How to password protect emails in Outlook or Outlook.com

How to password protect emails in Outlook and Outlook.com

With hacking, spyware, malware, and more, you can never be too safe to make sure that your messages are staying in the right hands. Here’s how to password protect emails in Outlook or Outlook.com.

  • On the Outlook App: Have a S/MIME certificate installed on your device. Then, check the trust center in settings to make sure you’ve configured your device and app for S/MIME encryption. You can then password protect your emails by composing the message as you normally would, and then click the Options tab. From there, choose Encrypt and then choose Encrypt with S/MIME.
  • On Outlook.com: Simply write your message as normal and click the encrypt button above the To: bar on the top of the user interface.

Applies to All Windows 10 Versions

Password protecting things is a must these days. With hacking, spyware, malware, and more, you can never be too safe to make sure that your messages are staying in the right hands. That’s why, in this guide, we will explain how you can password protect emails in Outlook or Outlook.com and keep your conversations private.

Types of password protection

Before getting into anything, well want to mention what password protecting your emails in Outlook actually does for you. When password protecting emails, the contents of the email are encrypted and changed from readable text to a cipher text. Only those who have the private key, which matches the public key that was used to encrypt the message can read it properly.

The Outlook app on MacOS and Windows 10 uses S/MIME encryption, and Office 365 Message Encryption. S/MIME is the most common type of encryption, and is the most accepted by other email clients. This is also the most complicated encryption type, and you’ll need to purchase or have a S/MIME certificate already configured on your computer by your IT admin to use it.

It is also worth noting that Outlook.com web app uses uses opportunistic Transport Layer Security (TLS) to encrypt the connection with a recipient’s email provider. With TLS, the message might not stay encrypted after the message reaches the recipient’s email provider. If you’re looking for the most secure password protection, the Outlook app is the way to go. But, if you’re looking for the most simple, the Outlook Web app is what you might want to use.

Password protecting emails on the Outlook app

To get started with password protecting your emails in the Outlook app, you’ll want to make sure that it is properly configured for password protection. You’ll also need to have a S/MIME certificate installed on your system. If you meet those requirements, you can proceed.

Start by opening Outlook 2016 or Outlook 2019 and clicking the File Ribbon. Once there, choose Options, followed by Trust Center Settings. From that page, you’ll want to click Email Security. You should then see an Encrypted email section. Be sure to choose Settings. From there, under Certificates and Algorithms, be sure to choose and select S/MIME and then click OK. 

Once the feature is enabled, you can encrypt your email. Simply compose and message as you normally would, and then click the Options tab. From there, choose Encrypt and then choose Encrypt with S/MIME.

Password protecting emails on Outlook.com

Now, for the easy part. Protecting emails on Outlook.com is quite the simple task. Unlike using the Outlook app, the web app simplifies things, and you don’t need any special certificates installed.

To encrypt messages on Outlook.com, all you need to do is simply write your message as normal and click the encrypt button above the To: bar on the top of the user interface. Once done, you can send your message as normal. Just be aware that Outlook.com uses opportunistic Transport Layer Security (TLS) to encrypt the connection with a recipient’s email provider. As we described before, this is a little less secure as TLS, the message might not stay encrypted after the message reaches the recipient’s email.

Other ways to stay secure online

Protecting your emails is just one way to stay secure online. With Microsoft 365 and Windows 10, you can stay protected in many different ways. You can password lock your files and folders in Windows 10, use Bitlocker, protect Office 365 documents, and more. We talked about that here, so feel free to check it out. And, keep it locked to OnMSFT for all your Microsoft 365 news and information.

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