When you send an email message, there are at least four, if not more, points of contact wherein the email could be read by someone else. For many people your email communication need not be secret as they contain innocuous information that would be of little (if any) importance to the general public.
For those who sweat every time they send email, here’s some places your email is vulnerable:
- When the email goes from you to your email server it travels across your network (wired or wireless) and is vulnerable.
- It’s vulnerable when it goes from your email server to the email server of the recipient.
- When the recipient retrieves the email from their email server to their computer the email is also vulnerable.
Sometimes you send email, especially if you are working on a particular project that needs to be very secure. If you are in a regulated industry, the security of your email is very important. There’s many ways to send secure and encrypted email, and one company, Kryptiva, has an easy to use, and right now free solution.
Kryptiva’s solution is offered through a Microsoft Outlook plug-in that enables you to do three things
a) encrypt the email
b) sign the email (so the recipient knows it is indeed from you and not from an email address someone created to look like it came from you)
c) request proof of delivery
For the time being, Kryptiva’s solution is completely free. You download the free Microsoft Outlook plug-in and can use Kryptiva’s online server for encrypting your email or install the free server platform edition to encrypt email on your own server. In 2008, Kryptiva expects to offer additional, fee based services.
When sending a recipient a Kryptiva encrypted email they can install the Microsoft plug-in to read their email or read the email via Kryptiva’s online service for those who do not have the Microsoft plug-in.
I asked a Kryptiva spokesperson if email security is really that important, here’s their reply:
Email encryption is important because as email usage continues to rise, it has become increasingly more unreliable, insecure and easily exploitable. The amount of sensitive and confidential information sent via email is enormous. The primary reason to use encryption is to protect corporate image and intangible assets. There are also a large number of compliance standards and regulations that must be met to protect the information being sent (i.e. HIPAA, SOX, NERC, PIPEDA, etc.) as well as inherent business benefit such as being seen as a business that values it’s clients, protecting their sensitive information as well as its own information. IT security experts have long looked to encryption to help solve some of these problems, but encryption products and other stopgap measures have failed to survive the corporate decision-making process when cost and complexity of deployment were weighed against potential risks.
The next time you send sensitive email and wonder if someone’s reading it or if the recipient read it, consider Kryptiva or some other email encryption service.