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How do I digitally sign or encrypt an email message?



Outlook 2007

These instructions assume that the certificate is already installed into Windows (Internet Explorer) on the same computer.

Configure Outlook with a default certificate

  1. In Outlook 2007 go to 'Tools' choose 'TrustCenter' and then 'Email Security'
  2. In the "Encrypted e-mail" section, click the 'Settings' button.
  3. Define the following settings:
    • Security Settings name (This can be named anything you would like)
    • Cryptographic Fromat = S/MIME
    • Check the box "Default Security Setting for this cryptographic message format"
    • Check the box "Default Security Setting for all cryptographic messages"
  4. Under the "Certificates and Algorithms" section, click on 'Choose'. Next to the "Signing Certificate"
  5. Select the certificate and click 'OK'
  6. (Optional) Under the "Certificates and Algorithms" section, click on 'Choose'. Next to the "Encryption Certificate"
  7. Select the certificate and click 'OK'
  8. After both the Signing and Encryption certificate fields have been populated, click on 'OK' to apply the settings.

Choose to sign and/ or encrypt individual emails

Within the email message, click the sign or encrypt button. At the top of the page.

  1. Signing:
  2. Encryption
    • Digitally signing an email ensures the recipient that the email has been sent from a specific email address and the message has not been altered. Encrypting emails will prevent anybody from viewing the message besides the recipient with the corresponding certificate.

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Outlook 2003

These instructions assume that the certificate is already installed into Windows (Internet Explorer) on the same computer.

Configure Outlook with a default certificate

  1. In Outlook 2003 go to 'Tools', 'Options', 'Security'
  2. Check "Send Clear Text Signed messages when sending signed messages".
  3. Click the 'Settings' button next to the "Default Setting:" dropdown box
  4. Click 'New', and enter a short description (or name) into the "Security Settings Name:" box.
  5. Next to the "Signing Certificate" entry, click 'Choose', select your certificate, and click 'OK'.
  6. Next to the "Encryption Certificate" entry, if it did not automatically populate a certificate in there, then click 'Choose', select your certificate, and click 'OK'.
  7. Click 'OK' to close this window, and 'OK' again, to close the "Options" window.

(Optional) Configure Outlook to sign and/ or encrypt every message

If you would like Outlook to digitally sign and/ or encrypt every email message sent, follow these steps. Please note that this is not necessary to do, as you can choose to sign and/ or encrypt each message individually.

  1. In Outlook 2003 go to 'Tools', 'Options', 'Security'
  2. If you want to digitally sign all email messages, put a check-mark next to "Add digital signature to outgoing messages".
  3. If you want to digitally encrypt all email messages, put a check-mark next to "Encrypt contents and attachments for outgoing messages".
    • Note: to encrypt an email, you must have a copy of the recipient's digital certificate (but not private key)

Choose to sign and/ or encrypt individual emails

Here is how to select an individual email message to be digitally signed and/ or encrypted.

  1. Within the email message, click the 'Options' button.
  2. Click the 'Security Settings' button.
  3. If you want to digitally sign the email, put a check-mark next to "Add digital signature to this message".
  4. If you want to digitally encrypt the email, put a check-mark next to "Encrypt message contents and attachments".
    • Note: to encrypt an email, you must have a copy of the recipient's digital certificate (but not private key)
  5. Click 'OK', then click 'Close'.

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Outlook Express 6

These instructions assume that the certificate is already installed into Windows (Internet Explorer) on the same computer.

Configure Outlook Express with a default certificate

  1. Within Outlook Express, click on the 'Tools' menu, and choose 'Accounts'.
  2. Select the 'Mail' tab at the top and select the correct account, then click on 'Properties' to the right.
  3. Select the 'Security' tab at the top.
  4. You will see two sections: "Signing certificate" and "Encryption certificate". Click on the 'select button to the right of each section and select the certificate that corresponds to the email address that you have set up in Outlook Express 6. (Note: The email address in the certificate must match the email address that is set up in the Outlook Express 6 account).
  5. Click 'OK', then click 'Close'.

(Optional) Configure Outlook to sign and/ or encrypt every message

If you would like Outlook Express to digitally sign and/ or encrypt every email message sent, follow these steps. Please note that this is not necessary to do, as you can choose to sign and/ or encrypt each message individually.

  1. Within Outlook Express, click on the 'Tools' menu, and choose 'Options'.
  2. Click the 'Security' tab.
  3. If you want to digitally sign all email messages, put a check-mark next to "Digitally sign all outgoing messages".
  4. If you want to digitally encrypt all email messages, put a check-mark next to "Encrypt contents and attachments for all outgoing messages".
    • Note: to encrypt an email, you must have a copy of the recipient's digital certificate (but not private key)

Choose to sign and/ or encrypt individual emails

Here is how to select an individual email message to be digitally signed and/ or encrypted.

  1. Within the email message, there are buttons at the top for signing and encrypting. Those selections will apply to only this message.
    • Note: to encrypt an email, you must have a copy of the recipient's digital certificate (but not private key)
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Mozilla Thunderbird

Import certificate into Thunderbird

Thunderbird has it's own certificate storage mechanism, that (at the time of our testing) is independent of certificate storages in Windows or other Mozilla products.

Please note that you will need to have backed up your certificate to a file beforehand. If you need assistance with that process, please visit our 'Backup/Export a certificate' page.

  1. Within Thunderbird, click on 'Tools, then 'Options.
  2. Click on the 'Privacy' section, then the 'Security' tab.
  3. Click the 'View Certificates' button, then click on the 'Import' button.
  4. Locate the backup file for your certificate, and click 'Open'.
  5. You will be asked to enter the certificate backup password, and click 'OK'. This is the password you chose when exporting/ backing-up the certificate.
  6. Click 'OK' to close the "Certificate Manager" screen, and 'OK' again to close the "Options" window.

Configure Thunderbird with a default certificate

  1. Within Thunderbird, click on 'Tools', then 'Account Settings'.
  2. Under your email account heading (you may need to expand it), click on 'Security'
  3. Next to the box for "Use this certificate to digitally sign messages you send:", click 'Select'.
  4. Choose the correct digital certificate to use.
    • Note that the email address in your email account should match the address in the certificate.
  5. Next to the box for "Use this certificate to encrypt & decrypt messages sent to you:", click 'Select'.
  6. Choose the correct digital certificate to use. (same note as above)
  7. Click 'OK' to finish and save these settings.

(Optional) Configure Thunderbird to sign and/ or encrypt every message

If you would like Thunderbird to digitally sign and/ or encrypt every email message sent, follow these steps. Please note that this is not necessary to do, as you can choose to sign and/ or encrypt each message individually.

  1. Within Thunderbird, click on 'Tools', then 'Account Settings'.
  2. Under your email account heading (you may need to expand it), click on 'Security'
  3. If you want to digitally sign all email messages, under "Digital Signing", place a check in the box titled 'Digitally sign messages (by default)'
  4. If you want to digitally encrypt all email messages, under "Encryption', make sure the option 'Required' has been selected
    • Note: to encrypt an email, you must have a copy of the recipient's digital certificate (but not private key)
  5. Click 'OK' to finish and save these settings.

Choose to sign and/ or encrypt individual emails

  1. Within the email message, click the drop-down arrow next to 'Security'.
  2. If you want to digitally sign this message, select 'Digitally Sign This Message'.
  3. If you want to encrypt this message, select 'Encrypt This Message'.
    • Note: to encrypt an email, you must have a copy of the recipient's digital certificate (but not private key)
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