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Email: Setting Up a Digital Email Certificate

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A digital certificate is an electronic "passport" that allows a computer application to identify a person as them self. Just like a passport, a digital certificate provides identifying information, is forgery resistant, and can be verified because it was issued by an official, trusted agency. The certificate contains the name of the certificate holder, a serial number, expiration dates, a copy of the certificate holder's public key (used for encrypting messages and digital signatures) and the digital signature of the certificate-issuing authority (CA) so that a recipient can verify that the certificate is real.

This document will walk through the acquisition and installation of personal email certificates in Outlook 2016.

  1. Send an email to Steve Ranis requesting a personal email certificate.
  2. An email will be sent to you from Certificate Services Manager.

    Follow the link included in the email and complete the form.
    NOTE: The PIN is used to install the certificate; the pass-phrase is used to revoke.
  3. Download the certificate.
  4. Click File in the upper left corner of Outlook.
  5. Select Options from the list.
  6. In the window that appears, click Trust Center in the list to the left.
  7. Click Trust Center Settings...
    trust center
  8. In the window that appears, click E-mail Security.
  9. Click the Import/Export... button.
    email security
  10. In the window that appears, click Browse...
  11. Locate and select your .cer file.
  12. In the Password field enter your PIN.
    NOTE: The 4-digit PIN specified during the certificate request process is used to install the certificate, and the pass-phrase is used to revoke the certificate should the situation arise.
  13. Click OK.
    import file
  14. Check the box next to Add digital signature to outgoing messages.
  15. Click Publish to GAI...
    digital signature
  16. Click Settings... to configure the certificate.
  17. In the window that appears, select SHA256 in the Hash Algorithm field, and select AES (256-bit) in the Encryption Algorithm field.
  18. Click OK.

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