Where possible you should endeavour to avoid emailing sensitive data. The best way to transmit sensitive data is through the University’s file server resource. If you do have a requirement to email sensitive data then it must be encrypted.
The simplest method is to create an encrypted archive (a .zip) containing the file and attach the encrypted archive to the email. The main advantages of this method are simplicity and that the software required for decryption is freely available.
The main consideration with this method is that the password for the archive must be passed to the recipient. This should be done by a medium other than email.
Most up to date archive software supports AES encryption and is compatible with each other. This means a .zip archive created with 7-Zip or iZip can be opened with WinZip, The Unarchiver, and comparable software. Compatibility is cross-platform between, for example, PC and Mac.
We recommend the free archivers 7-Zip (Windows) and iZip (Mac). Older products using the ZipCrypto algorithm should not be used as the encryption is weak. If a product does not specifically mention AES it should not be used
This article was published on Aug 8, 2011