How to encrypt e-mails (PGP Encryption)

E-mail encryption is in particular necessary, if you send confidential information, e.g. passwords, personal data or secrets, to avoid that a third party gets these confidential information and misuses them. A not encrypted e-mail is like a post card: everyone can read it. It is better to send a letter, i.e. an encrypted e-mail.

First you need to find out how to enable encryption in your e-mail-program. Here I focus on PGP encryption. Find the solution for your e-mail-client on the OpenPGP-website.

You are using Mozilla Thunderbird or a Mozilla-based e-mail client like Seamonkey. In this case you may install Enigmail and follow the instructions in the User Manual. Additionally you need to install GnuPG (Gpg4win) on your computer to create your own pair of keys.

The first condition for sending an encrypted e-mail is, that the receipient has got a privat key and a public key and that she/he has published his public key. Second, you e-mail-client has to support pgp-encryption.

  • download or copy&paste my public key into a text editor
  • save this file as *.asc, e.g. "martins-public-key.asc
  • import this file into your e-mail-client

Now you can send me an encrypted e-mail. Please send me your public key in the attatchment of your e-mail.

E-mail Encryption and Smartphones

One of the best e-mail-clients for smartphones is K-9 Mail. You can manage multiple e-mail-accounts and together with OpenKeyChain you can generate Keys and encrypt your e-mails.

Both programs are available at Google Play Store. Simply search for "K-9 Mail" and "OpenKeyChain".

For further details visit the websites and read the documentation.