Dear Black Bag Confidential Reader,
Today, I’d like to share with you a simple, secure and free way to encrypt any email that contains sensitive information.
Even though they probably should be more careful, people send confidential information through email all the time. Perhaps their Social Security number or credit card information. Or maybe just a conversation they don’t want anyone else to read.
When sending these types of communications, some people try to be clever by breaking up the email into two parts. In other words, they might send the first half of their Social Security number in one email and the second half in another.
I don’t think I need to explain why this isn’t a very secure method.
The procedure I’m going to show you today uses the first (and only) publicly accessible cipher approved by the NSA. This type of encryption is so secure, it is used and approved by the U.S. government for sending sensitive material and certain classified documents.
It’s a specification for the encryption of electronic data called AES, which stands for Advanced Encryption Standard. The algorithm for AES encryption was developed by two Belgian cryptographers, Joan Daemen and Vincent Rijmen.
Without delving too far into the details of how AES works, I’ll just say that the design principle is based on a combination of substitution and permutation, which serves to confuse and diffuse the data you want to send.
Now let me show you how easy it is to encrypt an email with AES.
Let’s say you want to send the following message to a business associate:
Jim, go ahead and use my credit card. It’s an AmEx, the number is 1230494884, the expiration date is 4/19 and the security code is 9270. Also, if you need my Social, it’s 220-10-8843. Thanks, Tom.
First, go to www.aesencryption.net. At the top of the page, you’ll see an empty text box. Copy and paste the message you want to encrypt into the box. After you paste your message into the box, you’ll need to choose a keyword and enter it in the smaller text box below your message where it says “Key of the encryption.”
The person to whom you’re sending the email must know the keyword to be able to decrypt your message. You could always share this information verbally over the phone or in person.
Once you’ve input your message and the keyword, click on the red “Encrypt” button. Your message will turn into a bunch of gibberish that you can copy and paste into the email you want to send.
For instance, the message above to our business associate Jim ends up looking like this:
To decrypt the above message, the recipient would go to the same website (www.aesencryption.net) and paste the encrypted message in the same text box at the top of the page. Then they would type in the secret keyword in the smaller box underneath and click on the black “Decrypt” button.
Now they can read the “gibberish” that you emailed to them.
If this sounds confusing, I highly recommend visiting www.aesencryption.net to see just how easy this is. It literally takes less than 10 seconds to encrypt a message.
So the next time you need to send important or sensitive information via email, consider using this method to encrypt it. It’s well worth the few extra seconds it takes to protect your personal information.