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Chapter 13. Securing e-mail > Encryption and digital signatures

Encryption and digital signatures

Encrypted messages are messages that are translated into code. Encrypting your message ensures that your message and any attachments you send cannot be read by anyone other than the intended recipients. Encrypted messages are decoded by keys that only your company’s computer system and that of your intended recipient have. These keys decode encrypted messages by using a string of bits. The longer the string of bits your system’s key has, the more difficult it will be for anyone else to decode your message. Various e-mail programs offer different key lengths. If an encryption feature is offered by your system, you need to obtain a certificate offered by your administrator or by a certified security authority to use it.

Most e-mail programs also give you the option of signing your e-mail messages with a digital signature. Digital signatures are encrypted signatures that ensure that no one can alter your message. They also reassure the recipients of your message that the message was sent from you. To use the digital signature option, you need to obtain a certificate offered by your administrator or by a certified security authority, such as VeriSign.


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