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How To Encrypt Mails With SSL Certificates (S/MIME)

Dec 16, 2011, 04:01 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Christian Schmalfeld)


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"S/MIME does not work in the direction you might think it does. You cannot send encrypted mails once you have got a valid and trusted certificate yourself - once you have that, you can receive encrypted mails if it was encrypted with your public key.

"S/MIME works as a paired-key-system with a public and a private key. Your public key has to be given to the ones that want to send encrypted mails to you, while you keep your private key that is able to decrypt those incoming mails. That means, if you want to send encrypted mails, the receiver has to use S/MIME as well and you need to know his or her public key to encrypt messages. To give someone your public key, it is only necessary to send him or her an email signed with your certificate.

"I perform this tutorial on a machine with Linux Mint 11 installed, so all commands that apply to that have to be altered depending on your distribution.

"The steps for importing certificates into Thunderbird are the same on Linux as they are on every other operating system. This means, these steps can equally be used on Windows or Mac."

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