Email Encryption Key Terms
Become educated on key concepts related to email encryptionBusinesses often send confidential and important information via email. To keep this information secure, many businesses opt to invest in email encryption options. Email encryption works to keep messages from being intercepted and read by parties to which the email was not addressed. There are many key terms and concepts related to the industry of email encryption. In order to properly utilize email encryption, you need to familiarize yourself and your staff with the most basic and popular of these key terms.
Public key cryptography
Asymmetric encryptionAlso known as public key encryption, asymmetric encryption uses two keys to secure the information in the email. The key used to encrypt the information can be copied, but the key used to decrypt the information cannot. Together, these two keys are referred to as the key pair of the asymmetric encryption process.
Symmetric encryptionUnlike asymmetric encryptions, which use two keys to encrypt email communication messages, symmetric encryption-or private key encryption-uses only one key. This key is used to encrypt and decrypt the messages being sent. Multiple copies of the key may be made and anyone who has the key can read the message.
Hash encryptionHash encryption is a one-way form of communication encryption. Once a message has been encrypted, it cannot be decrypted and translated. As a result, hash encryption is not used to secure the message in an email. Instead, it is used to verify the integrity of the communication.
Digital signatureA type of asymmetric cryptography, digital signatures are able to offer a sense of peace of mind and security to the recipient of an email that the email was sent to them by the claimed sender. These signatures act as the electronic equivalent of handwritten signatures. They are very difficult to forge.
Certification authorityThe Certification Authority is a third-party organization that issues digital certificates to its clients for purposes of email encryption. The organization can also issue public-private key pairs. It is charged with guaranteeing the individuals who receive the certificates are legitimate and who they claim to be. In many instances, this is accomplished through the Certification Authority's arrangement with a financial institution, which can provide addition identification information fundamental to this process.
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