Email security day
I got some reminder emails into tell me that my StartSSL certificates for three of my emails needed to be renewed. These certificates are free from this certification authority, but they only last for one year. If you want to pay you can make them last for longer. I haven’t found any need for paying as yet. You create the certificates through a process of validation of the email followed by certificate creation which is downloaded through your browser and added to your Keychain Access application on your Mac.
After I’ve got the certificate into the keychain I then exported out as a .P12 file and then send it to myself as an email. I do this so that I can open the email in the mail application on my iOS devices. All you need to do is to tap on the attached file in the email and follow the instructions to install the certificate on your iPhone or iPad. So if somebody sends you an email that has been encrypted with the certificate you’ll be able to read it on all of your devices.
SSL certificates versus using PGP/GPG
The first time you make one of these SSL certificates it seems like a complicated process. It’s not that complicated although I do have to remind myself each time I do it. Well I only have to do is once a year and my memory is not brilliant. Once you have the certificate installed on all of your devices is easier to use than PGP in some respects. All you need to do is to exchange emails with somebody else using the same system and forever after that your emails will be encrypted automatically. The emails are also decrypted by your email client automatically and the main thing to know is that these emails cannot be read by anyone else while they are in transit through the Internet.
I use both of these systems so people can encrypt email messages to me whichever of the systems are using. The advantage of using PGP is that you can use it to encrypt files and folders on your computer as well as for sending emails. The technology behind both of these email encryption systems are pretty similar so the thing to do is to use whichever one you find best for you.