A digital certificate (a digital ID) is simply a key used to encrypt and decrypt emails.
Like with any key, it has to be created (and kept secure). Here is how to do it:

  1. Generate
  2. On a personal computer, request a certificate (Digital ID) from either

    • Comodo (free and recommended)
    • Start SSL (also free, but slightly more complicated to get it. Click on Sign-up, not Express Lane)
    • Actalis (free for personal use)
    • Symantec (free for 25 days, paid otherwise)
    • Certum (Test ID free for 90 days, paid otherwise)
    • GlobalSign (commercial only)
    • Entrust (commercial)
    • Trustwave (commercial)

    • By a personal computer we mean a desktop computer or a laptop with Windows, Mac or Linux. At the time of writing, it was not possible to request a certificate using a smartphone or a tablet
    • We recommend Internet Explorer on Windows, Safari on Mac and Firefox on Linux for this step.
    • Google Chrome and Chromium on Linux are known to have issues[1] with exporting certificates properly, so it’s better to avoid them, otherwise it simply may not work
    • It doesn’t matter which provider you choose – all of them offer very similar, trusted certificates
    • It is absolutely essential to collect the certificate with exactly same web browser as the one used to request it – it will not work otherwise
    • if key generation (or installation) fails with Internet Explorer, make sure that Protected Mode is disabled in Internet OptionsSecurity tab

  3. Backup
  4. This is an optional step, if you’re using

    Export the certificate to a file:
    (very important: with the private key)

    • from Google Chrome
    • from Internet Explorer
    • from Firefox
    • from Firefox – video (ignore import to Outlook, unless you actually use Outlook)
    • from Safari on Mac
      1. open Keychain Access
      2. click on certificates
      3. export your certificate and the private key – with a password
      4. save in documents

  5. Import
  6. Import your certificate to an email client

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