What is a digital ID in an email message?

You use digital IDs to prove your identity and encrypt text when sending email messages. This permits your recipients to determine that the message was actually sent by you and keeps your conversation private.

When no encryption is used, Digital IDs which are also called digital certificates, allow recipients to verify that an email was actually sent by you. This is useful because it’s easy to forge email return addresses. Also, when traveling across the Internet, standard email messages are the digital equivalent of postcards—they can be read, or even altered, along the way. When Digital IDs are used to encrypt messages apart from hiding the message content, they can provide an indication whether a message has been altered in transit to the recipient.

In many businesses, your system administrator will provide you with a digital ID. For personal use, you’ll need to get a digital ID from a certification authority (an organization or company that issues digital IDs).