In our example, Alice wants to send an unencrypted e-mail to Bob. Once Alice clicks Send on your device, her email is sent to the Internet in plain text and sent from her provider's email server to Bob's provider's email server. From there, Bob's device downloads the email and Bob can read it on his computer. During each of these steps, Alice's email can be read by anyone involved, including the email service provider.
Still on Alice's device, her email is converted from plain text to an illegible string (represented by a red pad) and from there, as in the first example, sent from email server to email server before Bob can download the email to his device. Only on Bob's device can the email be decrypted and the unreadable strings converted back to plain text. Should the email be intercepted at any point during this process, the recipient would not be able to decipher the email because the text is only available as random strings.
While Alice encrypts her email, Bob's public key, which is open to the public, is used to make the plaintext illegible. Bob uses his private key to decrypt the email.
As already explained, to encrypt the recipient's public key is necessary, but how do you get the recipient's public key? In general, the owner of the private key (Bob) must send his public key to the sender (Alice) himself, so that the sender (Alice) can encrypt the e-mails. In current e-mail programs it is usually sufficient for Bob to send a signed e-mail to Alice.As this becomes more and more complicated with the number of recipients, the university uses the LDAP server. The LDAP server makes the user's public keys freely available so that encrypted e-mails can be sent without much effort. An instruction how to integrate the LDAP server into your own e-mail program can be found here https://wiki.in.tum.de/Informatik/Helpdesk/LdapZertifikate
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