This Article 
   
 Share 
   
 Bibliographic References 
   
 Add to: 
 
Digg
Furl
Spurl
Blink
Simpy
Google
Del.icio.us
Y!MyWeb
 
 Search 
   
Why Don't We Encrypt Our Email?
January/February 2009 (vol. 13 no. 1)
pp. 82-85
Stephen Farrell, Trinity College Dublin
Today, almost all the programs we use to send and receive email include support for strong security mechanisms that we can apply end-to-end. But we generally don't use those — why is that? In this article, the author briefly reviews the security features available in common mail user agents and considers what it is about those that causes us to almost universally ignore them.

1. E. Allman et al., DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) Signatures, IETF RFC 4871, May 2007; www.rfc-editor.org/rfcrfc4871.txt.
2. B. Ramsdell ed., Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME) Version 3.1 Message Specification, IETF RFC 3851 July 2004; www.ietf.org/rfcrfc3851.txt.
3. J. Callas et al., OpenPGP Message Format, IETF RFC 2440, Nov. 1998; www.ietf.org/rfcrfc2440.txt.
4. J. Linn, Privacy Enhancement for Internet Electronic Mail: Part I: Message Encryption and Authentication Procedures, IETF RFC 1421, Feb. 1993; http://dret.net/rfc-index/referenceRFC1421 .
5. R. Klein, "Internet-Based Patient-Physician Electronic Communication Applications: Patient Acceptance and Trust," e-Service J., vol. 5, no. 2, 2007, pp. 27–52.
6. Apu Kapadia, "A Case (Study) For Usability in Secure Email Communication," IEEE Security and Privacy, vol. 5, no. 2, 2007, pp. 80–84.
7. P. Resnick ed., Internet Message Format, IETF RFC 5322, Oct. 2008; www.ietf.org/rfcrfc5322.txt.
8. J. Klensin, Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, IETF RFC 5321, Oct. 2008; www.ietf.org/rfcrfc5321.txt.
9. A. Carzaniga and A.L. Wolf, "Content-Based Networking: A New Communication Infrastructure," LNCS 2538, Springer-Verlag, 2002, pp. 59–68.

Index Terms:
email security, usable security, encryption, security, practical security, mail user agents, MUA
Citation:
Stephen Farrell, "Why Don't We Encrypt Our Email?," IEEE Internet Computing, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 82-85, Jan.-Feb. 2009, doi:10.1109/MIC.2009.25
Usage of this product signifies your acceptance of the Terms of Use.