Lots of people need to send private messages through using email, messages that no-one else should see. These type of messages can contain confidential information. If only there was a way of stopping people from seeing the private and important emails. Luckily there is, is called encrypted email. This means that the message you send turns into an unreadable code. Which is designed to keep the content of your email safe when it bounces around the web. As with anything to do with the internet, there are different types of encryption. The three main types are private key, public key and pass phrase.
Both people, form the sending and receiving line, share the same key. The sender will use this key to encrypt the message. Once the receiver has got the encrypted message, they will need to use the same key to be able to read the secret message. This can also work if there is a group of people, as long as everyone shares the same key. If someone else receives this email, they are unable to read the content, without supplying the same key.
Public key works a little differently to the private key. The sender will ask the receiver for their public key encryption, this will then convert the message into code. The code will bounce around the internet stopping anyone from reading it. The receiver can decrypt the code by using their private key. Your public key can be handed out as you wish but your private key needs to be kept safe. As this will allow you to open any encrypted messages sent to you.
Pass phrase is like a password. There needs to be at least 21 characters, which should have upper and lowercase letters as well as numbers. This works very similar to the private key, but a password can be put instead of the key.
Even though converting the message or email into code, will prevent other people reading it. It will not be impossible for someone who is a genius at computers, but will make it more difficult for them to access the content of the message.
Encrypted email is making sure that your emails are safe from anyone seeing them around the Internet. There are different ways in which to do this public key, private key and pass phrase. These three are the main types of encrypt, there are many more different types. This helps prevent the message being viewed but not impossible for someone to try decrypt the code.