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How to SECURE your e-mails from HACKERS

Last updated on: February 20, 2013 18:23 IST

How to SECURE your e-mails from HACKERS

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Gourav Jain

Simple tips to secure your e-mails and important documents from internet hackers.

The lives of human beings are more intertwined than ever with the web, which means we tend to use the medium to store and share a lot of our important information. As with anything that concerns the web, this information too is not completely secured against theft, hacking or malware.

The best bet here lies in adopting encryption for all your documents, photos and even e-mails that traverse the web. Here's how...

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E-mail encryption

Your e-mails need to be encrypted if they carry any sensitive information. Outlook is one of the better and more popular offline e-mail clients that offer e-mail encryption.

However, encrypting in Outlook is not based on a password.

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Instead, anyone wishing to access an Outlook encrypted e-mail needs to possess a digital certificate, which automatically decrypts and encrypts any message.

Two people sharing an encrypted e-mail will need to share this digital certificate. Although this might look complicated, the entire process does not take more than a few seconds. Microsoft;s website features a step-by-step guide on setting up Outlook e-mail encryption.

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However, encrypting e-mails is different in case you are using a cloud based e-mail client like Gmail. Reputed clients like Gmail transfer all your mails through the HTTPS protocol, which ensures that unauthorised interception is made almost impossible.

The only risk to your e-mail's safety arises in the form of someone gaining unauthorised access to your account password. So make sure to design a good password and also try to use Gmail's inbuilt two-step process for authentication.

A browser based encrypting application is ideal if you want no else except the recipient to read the e-mail you've sent.

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Encrypting different documents

Both 2010 and 2013 versions of Microsoft's Office allow users to encrypt any Excel, PowerPoint or Word file. The method for doing so is similar across all three file formats.

Say you need to encrypt a Word file, start by clicking on the 'File' option and select the 'Info' tab.

Now click the option that reads 'Protect Document'.

Next, click on 'Encrypt with Password' and after you assign a password, the encryption is performed.

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Any person wishing to access the said file would need to possess the password assigned by you during the encryption. However, make sure you share the password with the recipient through a different channel altogether.

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Encrypting an important PDF file is also pretty straightforward with Adobe's Acrobat X Pro application.

Once you are ready to send the PDF just click on the 'Tools' option on the right upper side.

Here you need to go into the 'Protection' option where you will find the 'Encrypt' button.

You will see another option with the title 'Encrypt With Password', which you need to click.

The common factor across these encryption methods is to exchange the password in a secure manner.

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