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I want to send a payroll file to banks by secure e-mail. I don't have any background about secure e-mail, I searched in google and found many result, please can you offer me any advice?

more details :- Our major concern is the secutiry of the payroll file itself (attached by email), the email body can be plain. as for the client we need to find the proper command line client that can support our selected model of secure email.

and i don't care about the other side "bank" what it use ... because if the bank need any software installation or configuration i will go to bank and do it

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3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Use PGP/MIME. GPG is a free PGP clone which is just as secure, is available on Windows/Mac/Unix/Linux/Sun, AND is command-line based.

The Bank's email server needs to have a special mailbox (defined in /etc/aliases) which only accepts email from you, and pipes your email through a script which detaches, decrypts and processes your attachment.

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Thank you JeffG .... after i read your answer i on google about PGP/MIME ... and i found other one called (S/MIME ) and ( Open PGP ) ... i dont have any background on this subject so how i can know which is better ???? –  Mohammad AL-Rawabdeh Mar 1 '11 at 22:19
    
IMHO One isn't better than the other. They are both different. S/MIME requires a Third party Certificate Authority (CA) like (e.g. Verisign, or Thawte). Using S/MIME might be easier for people who email other people because the trusted third-party CA can vouch for the authenticity of the S/MIME certificates. This is different than PGP (or GPG) where you have to manually check the 'fingerprints' of others' public keys (just once) in an out-of-band way. If you are setting up an automated system to email the file to, then GPG will probably be easier. –  JeffG Mar 1 '11 at 22:32
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With the greatest of respect, if you don't understand how any of these work at all then none of them are better - transmitting payroll data over a system you don't completely understand is a recipe for disaster. –  RobM Mar 1 '11 at 22:33
    
One advantage of S/MIME over GPG is that S/MIME is built-in to some mail clients (Outlook, and others). –  Zoredache Mar 1 '11 at 22:37
    
I guess I'm assuming that the Payroll file is to be processed by some program (Electronic Data Interchange). If the file is meant to be read my a human, than S/MIME might be easier to use than GPG, however both you and the bank will need an S/MIME certificate. This is because (for some reason) every email user agent I have ever used will not allow me to encrypt messages with S/MIME to someone, unless I also have a valid S/MIME certificate. –  JeffG Mar 1 '11 at 22:46
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The question doesn't seem quite specific enough.

What does your processor support? You need to do something they can decrypt (or are willing to decrypt).

Is there a secure channel to transfer it?

Can you just use PGP? Again, the people doing the processing have to use it too.

Are you trying to encrypt the transfer of the file? The contents of your email only? Both?

What email system are you using? What client? What is your vendor using that has to process it?

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Some banks support S/MIME, but he'd have to contact them to find out. –  Chris S Mar 1 '11 at 17:40
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I distrust mimes. They're just so creepy, always stuck in that little box... –  Bart Silverstrim Mar 1 '11 at 18:01
    
@Bart: That made me laugh. thx. –  joeqwerty Mar 1 '11 at 18:14
    
Our major concern is the secutiry of the payroll file itself, the email body can be plain. as for the client we need to find the proper command line client that can support our selected model of secure email. and i don't care about the other side "bank" what it use ... because if the bank need any software installation or configuration i will go to bank and do it –  Mohammad AL-Rawabdeh Mar 1 '11 at 21:45
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Um...where are you located? Because if your bank lets anyone come in and install software on their critical processing systems, I don't want to have my finances within a 1000ms pingtime of their network. –  Bart Silverstrim Mar 1 '11 at 22:26
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E-mail as a transport is not secure: the content of your message will be passed in plaintext through many systems before it reaches its destination. You can encrypt the content of your message ahead of time, but you will need to work with your recipient to set up a key-exchange system to provide for decryption of the messages. The poster above who mentions PGP is absolutely right; it's probably your best solution for encrypting the message text.

Please consider whether e-mail, with its inherent lack of guaranteed delivery and secure transmission, is really your best transport option here. Can your recipient support an SCP/sftp connection?

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Banks would more likely support SSL or FTPS rather than SSH/SFTP access would prove to much of a hassle. –  David Rickman Mar 1 '11 at 21:52
    
I have seen payroll information delivered back and forth between large enterprises and major banks via scp/sftp; one's as easy as another. –  Jeff Albert Mar 2 '11 at 0:27
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