How Does Encrypted Email Work?

You may not consciously think about it, but every time you send a standard email, it can potentially be read by third parties like email providers.

In the worst-case scenario, emails can be read by hackers. So, it is important you take care regarding any sensitive information you send by electronic mail.

The best way to protect the data in emails is to encrypt it. Although most emails are actually encrypted while in transit, they are stored in clear text, which makes them readable by third parties.

To make sure emails are only read by the intended recipients, you need to implement a specific encryption method. So, how does encrypted email actually work?

What are the main types of email encryption?

From eCommerce stores to online casinos like Dunder, businesses’ web-based platforms commonly use encryption methods to protect customer data and ensure their platforms are safe to use.

While most people care about their information being protected on such sites and take steps to ensure the platforms they are using are secure, most people do not consider protecting their emails in the same way.

Despite the fact that emails can contain a wide variety of information that you would not want an unauthorized party to read. Taking precautions is easier than many people think, too.

How Does Encrypted Email Work
How Does Encrypted Email Work?

Two main protocols are used for encrypting email. They are Transport Layer Security, which is commonly abbreviated to TLS, and end-to-end encryption. Let us find out more about how each encryption method works.

How does TLS email encryption work?

The default standard email encryption used by well-known providers like Microsoft and Google is TLS. This encryption method is at work every time you send an email from your account, even though you may be unaware of it.

TLS email encryption works by protecting messages in transit against so-called man-in-the-middle attacks, which attempt to read messages as the text is sent to a recipient. While TLS is fantastic for encrypting data that is in transit.

It does not actually protect the data itself. It is only the channel of transmission that is encrypted. That means cybercriminals could potentially access the data in plain text when it is not in transmission. While TLS is certainly a very helpful security measure, it does not provide full protection for sensitive content in emails.

How does end-to-end encryption work?

End-to-end encryption, which is also known as public-key encryption, is the main method used to ensure complete email security. It encrypts emails on the sender’s device and those emails can only be decrypted by the intended recipient’s device. Therefore, servers are completely unable to read the messages.

The encryption is enabled by using public and private keys. The sender of the email encrypts his or her message by using the recipient’s public key.

The recipient then decrypts the message by using the private key that is stored on his or her device. It really is that simple, although users of end-to-end encryption do need to first learn how to use public and private keys.

The end-to-end encryption standard that is used to send secure messages is PGP, which stands for Pretty Good Privacy. It was first used by journalists and activists who wanted to keep their communications safe.

Today, it is the main method of end-to-end encryption. Via a public key infrastructure, emails can easily be encrypted and protected.

At the end of the day, end-to-end encryption is the gold standard of email encryption. Even if a hacker does intercept an email that has been disguised with end-to-end encryption, the hacker would only access gibberish. It would be impossible for the hacker to read the plain text content that is encrypted.