Should You Encrypt Your Email?

Encrypt Email

Why should you bother to encrypt your email, you’re probably too small to be a target of hackers, aren’t you? This is a common thought that many people suffering from ransomware attacks and successful phishing attempts regret having. Almost everybody who doesn’t engage in cybersecurity practices feels like they don’t need to do so because they’re not a target. Many people do engage in some cybersecurity practices like downloading an antivirus software, but few bother with email encryption. That might turn out to be an error.

Benefits of Encryption

Do you ever deal with money through email? Or do you ever tell friends secrets like where you hide your key to your house? When you send a letter, you make sure it’s in an envelope unless you really don’t care if people see the contents (like with postcards). Why wouldn’t you take the same precaution with your electronic messaging too? Encrypting your email will prevent the vast majority of hackers from intercepting and reading your personal communications, it’s also straightforward to do once you get your head around how it works. Once you start encrypting your emails, you will also avoid any fraud being carried out in your name – nobody will be able to pretend to be you without your encryption signature, which adds a whole new level of protection against identity theft.

Business Must-Do

Encrypting your email is a business must-do as it adds a high cost to any hacker looking to steal useful information that they can use to access other parts of your business – even seemingly innocuous information like your mother’s maiden name or the name of your first pet can be easily searched for and used to compromise an otherwise secure business. In some states, it’s also the law to encrypt your emails, something that many people don’t realize. In 2010, Nevada required all business entities to adopt encryption methods for all non-voice, non-fax electronic transmission of personal information. Lyle Epstein, president of Kortek Solutions who offer different, managed IT services, remarked that many of his clients (including the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada) had to be informed by his company that they were violating the law.

How Does It Work?

Encryption works with a public key and a private key. The only person who will ever have your private key is yourself, but your public key is handed out to anybody with no security risk. If somebody wants to send you a message, but only wants you to see it, they will simply encrypt it using free software. The only person who can read that encrypted message will be you with your private key. Anybody else will just have a meaningless list of letters and numbers. You can use your private key to digitally sign a message you send so the recipient of the email can be sure it’s from you. Encrypted messages can be cracked, but it takes lots of time. That’s why it’s essential to encrypt every message you send because a hacker won’t know which messages contain confidential information. They’d have to spend 10 hours decrypting a message the ends up being completely mundane, and they wouldn’t want to waste their time.