By default, the content of email isnot encrypted or obscured in any way. As it travels from your computer to your mail server to my mail server and finally to my PC, it’s stored in formats that are easily read by anyone who has access and cares to do so. Let’s examine those two criteria in more detail. Who has access to your email
How secure are your email messages?
While messages travel across networks, the only way to secure them is to encrypt the data. An encrypted message appears like nonsense to anyone without a key to decode the information. Email platforms don’t encrypt messages, meaning your sensitive data is vulnerable to anyone trying to access it in transit.
How to encrypt email messages in outlook?
Open Outlook and choose New Email. In the email message, choose Options, select Encrypt and pick the encryption that has the restrictions that you want to enforce, such as Encrypt-Only or Do Not Forward You can send this encrypted message to other employees with the same Outlook version or higher.
What is a “secure” email server?
“Secure” Email Servers are web servers where communication could be secured behind a password protected web login. It was not really email but a way to communicate in an email-like fashion.
What happens to your email when it’s encrypted?
While the email is in transit, it can be accessed, altered, and even deleted by server administrators or any hacker or scammer who has breached their security. While messages travel across networks, the only way to secure them is to encrypt the data. An encrypted message appears like nonsense to anyone without a key to decode the information.
It was designed in simpler times
Email is ubiquitous and convenient, yet surprisingly, not particularly secure. I’ll look at why that is and when you should worry.
How Secure Is Email?
Email was never really designed for the security we might need today. The good news is that most of us are not interesting enough to be at risk of being hacked. If you are, then secure alternatives, like encrypted attachments or not using email at all, are the most common solutions.
Your confidential business information scenario warrants consideration, but I want to discuss the case for the average email user first.
What is possible
By default, the content of email is not encrypted or obscured in any way. As it travels from your computer to your mail server to my mail server and finally to my PC, it’s stored in formats that are easily read by anyone who has access and cares to do so.
Who has access to your email
Anyone who has access to the network, network equipment, mail servers, or PCs across which your email travels can potentially read your mail.
The risks are at the endpoints
I honestly believe the greatest risks are at the sending and receiving endpoints.
But what if you are interesting?
Your question included two very important words that might make things more … interesting: “business” and “sensitive information”.
No encrypted messages
When you send an email, it travels across multiple servers before arriving in the recipient’s inbox. While the email is in transit, it can be accessed, altered, and even deleted by server administrators or any hacker or scammer who has breached their security.
Data Leaks and Phishing Scams
Nearly everyone who’s used email for regular communication has experienced a message falling into the wrong hands due to a mistyped email address. Some email platforms allow you to unsend an email, but only within a few minutes, and only if you’ve configured your email account to allow it.
Malware is a type of malicious software that can harm your device or network. This software can comb through your email account or your organization’s stored information, stealing any valuable data.
Better options for email security
When email isn’t cutting it when it comes to your security needs, what do you do? Luckily, there are things you can do to better protect the information you’re sending and receiving.
End to end encryption
Email encryption is the first line of defense when it comes to improving the security vulnerabilities of email. An encrypted email turns the data into a jumbled message that the end user must decode before reading. This keeps data safe from hackers and unwanted third parties.
Two Factor Authentication and One Time Passwords
Passwords and PIN codes are excellent tools for improving email security, however, passwords can be compromised. Two factor authentication and one time passwords add an extra layer of security.
A client portal is an alternative to email that allows you to securely send and receive information. Instead of implementing passwords and encryption to improve email security, client portals avoid the risks of email entirely. Client portals utilize firewalls, malware scanners, and encryption to protect sensitive information.
How does DMARC work?
Leverage DMARC and supporting technologies – SPF, DKIM, DMARC and BIMI work hand-in-hand to 1) declare who can send email on behalf of a domain, 2) digitally sign email from that domain, 3) report compliance to the sending domain, and 4) apply a corporate logo to compliant email. When a domain leverages these technologies, it is secured against being used in spam and phishing attempts and gives the recipients peace-of-mind that the email is genuine.
Why do you need a DMARC?
Setup DMARC for all outbound email sources – Adopting DMARC for all your outbound email sources will help you protect your sending reputation and reduce the risk of your domain names being used in spam.
How to prevent email scams?
Invest in Spam and Phishing Awareness Training – Email scams exploit human weakness through social engineering to gain access to your email, bank accounts and secure data. Training your team to recognize these scams will improve your email security.
What is a sender verification service?
Sender Verification Services respond to an unsolicited email with an email demanding the sender verify their identity. The goal here is to reduce the potential for spam and phishing attempts by creating a hurdle for senders to jump. The inbox provider then only passes on “verified” email to the user. This technique essentially removes any automated email, including newsletters, as marketing teams are unable to monitor the verification email. The downside is that a legitimate sender may not register so you miss important email.
Why do you move DMARC to reject?
Gradually move your DMARC policy to Reject to enable better inbox placement opportunities.
How to reduce the risk of being blacklisted?
Setup Outbound Email filters – You do not want to become a source of spam, so setting up filters to control outbound email will reduce the risk of being blacklisted or of sending spam emails within your network.
What is PGP encryption?
PGP, or Pretty Good Privacy, used a Public-Private encryption key system to encrypt and decrypt email. Email was completely secure in transit, and from administrators, but unfortunately, PGP was bulky to use. TLS solved the problem of securing communication between servers without the user needing to do anything.
What Is S/SMIME and What Is an S/MIME Certificate?
When looking at ways to encrypt your email, you have to talk about S/MIME. An email security protocol called secure/multipurpose internet mail extension; S/MIME certificates are used for end-to-end email encryption. Once you go through a validation process from a trusted CA, you’ll be issued a S/MIME certificate. Because it comes from trusted roots, these S/MIME certificates will tell email clients (such as Outlook ) that you’re trustworthy, which means that your S/MIME certificate will be supported by such mail clients.
How to encrypt email in Outlook 365?
If you’re using Microsoft 365 Outlook: In your email message, you will select Options and then Encrypt. Then you will select Encrypt with S/MIME from a drop-down menu. If you are using Outlook 2019 or Outlook 2016: There is a slight variation at this point.
What does end to end email mean?
If you’ve heard the term end-to-end email encryption, this means that the email is encrypted while it is on your own email provider’s server, while it is in transit and once it lands in the recipient’s inbox. This means it can’t be tampered with at any point. End-to-end email encryption is a safe way to send emails with sensitive information, such as:
Why is encryption important in email?
In regard to encrypting an email, encryption is generally used to ensure that the email does not get intercepted while going from the sender to the recipient. As mentioned, the sender would encrypt using the public key and the recipient would decrypt with the private key.
What is an EV SSL certificate?
An EV SSL certificate, on the other hand, involves the purchaser validating more than their domain. EV SSL certificates require CAs to verify many details about a requesting company or organization before issuing a certificate to them. So, when you install an EV SSL certificate on your user, the user knows they’re protected by HTTPS and can verify the website owner’s information. This is much like how users can use an S/MIME certificate and a digital signature to verify an email is legitimate and hasn’t been altered.
What is encryption in text?
Encryption is the process of scrambling readable text (known as plaintext) into what looks like unreadable data (known as ciphertext) using a cryptographic key. However, you can decrypt this unreadable message using a unique but related cryptographic key. Essentially, a public key is used to encrypt, and a private key is used to decrypt. There are many types of encryption, and it is used in a variety of formats.
How much malware is delivered by email?
Did you know that 94% of malware is delivered by email? That’s a scary stat. What’s scarier is not knowing how to protect your emails and your recipients. Lucky for you, there are a couple simple ways that offer better protection for your email communications.