Email encryption is a really important topic in today’s world. With recent data breaches and the potential for cyber break-ins, it’s more important than ever to protect your email from being stolen. In this blog post we’ll cover how Outlook encrypts emails and what that means for you as a user.
To encrypt an email message in Outlook, the software converts the text from readable plain text into scrambled ciphertext. The recipient who has the private key that matches the public key used to encrypt the message can decipher the message for reading. This helps protect the privacy of the email’s contents from prying eyes.
While encryption is a great way to protect email, setting up Outlook for encryption is a security risk. Without the correct private key, the message remains scrambled and is indecipherable, even to those who have permission to view it.
As such, you should not use self-generated public/private key pairs because their security relies on your knowledge that you created them rather than on a third party. Instead, use a key management service to create and store your public/private key pairs.
If you’re the recipient of an encrypted email, Outlook prompts you for the private key used to encrypt the message. If you don’t have the correct private key, you won’t decrypt the message and instead see a message indicating that the email is encrypted.
However, suppose you’re the sender of an encrypted email but don’t have the correct private key to decrypt it. In that case, you won’t see any notification about it being encrypted or even opening the message. Instead, you’ll only discover that Outlook has prompted the recipient for a private key when they try to open it.
If you forget your private key and then access an encrypted email message, this can be a problem. In this case, the only solution is to contact the sender and ask for the private key.
If you’re looking for more information on email encryption in Outlook, take a look at Microsoft’s support page on the subject – How does email encryption work in outlook?. There, you can find the latest information about Outlook’s security options.