Everything You Need to Know About How to Encrypt Your Email
Almost all your online activities are monitored in one way or another. Every link you click on and every webpage you visit is data that some company is collecting. So, thinking about online privacy and security might be the need of the hour. Governments and cybercriminals are out to get your data to their advantage. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t take any precautions. If you encrypt your email, use a VPN and get yourself a password manager, you might be more secure than others.
Email encryption can help you send out sensitive pieces of information. It is a process of masking the real contents of an email with an encrypted code. As a result, your data will be illegible for any interfering attackers. So, if you don’t know how to encrypt an email, this article can be of help to you. Most email services use a built-in reliable encryption protocol and tool. However, you can also download third-party apps.
Types of Protocols to Encrypt Your Email
Email encryption works by scrambling the text of your email. So, to read the text, you need a key. There can be a private and public key based on the type of encryption you use. The two types are mainly symmetrical and asymmetrical encryption. So, it can be a good idea to get an added layer of security even if you’re using a reliable connection like the Spectrum internet plans.
Email encryption can be complicated and the specifics can be different for every provider. Although, understanding the basic types and protocols can help you grasp the concept better. Most email service providers and third-party apps use S/MIME or PGP/MIME protocols. Businesses can prefer Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions while Pretty Good Privacy/MIME is mostly for personal emails. Both work slightly differently but are usually the same in terms of security.
How to Encrypt Emails Using Gmail
So, if you are on a reliable network like Cox internet plans, you probably have some level of security. Even then, you should encrypt your email and use VPNs whenever possible. Gmail by Google might be one of the most commonly used email services globally. It supports TLS but you won’t get S/MIME encryption unless you have a Google Workspace Enterprise account.
So, you can use Gmail’s confidential mode for more privacy. It can give your email an expiration date and password protection. Here is what you need to do:
- Open the Gmail app on iOS or Android.
- Compose a new email.
- Click on the three dots in the top right corner.
- Select Confidential Mode from the drop-down menu.
- Set an expiry date.
- Select a password to protect the email.
- Click on Save.
Now, you can send confidential and time-sensitive data using your Gmail account. This does not give your email end-to-end encryption but does make it private.
Encrypting Emails in Outlook
If you are in an office setting, you probably use a plan like the Optimum Business internet and email services like Outlook. If you have a Microsoft 365 plan, you can use S/MIME encryption as well. You can change these settings using the Outlook desktop app. Moreover, you also need a digital ID that a qualified certificate authority can verify. Then, follow these steps:
- Launch the Outlook app.
- Click on File in the top left corner.
- Select Options.
- Go to the Trust Center tab from the Outlook options window.
- Click on Trust Center Settings.
- Go to the Email Security tab in the new window.
- Find the Digital ID section and choose Import/Export.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to add your certificate.
- Click the Settings button under the Encrypted Email heading.
- Recheck the details of your certificate in the pop-up window.
- Check all the boxes under the Encrypted Email heading.
- Compose a new email.
- Go to the Options tab and click on Encrypt.
- Check the S/MIME encryption.
You can use the above settings to encrypt your email in Outlook. It is much better than Gmail because the encryption is end-to-end. Moreover, you can choose your certificate in the settings to get a much better overall privacy.
Encrypt Your Emails with iCloud Mail
Apple uses encryption for iCloud and you can use it to send encrypted emails as well. But you need to install a S/MIME certificate before you begin. So, you can use your Suddenlink internet plans and connect your device to the Microsoft Exchange servers. Then, follow these steps to get encrypted emails with the iOS Mail app.
- Go to Settings.
- Tap on your iCloud account.
- Find and select Mail from your iCloud settings.
- Go to Advanced.
- Scroll to the bottom of the list and find the S/MIME heading.
- Turn the setting on.
- Compose a new email in the Mail app.
- Notice the blue lock icon when you type the email.
If the lock icon is red, it means that you can’t send an encrypted email to that address. This can happen because of a missing certificate.
If you use other email clients like Yahoo Mail, you might not get an in-built tool. In such cases, you can use internet plans like Spectrum Mobile or stable Wifi to download third-party apps. They can provide end-to-end encryption using tools and Chrome extensions. Some of the most common encryption apps in use are Mailvelope, GNU Privacy Guard, and GPGTools. They can usually support web-based email clients and might not be the best option for desktop or mobile apps.