Say Goodbye to Email Hacks and Spoofing – Implement S/MIME Certificate Email Security Now


Email may be convenient, but is it secure? Standard email protocols lack encryption, authentication and integrity checks. This leaves your messages vulnerable to interception, spoofing and tampering. Whether you are an individual protecting sensitive personal data or a business securing confidential company information, email security matters.

Enter S/MIME certificates – they utilize cutting edge cryptography to lock down your emails. Read on to learn how S/MIME certificates work and the immense benefits they offer.

What is S/MIME?

S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) is an open standard protocol to encrypt and digitally sign MIME data including email messages, documents, etc. It uses public key cryptography to provide:

      • Confidentiality – Messages are encrypted end-to-end and can only be decrypted by the intended recipient possessing the matching private key.
      • Authenticity – Digital signatures validate the identity of the sender so you know the email is really from the claimed sender.
      • Integrity – Any changes made to the contents invalidates the signature, proving the message was tampered with.
      • Non-repudiation – The digital signature provides undeniable mathematical proof that the sender transmitted the message.

S/MIME is built on the proven public key infrastructure (PKI) standards also used in SSL/TLS certificates for websites. It utilizes public-private key pairs for security:

      • Public key – Used to encrypt data and verify signatures. Shared openly.
      • Private key – Used to decrypt data and digitally sign messages. Kept secret.

The public key allows anyone to encrypt data to a user, but only their private key can decrypt it. For signing, the private key generates a unique signature verified by the public key.

Introducing S/MIME Certificates

S/MIME certificates issued by trusted Certificate Authorities (CAs) like CyberSSL contain the owner’s validated identity bound to their public key. The certificates link who you claim you are with the keys used for encrypting and signing messages.

By leveraging S/MIME certificates from reputed CAs, you can trust the identities of all parties involved in an email exchange. There are three classes of S/MIME certificates based on identity verification:

      • Domain Validation (DV) – CA validates control over the associated domain.
      • Organization Validation (OV) – CA verifies the legal identity of the organization.
      • Extended Validation (EV) – Highest standard where the CA rigorously vetts the legal identity and operational existence of an organization.

Higher levels like OV and EV involve more extensive verification and therefore offer more credibility. But DV S/MIME certificates provide a cost-effective entry point for most use cases.

Why Email Security Matters

Here are some key reasons proper email security is crucial:

      • Email hacking and account takeovers put messages at risk of exposure. Over 269 billion emails are sent daily presenting a large attack surface.
      • Phishing uses spoofed or compromised emails to infect devices, steal credentials and trigger financial fraud.
      • Failure to encrypt sensitive data like health records, financial information, company data etc. can lead to devastating data breaches.
      • Impersonation to spread malware, illegal content or defamatory messages under another’s identity. S/MIME signatures prevent spoofing.
      • Compliance obligations like HIPAA mandate encrypting protected health information (PHI) transmitted through email.
      • Lack of non-repudiation. The sender can deny sending an email without cryptographic proof provided by an S/MIME signature.
      • Email legal liability if sensitive data like trade secrets, HR records, customer information etc. gets exposed due to lack of encryption.

Clearly, email security is non-negotiable for individuals and organizations handling valuable data.

How S/MIME Secures Emails

Here’s how S/MIME certificates safeguard your emails:

    • Obtain S/MIME certificates from a reputed CA like CyberSSL – we offer certified options from Comodo, Sectigo, DigiCert, GlobalSign, etc.
    • Generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) with your public key and submit it to the CA.
    • The CA verifies your identity to issue a certificate containing your validated credentials bound to the public key.
    • Install the S/MIME certificate on all devices you use for email security.
    • Enable S/MIME in your email client settings and select the installed certificate.

Now messages you send can only be decrypted by recipients possessing the corresponding private key. And your digital signature authenticates to recipients that the email came from you.

Main Use Cases for S/MIME Certificates

Major use cases include:

      • Healthcare organizations securing PHI to comply with HIPAA email encryption rules.
      • Financial institutions encrypting customer data like bank statements, payment information, account numbers etc.
      • Legal firms encrypting attorney-client privileged communications.
      • Government agencies protecting classified data sent via email.
      • Businesses safeguarding trade secrets, intellectual property, HR records, customer data etc.

Basically any sensitive information that demands confidentiality, authenticity and integrity when sent over email can benefit from S/MIME protection.

Compatibility Considerations

To utilize S/MIME certificates, client systems need:

      • Supported OS like Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS and Android. Should be updated.
      • Email client with S/MIME protocol enabled like Outlook, Apple Mail, Thunderbird etc.
      • Root certificates installed for validation of certificate chains.
      • Access to private keys for decryption and signing capabilities.

Follow your CA’s S/MIME installation guides for specific steps to get set up. The CyberSSL expert team is also available 24/7 to assist with any questions or issues.

Major Benefits of S/MIME Email Security

Here are some of the biggest benefits S/MIME certificates deliver for your email security:

      • Encryption prevents unauthorized access to message contents during transmission. This safeguards against data breaches.
      • Digital signatures validate sender identities to prevent phishing and spoofing.
      • Compliance with data protection laws and regulations when handling sensitive information over email.
      • Tamper evidence ensures integrity – changes invalidate the signature proving modification.
      • Non-repudiation provides undeniable cryptographic proof of the email’s origin and delivery.
      • Peace of mind knowing your confidential communications remain private and authenticated.

S/MIME is a Battle-Tested Email Security Standard

S/MIME is an industry standard supported by decades of cryptographic research and real-world implementation. It is built on the proven X.509 PKI framework also used in SSL/TLS for website security. Billions of S/MIME protected emails are sent daily by individuals, governments and enterprises worldwide.

Some key properties make S/MIME a rock-solid email security protocol:

  • Open standard – Not controlled by any single vendor. Easily interoperable.
  • Mature protocol – First released in 1995. Has stood test of time with ongoing enhancements.
  • Rigorously analyzed – Withstood cryptanalytic scrutiny by researchers over 25+ years.
  • Real-world hardened – Battle-tested with over two decades of large-scale use.
  • Flexible crypto – Supports various symmetric and asymmetric ciphers.
  • Standardized certificates – Leverages universally trusted X.509 digital certificates.
  • Multi-platform support – Available across diverse desktop and mobile clients.

S/MIME is clearly the gold-standard for securing business-critical email communications with ironclad protection.

Why CyberSSL for S/MIME Certificates?

CyberSSL is a leading SSL/TLS certificate provider, also offering specialized S/MIME certificates for email encryption and signing.

Here are some key reasons to choose CyberSSL for your S/MIME certificate needs:

  • We offer S/MIME certificates from major CAs like Comodo, Sectigo, DigiCert, GlobalSign etc.
  • Our experts advise the ideal certificate tailored to your specific use case, platform and technical requirements.
  • We simplify procurement and deployment – from generating CSRs to verifying identities to installing the certificate.
  • Volume discounts provide the best value for large organizational deployments.
  • 24/7 customer support assists with any questions or troubleshooting before and after purchase.
  • Free trials allow testing S/MIME capabilities before purchase.
  • Seamless integration via API and modules for automated certificate lifecycle management.
  • Highest cryptographic standards including 2048-bit signatures and 256-bit AES encryption.
  • Support for diverse platforms like Outlook, Office 365, BlackBerry, Android and iOS devices.

To secure your sensitive emails with best-in-class S/MIME protection backed by expert guidance and support, purchase your S/MIME certificates from CyberSSL today


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