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how to secure pop3 and imap email by using tls ssl security for your email account

How to Secure POP3 and IMAP Using SSL/TLS?

Email security has become more vital than ever with rising phishing and spamming threats. Email is the most frequently used medium for communicating sensitive information personally and professionally. Encryption protocols are essential to protect small and medium businesses from potential email-based attacks.

What are SSL and TSL?

SSL or Secure Socket Layer is a standard technology for maintaining a secured internet connection and safeguarding data transfer between two parties. It prevents any third party to read or modify your personal data over an email exchange. It encrypts the data by scrambling data in transit.

TLS Transport Layer Security is an updated, more secure version of SSL. Even though SSL has been deprecated after introducing TSL, it is still used with its successor. In fact, these terms are used interchangeably, and TLS is often referred to as SSL. You will also notice the term SSL/TLS in everyday practice.

Why Should You Use an SSL/TLS Certificate for Your Mail Server?

SSL/TLS certificate encrypts the email communication and verifies the sender’s email server. Without an SSL certificate, the email between a server and a user flows unscrambled and in plain text. Meaning, it’s open for anyone intercepting the channel.

Additionally, an attacker can imitate the server and receive all the emails instead as there is no verification process in the communication. The absence of an SSL certificate also raises the possibility of a Man-in-the-middle attack where an attacker can cause a data breach in a company. SSL certificate allows you to securely log in to your email and encrypt the data in transition to prevent data leaks.

Benefits of using SSL protocol for email server:

  • Allows encrypted email exchange without interruption
  • Verifies the source of the message and prevents spamming
  • Allows Digitally Signed, highly-authenticated messages to be added before encoding the message
  • Safe and secure communication using SSL protocol
  • Maintains the privacy aspect of the sender and receiver

How to set up IMAP or POP3 with SSL in Thunderbird

To set up IMAP and POP3 with SSL in Thunderbird (Thunderbird 52.0 for this article), you’ll need the following –

  • Access to your email software
  • Your Incoming (POP3/IMAP) server name (provided in your Welcome email)
  • Your Outgoing (SMTP) server name (provided in your Welcome email)

Step 1: Go to the Tools menu and click on the Account Settings

Step 2: In the Account Setting window, click on the Account Actions menu and select Add Account from the drop-down menu

Step 3: In the My Account Setup window that appears after the last step, enter your name, the email address, and the password. Click Continue.

Step 4: Thunderbird will automatically find your email settings from its email server database. If  Thunderbird fails to locate your email settings automatically, enter the following information:

  • Email address
  • Incoming (POP3 or IMAP) server name
  • Outgoing (SMTP) server name

Step 5: Set the following parameters in the Incoming fields:

  • Select IMAP or POP3 from the first drop-down menu
  • In the Server Hostname field, enter your incoming server name
  • In the Port drop-down menu, select 993 for IMAP and 995 for POP3
  • Set the SSL field to SSL/TLS
  • Set the Authentication field to Autodetect

Step 6: Set the following parameters in the Outgoing fields:

  • Enter your outgoing server name in the Server Hostname field
  • In the Port drop-down menu, select 465
  • Set the SSL field to SSL/TLS
  • Set the Authentication field to Autodetect

Step 7: In the Mail Account Setup window, select the Re-Test button. Thunderbird will verify your settings. If any problem occurs, recheck your settings from the instructions above or contact Technical Support for assistance.

Step 8: Once the re-test is successful, select Done. Your email has been created and set up to use SSL encryption.

How to set up a POP3 or IMAP with Samsung Email

To set up POP3 and IMAP with SSL using Samsung Email, you’ll need the following –

  • Samsung email app
  • Your Incoming (POP3/IMAP) server name (provided in your Welcome email)
  • Your Outgoing (SMTP) server name (provided in your Welcome email)

Step 1: Open the App drawer and enter the Email application

Step 2: From the menu button, go to Settings and Add Account. Select Other from the account options.

Step 3: Enter your email address and password and click on manual setup

Step 4: Select IMAP or POP3 account from the options

Step 5: Fill in your email address and password in the corresponding fields. In the IMAP or POP3 server field, enter your incoming server name. Set the security type to SSL (Accept all certificates). Set the port number 993 for IMAP and 995 for POP3

Step 6: Scroll down and fill in the outgoing SMTP server settings. Fill in the SMTP outgoing server name, set the port at 465, and security type SSL (Accept all certificates)

Step 7: Click on Sign in. If the process is successful, you will be sent to your email inbox

To maintain your email security and protect your personal information, you need to use robust encryption protocol and other safety measures. However, suppose spammers gain access to your email address. In that case, your email security is still at risk even after using an encryption tool such as SSL/TSL, as they can gain access to your personal information using phishing attacks. So, you need to make sure your email address does not exist anywhere on the web.

To check your email address visibility, go to Sniff Email — an online platform dedicated to finding out if your email address exists on the Internet. Enter your email address in the search field and click fetch to find out if your email address exists on the web within a few seconds. Based on the results, you can take appropriate action to remove it.

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