You want to send sensitive information, but with our data increasingly being exploited for profit by hackers and fraudsters waiting to steal your information at any opportunity, the need for secure and private means of communication is becoming increasingly critical. So here is an idea of how to send secure email in Outlook in the form of encrypted messages. Again, don’t worry. This article is what you need to get user-friendly and complete information on how to send a secure email in Outlook.
Encryption makes a piece of data or text unintelligible to the general public. Email encryption is the process of encrypting emails so that no random person can read them. Every encrypted text contains a key; only the person with that key can decrypt and read the email in its original format. To decrypt encrypted emails in Outlook, the user must have the necessary information on hand.
1. Why Send Encrypted Messages?
Encrypt an email message when you need to send a secure message. In Outlook, sending an encrypted message means sending readable plain text as scrambled cipher text. The message can be read by only the recipient, with a private key similar to the public key used to encrypt it. However, for any recipient who does not have the corresponding private key, this secured message appears as an unintelligible text.
The secrecy of data is maintained by an encrypted email. By converting a message into code language, encryption hides its contents. It’s helpful when you need to send private or secret information that shouldn’t have unrestricted access to anyone else. Hackers can hijack email because it is sent over the internet. To ensure that only the intended recipient’s email address can get your message, encryption adds a crucial layer of security.
2. How to Send Secure Email in Outlook?
S/MIME encryption – To use S/MIME encryption, the sender and recipient must each have a mail client that complies with the S/MIME standard. Outlook supports S/MIME. To send secure emails in outlook, you have two encryption choices:
Microsoft 365 Message Encryption – To use Microsoft 365 Message Encryption option, the sender must have the software, which is a part of the Office 365 Enterprise E3 license.
2.1 S/MIME Encryption
Before starting this procedure, you must first add a certificate to your computer’s keychain. After installing your signing certificate on your computer, you must configure it in Outlook online.
S/Mime encryption is an older method of email encryption that cannot be used to send encrypted emails to users of free webmail services like Yahoo and Gmail. S/Mime encryption can only successfully encrypt emails when both the sender and recipient have installed and shared their encryption certificates. This method can be very expensive, so it is not a popularly used encryption technique. It is made available to anyone with an email account integrated into Outlook. Still, it does require that the recipient should also be an Outlook user or a user of an email platform that is equivalently compatible with S/Mime.
Unfortunately, this method of email encryption can be vulnerable to outside attacks, such as message takeovers. Also, it increases risk because users must exchange the encryption passcode used to encrypt emails. Your emails are no longer secure if that passcode is leaked for any reason.
To set up email encryption with S/Mime on Outlook, senders should acquire an email encryption certificate, import it into Outlook, and then share it with the intended recipient. Check to see if each intended recipient has purchased and installed an email encryption certificate in Outlook or another email platform which are S/Mime compatible. This certificate should be distributed to the sender. A certificate for email encryption can be obtained from various certificate authorities (CAs). Learn how to send an encrypted email by following the steps below.
- Click on the Options tab, then Trust Center and Trust Center Settings from the File menu.
- Select Email Security from the left pane.
- Select Settings under Encrypted email.
- Choose the S/MIME certificate from the Algorithms and Certificates section.
- Select OK.
- Click Options in an email message, then encrypt and then from the drop-down menu encrypt with S/MIME.
- If you have a S/MIME certificate installed on your computer, you will see an Encrypt with S/MIME option. Here’s what’s new if you’re an Office Insider with a Microsoft 365 subscription: Outlook 2019 and Outlook 2016 users
- Select Options, then Permissions in an email message.
- Complete writing your email and then click Send.
To open an encrypted email, the recipient must be on their desktop computer and use their Microsoft Outlook application, which will automatically decrypt the message. If the recipient decides to add the sender’s encryption certificate to their contact card and to give a reply to the encrypted message, the response will be automatically encrypted.
2.2 Microsoft 365 Message Encryption
Office 365 Message Encryption (OME), an exclusive option available to Office 365 email account users, allows the sender to send Outlook-encrypted emails to any recipient without installing certificates. OME, the most expensive option, requires installing the Outlook application and an Office 365 subscription. In addition, OME requires the recipient to take several additional steps each time they receive a new message, such as requesting a special code and then decrypting the email.
Individuals must upgrade their subscription to a plan that includes OME to use it. It is critical to understand that OME is not included in the widely popular Office 365 Business Essentials and Business Premium plans. Office 365 Enterprise E5 or E3, Microsoft Enterprise E3 or E5, Microsoft 365 Business, Office 365 A1, A5, or A3, and Office 365 Government G3 or G5 are the only plans that include OME. Another option is adding Azure Information Protection Plan 1 to one’s O365 subscription, which can be time-consuming and expensive.
Select Encrypt and the encryption that has the restrictions you want to enforce, such as Encrypt-Only or Do Not Forward, in an email message.
Begin by writing a new message. Click Options in the top menu. Then press the Encrypt button. Additionally, users can prevent this encrypted message from being forwarded at this time by clicking the small arrow located beneath the Encrypt button. A message should look informative to the sender that the message will be encrypted. Complete the email and click Send as you would normally.
When a recipient receives an encrypted email, the initial email contains no actual email content or attachments. Instead, they will be asked to confirm their identity through Office 365. After clicking Read the message, recipients will be prompted to enter a one-time passcode or log in to their school or work account.
Users of free webmail services such as Yahoo and Gmail may be prompted to sign into their accounts. Unless the recipient has an Office 365 account linked to the email address used to send the email, recipients should select the one-time passcode option, which will be delivered through a separate email from Microsoft Office 365 Message Encryption. The email contents will be decrypted once this code is copied and pasted into the original webpage that requested it. However, it is important to note that all attachments must be manually downloaded before they can be opened.
2.3 Encrypt Only Single Message
Select File then Properties in the message you’re working on.
Tick the Encrypt message attachments and contents check box under Security Settings.
Once you finish writing your message, click on Send.
2.4 Encrypt all Incoming and Outgoing Messages
You can write and send messages as usual when you choose to encrypt all outgoing messages by default. Still, all potential recipients must have your digital ID to decode or view your messages.
Click on Options then Trust Center and click on Trust Center Settings from the File tab.
Select the Encrypt contents and attachments for the outgoing messages check box on the Email Security tab under Encrypted email.
You can also select Settings to make additional changes, such as selecting a specific certificate.
3. Updates to Email Encryption and a New Encrypt Button
Outlook now has better email encryption thanks to the most recent Office update.
The button for permissions The Encrypt button with the lock icon has taken the place of the Permissions button.
The new encryption button offers both S/MIME and IRM encryption methods. If a S/MIME certificate is configured in Outlook, the S/MIME option will only be visible to you.
Check out Encrypting with S/MIME or Encrypt with Microsoft 365 Message Encryption for comprehensive instructions on adding encryption.
Organizations can best protect the content and attachments sent via Outlook using digital certificates (S/Mime), Office 365 Encryption (OME), or encryption add-ins. Encryption add-ins offer the greatest ease of use and the least economic burden by combining the benefits of both S/Mime and OME.
Also read: How to Lock Apps on Android