What is Secure Email?
When compared to regular emails that can be easily intercepted and read by just about anyone, a “Secure eMail” is a safe alternative to regular emails, posts, and fax. When the send button on your Secure eMail is hit, the information within it gets encrypted, allowing it to be read only by an intended recipient.
How to Secure Your Email?
Given below are some ways to keep your email confidential:
- Password protection
Choose a password that is a combination of numbers and letters. This password should not spell a recognizable phrase or word. To make your passwords more stronger use punctuation, symbols, and a combination of lowercase and capital letters.
- Use a secure email service
Secure Socket Layers (SSL) is the industry standard for developing an encrypted link between a browser and a web server. SSL prevents your network from getting tapped into. If the web address begins with “https” instead of just “http” you will indeed know you are using SSL encryption. One thing you will have to consider when using SSL is that the mail server saves your messages in plain text. Meaning, despite the fact that no one can tap into your network, anyone with access to the mail server can actually see the content of your messages.
- Ask tough questions
Most sites ask you to choose a security question to do things like access a secure account or retrieve a password. Sometimes, you may have to choose from a pre-selected list of questions, while there are also sites that allow you to choose your own. If you are able to form your own question, choose a vague piece of information about yourself that would be very hard to guess. If you have to choose from a pre-selected list of questions, use false information just to be sure you keep track of your answers.
- Email Encryption
The best approach to keep your email private is to directly encrypt, in some cases, the email client you already use could be doing this behind the scenes. If you can’t use a secure, private email service and want to ensure that your emails are safe, you will have to encrypt the messages themselves. This will make the password unreadable to anyone but the recipient, even if they were printed out from the mail server and posted for all to see. Two of the most popular forms of message encryption include Open PGP and Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME). Both will require you and your contacts to install security certificates on your computers and then exchange strings of characters known as public keys.
- Use a VPN
A VPN creates an encrypted ‘tunnel’ to another server, where the data is decrypted prior to being sent to the internet. However, while the key reason for a VPN is privacy, and while it could keep your emails secure from your ISP, your email client will still have an unencrypted copy, and hence it only offers limited security.
Define Email Security
Email security refers to the collective measures employed for securing the access and content of an email service or account. It permits an organization or individual to protect the overall access to one or more email accounts/addresses.
Types of Email Security
Given below are some of the key elements to be included in an email security system:
- Trustworthy Antivirus Software: An email attachment is one of the most popular ways a virus or worm enters your email client. To obtain the best protection possible against email viruses and worms, it is thus important to install a reputable antivirus program capable of scanning all email attachments for worms and viruses.
- Spam Killer: A good spam killer will help in cutting back on the amount of spam that is received by your email client and helps in preventing the possibility of viruses entering your email via a spam message. It is also possible for a spam killer to cut back on the number of phishing attacks that typically occur with spam messages.
- Anti-Spyware: Hackers are known to send Trojans, adware, and spyware via email attachments. Your email protection arsenal will have to include a good anti-spyware program capable of performing regular scans and providing updates on the latest types of malware.
- Content Security Software: Several organizations deploy content security software to guarantee that sensitive and confidential content is not revealed within the organization or sent outside of the organization either on purpose or by accident.
- Email Usage Policy: Implementing an email usage policy will help you to cut back on the amount of email traffic that arises due to personal use by the end user. An email usage policy will help in reducing company email misuse which provides extra protection against unsolicited messages that occur because of using a company email to sign up for services online or any other type of unsuitable use.
- Encryption System: To confirm that email messages are sent and received in a secured manner, it is essential to deploy a public key infrastructure that can be employed for encrypting and decrypting email messages containing sensitive information.
How to Send a Secure Email?
- If you are sending a message using a desktop client such as Apple Mail or Outlook, confirm that your client is correctly configured. To check your settings, see Configuring Your Email Program. The Secure Email settings are similar to those of a regular email. If you are sending a message using webmail, your settings are correct, so no action is needed.
- Add the word “Secure” in the subject line of the message and then continue typing your subject line. Ensure to include the colon. For example, Subject Line: Secure: Regarding Your Appointment.
- Create your message and send it in a normal manner.
Benefits of a Secure Email Gateway
Email security gateways help in preventing emails with mean intent and messages that violate an organization’s security and use policies from reaching their destinations. These emails could contain phishing attacks, spam, malware, and other malicious content. By quarantining or blocking these emails, whether outbound or inbound, an email security gateway can prevent a variety of attacks from ever reaching their targets. Three key benefits offered by Email security gateways include:
- Provide data loss prevention functionality for email
There are few email security gateways that offer optional data loss prevention (DLP) functionality for email messages. Originally intended to be used for inspecting outbound email messages, DLP technologies have been designed to detect sensitive information being inappropriately exfiltrated from an organization. A few examples of such sensitive data include credit card numbers, medical records, and Social Security numbers.
- Support basic email encryption services
Email encryption is a feature offered by some email security gateways. These email encryption services are capable of protecting the integrity and confidentiality of emails in transit. This prevents attackers from spying on who can monitor a segment of a network along the route that an email message goes through and view the contents of email messages, copy their attachments and so on.
- Compensate for missing or weak client security controls
An email security gateway is installed as a network-based security control. It should be noted that there is no such thing as a client component for an email security gateway. However, because all outbound and inbound email is funneled via an organization’s email servers, this is not a drawback. In contrast, this can be greatly beneficial because sensing the latest threats means frequently updating threat intelligence, malware signatures and several other threat detection methods. For most environments, it is not feasible to push out updates to all client devices every five minutes, instead, it is easy and efficient to update one centralized device that often.
To conclude, email security gateways are all about filtering emails to avoid malicious attachments and messages from reaching their proposed recipients. By detecting and blocking spam, phishing attempts, malware, and other malicious content, email security gateways are capable of significantly reducing the number of attempted and successful attacks against an organization.