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Email encryption refers to an encryption and authentication mechanism of an email message to prevent the contents from being read by an unauthorized recipient. Email encryption methodology largely depends on public key cryptography wherein users publish a public key that can be used by others to encrypt messages.All this while keeping a secret private key to decrypt messages or to sign and digitally encrypt messages they send.
Email encryption hides the email content from eavesdroppers by encrypting it into an unreadable form. Emails can be encrypted and decrypted by means of a digital signature mechanism that uses public and private keys. The public key is shared with everyone while the private key is kept private.
Following are some commonly used email encryption protocols: