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Sending unencrypted confidential information via email isn’t a good idea, but a survey from the American Bar Association (ABA) found that 64 percent of lawyers don’t use any method to encrypt or secure the confidential or privileged information that they send their clients.
Why not? Email encryption requires both sender and receiver of the email to agree on the method of the encryption and to have exchanged keys so that the messages can be sent and read. In most cases, the email clients of the encrypted mail need to be the same. For most people, the hassle to set up trusted encrypted email with someone else is too big and the risk in sending the email seems small.
Microsoft and Google are now trying to take on the problem of more secure email. Google is planning a confidential mode in gmail to be made available soon. With confidential mode it’s possible to create an SMS passcode that can be used to protect the email. Expirations can be set on the email too so that the email will vanish after a specified time. There will also be restrictions on copy, download, forward and print functions.
Microsoft’s Outlook.com is also adding features for email security. Encryption is one of them. Users will be prompted when it appears sensitive information like social security numbers appear in the body of the email. Outlook will allow users to decide whether they want to restrict the forwarding and copying of certain emails that they send.