Credit card numbers, Social Security Numbers, scanned passports, plans for world domination — these are only a few of the items that you may be tempted to send in an email. But unless you have encryption, you shouldn’t hit “send” on any of them. A message can pass through numerous servers on its journey and can be read on any of them.
Encrypting a message can be much more complicated than encrypting a file or even a drive. There are other people involved. And they may not be as tech savvy or security conscious as you. So you need encryption that won’t confuse someone who panics at the thought of downloading a file.
Another issue you need to consider: Just how much security do you need? It’s one thing to protect your information from run-of-the-mill cybercrooks. It’s another to keep your private words from the government.
And remember that there is no perfect security. Even the best encryption algorithm can be cracked if someone uses a password like 123456. The goal is to find something both practical and sufficiently secure.
The Weak Encryption You Probably Already Have
Your messages probably already travel encrypted from your email client to your email provider’s server, and they’re encrypted again as they travel from that server to the recipient. But it’s not encrypted the entire route (called end-to-end encryption).