Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt like your email is out of control! Between spam, malware, phishing, and other attacks, it seems like you’re always getting tricked or hacked when you least expect it.
But what if you could not only beat these attacks, but outsmart them too? Sound too good to be true? Well, it isn’t!
With a few simple cybersecurity defense mechanisms in place, your email can go from spam to secure, and you’ll be unstoppable.
What is Encrypted Email?
Encrypted email is essentially a way of scrambling the contents of your email so that only the intended recipient can read it. The encryption process usually involves the use of complex algorithms and key pairs made up of public and private keys.
The public key is used to encrypt the message, and the private key is needed to decrypt it. This means that even if someone intercepts your email, they won’t be able to read the contents unless they have the private key.
One of the most significant benefits of encrypted email is that it offers robust protection against identity theft, hacking, and phishing attempts.
Emails that contain sensitive information should always be encrypted, such as credit card details, social security numbers, and other personal data. As we all know, it is not an ideal scenario to have hackers or identity thieves getting hold of that information.
Another major advantage of encrypted email is that it helps to ensure that your emails are not being monitored or read by unwanted parties. Governments, ISPs, email providers, and even hackers can potentially intercept your emails and read the contents. If you use encrypted email, however, you can be sure that your emails are secure and that only the recipient can read them.
Some people mistakenly believe that encrypted email is only necessary for businesses or individuals working in highly-sensitive industries like finance or healthcare. However, the truth is that anyone who values privacy and security should use encrypted email.
Whether you’re an individual who wants to protect your personal information, or a business that wants to protect your client’s data, encrypted email is an essential tool for safeguarding your privacy.
Why is Encrypted Email Important?
Let’s start with the most obvious benefit of encrypted email communication – security. When you send an email, there’s a chance someone might intercept it and read its content. That’s bad news if the email contains sensitive information like personal details, bank account information, or confidential files.
Thankfully, encrypted emails protect your privacy, and only intended recipients can read them. It’s like sending a message in code that no one else can understand.
But that’s not the only reason. Ever received a suspicious email that asks for your personal information or password? That’s a classic example of phishing, a technique used by hackers to steal sensitive information.
Encrypted emails come with secure authentication protocols that ensure that the sender is legitimate. As a result, you can be sure that you’re receiving an email from a known sender, and not from a fraudulent party.
Finally, encrypted email communication is future-proof. As technology advances, the risk of hacking also increases. By implementing encrypted email communication, you’re proactively protecting your communication from potential threats.
What Are the Different Types of Email Message Encryption?
As our reliance on the internet increases, so does our use of email. Even though emailing may seem like a mundane task, it’s crucial to remember that all your communications are at risk of being read by cybercriminals. Even if you have nothing to hide, it’s always best to protect your privacy with encryption.
But wait – how do you know which encryption method is best? Let’s break down how this works by going over the two types of email encryption options.
S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) is one of the most widely used methods of email encryption. It works by creating a digital certificate that is sent to everyone you send emails to.
When you send an encrypted email, only the recipient with the unique certificate can open it. One of the main benefits of S/MIME is its ease of use. Once you have set up your digital certificate, you don’t have to worry about it again, making it suitable for small businesses and individuals.
PGP/MIME (Pretty Good Privacy/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) is a popular encryption method that encrypts the email on both sender and recipient ends.
Unlike S/MIME, PGP/MIME gives you more control over the encryption itself, allowing the sender to select the level of encryption on each message. It also has the added benefit of being relatively secure, ensuring that your messages are more secure than most other email encryption methods.
Sending Encrypted Email with Gmail
Before diving into the encrypted email settings, let’s go over the basics of Gmail encryption.
Gmail automatically has S/MMIMME built in, but it works only if the receiver and sender alike both have it activated. You will need to ensure that the encryption is enabled to the recipient’s email address or domain.
After enabling the hosted S/MIME, you’ll now be able to send encrypted emails. Write your email, then select the lock buttom. This will show you a drop-down menu with the encryption options.
The Google workspace offers step-by-step instructions on enabling hosted S/MIME, and you can easily activate this feature in Gmail’s settings.
Select “view details” to adjust the S/MIME settings or level of encryption. Here you will see a set of color codes to help you recognize the encryption level and the level of security provided.
The green color signifies that the email is safeguarded by S/MIME encryption. The message needs a private key for decryption.
The grey color denotes that the email is guarded by TLS encryption (Transport Layer Security). Remember, this works only if both parties have capabilities.
Finally, red means that the email has no level of encryption security. This one is not secure.
How to Use Yahoo! To Send a Secure Email
Like every other email service out there, Yahoo! is not immune to security threats.
Yahoo Mail offers HTTPS encryption, an added layer of security that ensures your email is safe and secure. HTTPS encrypts your email traffic, making it virtually impossible for anybody to intercept or read your emails.
To enable HTTPS, go to your email settings and then click on “Security.” Next, select “Always use HTTPS” and save your changes.
Sending Secure Email in Mac
First, request a certificate from a certificate authority. Once you have that, import it to Keychain Access, along with the recipient’s certificate.
Now, you’re ready to use the Mail app to send your secure email.
Simply select your personal certificate from the From field, enter the recipient’s email address, and hit that padlock icon to start your message. No need to stress about the security of your emails anymore. Your Mac has got your back!
Sending a Secure Email in Windows
Ssending a secure email in Windows is easier than you think. All you need to do is open the Microsoft Office Outlook program (whether it’s Microsoft 365, 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, or 2007) and follow a few simple steps.
After heading over to Outlook.com, head over to Options, Trust Center, and Trust Center Settings, then select Email Security and Encrypted Email.
Choose your S/MIME certificate under Certificates and Algorithms, click OK, and you’re all set!
From here on out, just write your message as usual, hit Send, and your email will be securely delivered.
Not using the latest version of Outlook? No worries, Microsoft has got you covered with handy support resources.
How Do I Encrypt an Email Address?
Next, let’s talk about end-to-end encrypted email services. These services encrypt your email contents from the moment you hit send, all the way until your recipient receives and decrypts the email on their end.
Some of the top end-to-end encrypted email services on the market right now are Protonmail, Tutanota, Msgsafe.io, Enlocked, Mailvelope, and Ciphermail.
One of the best end-to-end encrypted email services out there is Sekur. With Sekur, you can easily and securely send and receive encrypted messages. They offer military-level encryption keys, secure passcode managers, and two-factor authentication for added security.
Plus, their interface is user-friendly and intuitive, making it easy for even non-tech-savvy individuals to use.
Another way to encrypt your email address is through the use of a browser extension like Mailvelope. This extension is available for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, and allows you to encrypt and decrypt your emails without leaving your email client.
This means you don’t have to switch between applications to send secure messages, which can save you a lot of time and hassle.
What is the Most Secure Way to Send Email?
Emails contain sensitive and personal information that should be kept private. Unfortunately, hackers and cybercriminals are always trying to gain unauthorized access to our emails.
Aside from encrypting your email account, as described above, there are a few other ways you can keep yourself safe. Let’s take a closer look.
1. Use Private and Secure Email Services
One way to ensure email security is by using private and secure email services.
As mentioned earlier, there are many email providers that offer secure email services, including ProtonMail, Tutanota, and Mailfence. These email services use end-to-end encryption, which means that only the sender and recipient can read the emails.
2. Block Trackers and Spy Pixels
Many email providers use spy pixels to track emails. These pixels monitor when and how you open an email, which can be used to target you with unwanted ads. To prevent this, use email providers that automatically block trackers and spy pixels.
3. Use a Strong Password and Password Management System
A strong and unique password is crucial for email security. Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts, and make sure it’s at least 12 characters long, with a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols.
Also, use a password management system like LastPass or Dashlane to create and store strong passwords.
4. Be Vigilant About Phishing Scams
Phishing scams are common in emails. They are designed to trick you into giving away your personal information. These emails may look like they’re from a legitimate source, but they’re actually from cybercriminals. Be cautious of emails that ask for personal information or requests for money.
5. Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is helpful because it adds a “bonus” layer of security to email accounts. This authentication system requires the user to provide an additional form of identification, such as a code sent to your phone, before accessing the email account. This makes it difficult for hackers to gain access to your email account, even if they have your password.
6. Set a Password on Emails
This will ensure that only the recipient with the password can open the email. Many email providers offer this option, including Gmail and Outlook.
7. Block Spam
Spam emails can contain harmful links and malware that can harm your computer. To block spam, use an email provider that has spam filters in place. You can also set up filters to automatically send spam emails to the spam folder.
8. Use Aliases to Protect Your Real Email Address
An email alias is a unique email address that redirects emails to your main email account. This is a great way to protect your real email address and prevent spam emails.
9. Don’t Stay Signed into Your Email
It’s tempting to stay logged into your email at all times for ease of access, but this is risky business.
When you’re done using your email, log out. Staying signed in puts your email account at risk for unauthorized access. Always remember to log out when you’re done using your email account, especially on public computers.
10. Use “Hide My Email” Feature for Apple/iPhone Users
The “Hide My Email” feature is available for Apple/iPhone users on iOS 15 and later. This feature creates a random, unique email address that can be used to sign up for online services, rather than using your real email address. This provides an extra layer of security to protect your privacy.
There you have it – from spam to secure, all it takes is a few simple steps to outsmart email attacks. Filter out spam, be cautious of malware, double-check for phishing, and keep your overall security strong.
Of course, choosing the right email service providers goes a long way when it comes to making sure your digital signature remains private – and Sekur can help. Sekur reduces the vulnerabilities in your webmail by offering a secure communications and data management platform. With secure cloud-based storage, encrypted emails, and so much more, it’s the way to go for safe communication – no matter who you are or what industry you work in.
With these defense mechanisms in place, you’ll never fall victim to these attacks again. Trust us, your email (and your sanity) will thank you