e-mail encryption with public key cryptography - whatâ€™s that?
In short: Itâ€™s all about protecting the contents of e-mails against unauthorised reading by a third party. If you send an e-mail unencrypted, you in theory allow lots of people that are between you and the recepient (network admins, employers ... ) to read your mail!
To avoid this, the contents have to be transformed in a way that only the intended recepient can undo this transformation. One method to achieve this is the so-called RSA-cryptography.
To make use of this you will need a key pair (consisting of one private and one public key).
One institution that issues such key pairs in the popular certificate format X.509 (which most mail programs understand natively) is the Thawte Web of Trust. To protect against fraud, they only put your name on the certificate once you have proven your identity at so-called â€śnotariesâ€ť.
I am such a notary, so if you want to be certified (free of charge), just drop me an e-mail. Unfortunately, we have to meet in person to complete the certification process.