your information in a world where data breaches are becoming more and more common. Encrypted emails are just one security step you can take that helps you protect your sensitive data. They provide a way for users to have peace-of-mind that their private messages will stay private.

Benefits of encrypted email

1. Safeguards sensitive data
If you’re sending information like your Social Security number over email, it’s important that it’s not easily stolen by hackers.
2. Economical
Instead of purchasing security equipment, you can simply rely on email encryption that’s integrated directly on the server.
3. Timesaving
Instead of wasting time using several programs to make sure a connection is secure, you can rely on email encryption to do most of the work for you.
4. Regulation compliance
If you work in the healthcare industry, for example, and you haven’t taken the right steps to secure medical data, you could be in violation of HIPAA laws. Encryption helps you avoid those missteps.
5. Protects against malware
Malicious emails sometimes contain viruses masked as innocent email attachments. If you or someone else send an attachment using encrypted email, the email has a digital signature to prove its authenticity.

How to encrypt email in Gmail

Gmail has encryption built into the app but it only works if both the sender and recipient of the message have it enabled.

To send an encrypted email using Gmail:

  1. Begin composing an email message.
  2. Add recipient in the “To” address box.
  3. Press the lock icon to the right of the receiver’s address.
  4. Press “view details” to change the S/MIME settings or the encryption level
Encryption levels are as follows:
  • Green: Information is masked by S/MIME encryption. This can be translated with a private key.
  • Gray: Email is safeguarded with TLS (Transport Layer Security). This only can work if both the receiver of the message and the sender have TLS abilities.
  • Red: No encryption enabled.

How to encrypt email in Outlook

When you send emails through Outlook, you have the option to encrypt your email messages.

S/MIME encryption instructions:

Before you get started, you must add a certificate to the keychain on your computer. After you have your signing certificate set up, you’ll need to configure it using these steps.
  1. Under File, navigate to Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings
  2. Navigate to Email Security
  3. Under Encrypted email, select Settings
  4. Under Certificates and Algorithms, press Choose and press S/MIME certificate
  5. Select OK
  6. Write your email and send

Office 365 encryption instructions

  1. In an email, press Options and then click Encrypt
  2. Choose the encryption with the restrictions you want. For example, you can choose Encrypt-Only or Do Not Forward

Encrypt all outgoing messages in Outlook

To do this, you need to make sure all recipients have your digital ID to interpret and see your messages.
  1. Under the File tab, choose Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings
  2. Under Email Security, go to Encrypted email and select Encrypt contents and attachments for outgoing messages check box
  3. To change more settings, such as using a specific security certificate, navigate to settings

How to encrypt email on iOS

Before you start, here are the prerequisites for using encryption on iOS devices:
  • Your iPhone or iPad has to be updated with iOS or above.
  • Your email account has to be configured and working.
  • The email that you have set to encrypt must match the one you have configured on your device.

S/MIME encryption instructions:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Open Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  3. Click on your email account
  4. On the Exchange Account screen, choose the account you want to set up with S/MIME encryption
  5. Go to Advanced Settings
  6. In S/MIME section, toggle from OFF to ON. After you do this, the Sign and Encrypt options will be available
  7. S/MIME is now active. Now you can choose whether you want to sign/encrypt for all messages
Remember, if the lock is blue, the email can be encrypted. If the lock is red, however, the message’s recipient must turn on their S/MIME setting.

Email providers that require a third-party encryption service

If email service providers don’t have encryption capabilities built in, you’ll need a third-party to encrypt data to send emails with S/MIME or PGP/MIME protocols. Yahoo and Android are two of the email providers that will need these third-party tools.
Yahoo utilizes Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) but needs a third-party service for higher level encryption. Similarly, Android devices can send encrypted emails but, again, you’ll need a third-party and extra setup to do it.

A few notable providers of email encryption service include:

  • ProtonMail: This service allows you to choose from both free and paid plans depending on the number of encrypted messages you plan to send. With ProtonMail, you can enable PGP encryption to protect sensitive data.
  • Ciphermail: This is a completely free service that supports encryption through PDF, TLS, OpenPGP, and S/Mime protocols.
  • Virtru: Compatible with Outlook, Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, and a few other email providers, this service allows for end-to-end encryption.
  • Enlocked: This service allows users to receive and send out encrypted emails using PGP protocol for Gmail, Microsoft, Outlook, and Microsoft.

Encryption: Send Secure Messages

Data security is a huge industry - but so is hacking. With so many data breaches happening, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re sending sensitive data with the proper protections in place.
About the Author: Michelle Wilson is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Michelle is a content creation specialist writing for a variety of industries, including tech trends and media news.

Disclosure: Our site may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.

More about these products
Disclaimer

Prices, specifications, availability and terms of offers may change without notice. Price protection, price matching or price guarantees do not apply to Intra-day, Daily Deals or limited-time promotions. Quantity limits may apply to orders, including orders for discounted and promotional items. Despite our best efforts, a small number of items may contain pricing, typography, or photography errors. Correct prices and promotions are validated at the time your order is placed. These terms apply only to products sold by HP.com; reseller offers may vary. Items sold by HP.com are not for immediate resale. Orders that do not comply with HP.com terms, conditions, and limitations may be cancelled. Contract and volume customers not eligible.

HP’s MSRP is subject to discount. HP’s MSRP price is shown as either a stand-alone price or as a strike-through price with a discounted or promotional price also listed. Discounted or promotional pricing is indicated by the presence of an additional higher MSRP strike-through price

The following applies to HP systems with Intel 6th Gen and other future-generation processors on systems shipping with Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 Pro systems downgraded to Windows 7 Professional, Windows 8 Pro, or Windows 8.1: This version of Windows running with the processor or chipsets used in this system has limited support from Microsoft. For more information about Microsoft’s support, please see Microsoft’s Support Lifecycle FAQ at https://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle

Ultrabook, Celeron, Celeron Inside, Core Inside, Intel, Intel Logo, Intel Atom, Intel Atom Inside, Intel Core, Intel Inside, Intel Inside Logo, Intel vPro, Itanium, Itanium Inside, Pentium, Pentium Inside, vPro Inside, Xeon, Xeon Phi, Xeon Inside, and Intel Optane are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and/or other countries.

In-home warranty is available only on select customizable HP desktop PCs. Need for in-home service is determined by HP support representative. Customer may be required to run system self-test programs or correct reported faults by following advice given over phone. On-site services provided only if issue can't be corrected remotely. Service not available holidays and weekends.

HP will transfer your name and address information, IP address, products ordered and associated costs and other personal information related to processing your application to Bill Me Later®. Bill Me Later will use that data under its privacy policy.

Microsoft Windows 10: Not all features are available in all editions or versions of Windows 10. Systems may require upgraded and/or separately purchased hardware, drivers, software or BIOS update to take full advantage of Windows 10 functionality. Windows 10 is automatically updated, which is always enabled. ISP fees may apply and additional requirements may apply over time for updates. See http://www.microsoft.com.

“Best All In One Printer” and “the easiest printer you’ve ever had to set up” from Wirecutter. ©2020 The Wirecutter, Inc.. All rights reserved. Used under license. https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-all-in-one-printer/

Get Marvel’s Avengers when you purchase HP gaming PCs with qualifying 9th gen or 10th gen Intel® Core™ i5, i7 and i9 processors. Redemption code will be sent out by email within 60 days of purchase. Limited quantities and while supply lasts. Offer valid thru 12/31/2020 only while supplies last. We reserve the right to replace titles in the offer for ones of equal or greater value. Certain titles may not be available to all consumers because of age restrictions. The Offer may be changed, cancelled, or suspended at any time, for any reason, without notice, at Intel’s reasonable discretion if its fairness or integrity affected whether due to human or technical error. The Offer sponsor is Intel Corporation, 2200 Mission College Blvd., Santa Clara, CA 95054, USA. To participate you must create an Intel Digital Hub Account, purchase a qualifying product during the redemption period, enter a valid Master Key, and respond to a brief survey. Information you submit is collected, stored, processed, and used on servers in the USA. For more information on offer details, eligibility, restrictions, and our privacy policy, visit https://softwareoffer.intel.com/offer/20Q3-19/terms.

© 2020 MARVEL. © Intel Corporation. Intel, the Intel logo, and other Intel marks are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

The personal information you provide will be used according to the HP Privacy Statement (https://www8.hp.com/us/en/privacy/ww-privacy.html)