Birkenwerder, 2013-09-05

Integrated solution facilitates the use of this particularly secure encryption technology for public authorities and companies

 Mentana-Claimsoft GmbH, a subsidiary of the listed company Francotyp-Postalia Holding AG, now offers its De-Mail customers optional end-to-end encryption. With this, De-Mail users can decide for themselves how they want to secure the digital mail they send.

In the past, De-Mail technology was on the receiving end of much criticism since it did not include end-to-end encryption. To begin with, it is of fundamental importance to understand that end-to-end encryption and a virus check, which De-Mails must undergo, are mutually exclusive. “Every De-Mail includes transport encryption as standard. This secures the channel the De-Mail passes through,” explains Axel Janhoff, Managing Director of Mentana-Claimsoft. “We, just like the other providers, make a copy of every De-Mail sent, which is briefly decrypted and scanned for viruses on our servers. If no viruses are found, the De-Mail moves on to the recipient’s inbox.” Providers make a copy because the original must remain untouched throughout the entire process. This copy is destroyed again immediately after the brief decryption procedure for the virus check.

Only the recipient has the key

However, end-to-end encryption sees the sender further encrypting the De-Mail and attachments themselves – beyond transport encryption – which can only be decrypted by the recipient. “This is interesting for customers that send particularly sensitive mail, such as social data, via De-Mail, for example,” Janhoff goes on to explain. “End-to-end encryption ensures that the De-Mail remains unreadable along the entire path from sender to recipient. However, this rules out the legally required virus check – of course, only the recipient has the key to open the De-Mail document. The user must decide whether they want a virus check or end-to-end encryption – the two do not go together.”

In principle, all users can now already add end-to-end encryption to every De-Mail by themselves. However, the procedures for doing this are relatively involved and technically complex, which means that it is comparatively rare for users to actually do so in practice. Mentana-Claimsoft is now making it easier for business customers in particular to use end-to-end encryption. Companies and public authorities that send their De-Mails via a Mentana-Claimsoft gateway that has been implemented have the option of setting up end-to-end encryption. The requirement for this is that both parties use a De-Mail gateway developed by Mentana-Claimsoft. “They have the opportunity to specially secure their De-Mails for their entire domain in this way,” explains Janhoff. “This is achieved by the administrator making a simple adjustment in the gateway’s web interface.”

De-Mail allows for secure, confidential and legally compliant digital communication in many scenarios. The Bundesrat’s adoption of the E-Government Act in June sees users of the technology – companies, public authorities and private persons – now able to complete many formalities in communications with public authorities electronically without the previously required signature on paper.