Protect your online ID Encrypting emails

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This article, Protect your online ID, was last updated on 23 July 2008 and is now out of date and held in our online archive for reference. Explore our latest Technology articles.

Encrypt emails

Encrypt emails which contain sensitive information

Should I encrypt my emails?

We'd strongly advise against sending sensitive data such as your bank or credit card bank details via email. 

However, if you do need to get something to somebody halfway round the world in a hurry, it’s possible to encrypt data to help to keep it safe in transit.

Outlook Express includes an encryption feature (Tools > Options > Security), but it’s pretty fiddly to use and requires verifying your recipients’ digital identities before you can exchange encrypted emails with them. See Microsoft Support for more details.

Compression utilities, such as Winzip or WinRAR, also offer the option to encrypt files. 

You could include the sensitive information in a zipped, encrypted Word document attachment rather than in the email itself.

Remember that the person you're emailing the encrypted file to will need to know the password in order to decrypt it at the other end. 

Under no circumstances should you put the password in the email, as this would defeat the purpose of sending them an encrypted email.