Secure Email – A Usability Study

10/12/2021 ∙ by Adrian Reuter, et al. ∙ 0

Several end-to-end encryption technologies for emails such as PGP and S/MIME exist since decades. However, end-to-end encryption is barely applied. To understand why users hesitate to secure their email communication and which usability issues they face with PGP, S/MIME as well as with pEp (Pretty Easy Privacy), a fairly new technology, we conducted an online survey and user testing. We found that more than 60 existence of such encryption technologies and never tried to use one. We observed that above all, users are overwhelmed with the management of public keys and struggle with the setup of encryption technology in their mail software. Even though users struggle to put email encryption into practice, we experienced roughly the same number of users being aware of the importance of email encryption. Particularly, we found that users are very concerned about identity theft, as 78 email in their name.

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