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Secure Web & Email: SSL & TLS
SSL and TLS provide three security measures:
- Client authentication: Ensures that the client can uniquely identify the server, and can verify that data transfer will be secure.
- Data encryption: The data is scrambled using complex encryption algorithms, so that even if it is intercepted en route it cannot be deciphered.
- Data integrity checks: Verifies that there has been no alteration of the data during transit.
SSL encrypts messages/attachments, but only in transport between SSL/TLS enabled mail servers. So, your SSL email will be secure between your laptop or smartphone and Yale's email servers, but if the message then travels outside the Yale environment to unsecured (non-SSL) email systems (like a Gmail address, for instance), your message is no longer secure and is not protected by SSL.
PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) encrypts messages and attachments before they're sent, and the PGP-protected messages are secure anywhere in transit. PGP-protected messages must be unencrypted by the recipient of the message, using a password. This method is much more secure, but at some cost in time and convenience. Software to support PGP encryption is available from the ITS Software Library.