The most common form of mail encryption used in Microsoft Outlook is Outlook's own S/MIME encryption, which can be used to sign or encrypt e-mail (or both). When you sign a message with your key, it can be verified against your key to ensure that you did indeed create and send the message in question. However, S/MIME requires a certificate issued by a proper certification authority to work correctly.
If your organization has Windows 2000 Server or Windows Server 2003 with Certificate Services installed, you can generate certificates yourself for signing e-mail. You can also buy certificates from a certification authority, such as VeriSign. However, many people don't have the option of generating or buying certificates, usually because the cost is prohibitive. In such a case, you can use free tools to sign and encrypt e-mail using a system called public/private keys.
Simple e-mail encryption
Step 1: Outlook's S/MIME
Step 2: Public keypairs
Step 3: GnuPG and WinPT: Setup
Step 4: Encrypting e-mail in WinPT
Step 5: Verifying signed e-mail in WinPT
Step 6: Extras: Symmetric encryption and hotkey commands
More information from SearchWindowsSecurity.com
- Whitepaper: Contributing to regulatory compliance with e-mail encryption
- Opinion: How much encryption is enough?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter. Check it out for the latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators -- and please share your thoughts as well!</<br> Copyright 2005 TechTarget
This was first published in November 2005