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Using thawte free personal email certificates with your mac mail

I found this great link on how to set up a thawte free personal email certificate on your mac, so that you can sign your mail (so people are sure it’s coming from you) or even encrypt it.

The article describing the process is from ‘macdevcenter’ and is here. It was written in 2003 but the general steps are still the same. For a short’n sweet recap read on, else read the article for a complete and very thorough explanation of what is being described here below.

  1. Go to and in the products drop-down list, you can select free personal email certificate
  2. Create your user id and password, supply your emails.
  3. Create your certificate – I used Firefox and selected the certificate for netscape, this worked just fine and was imported automatically into my Firefox (you might have to wait a while for the certificate to be created, I was notified by email).
  4. Via your Firefox preferences, Advanced, export the certificate to your desktop (no need to change settings) – you do need to supply a password for this encrypted backup.
  5. Double-click on the certificate to import it in your Mac OS X key chain. The article suggested using a different key chain file than the one Mac OS X normally uses. This was not a problem.
  6. Relaunch your Mail client and notice the new icon in the top right corner – this means that your mails will be signed now. If you don’t want them to be signed, click on it and the check mark will become a cross. Click it once more to activate it again.
  7. If you want to send encrypted emails, you need the public key of the person you will send it to. The easiest way is for them to send you a signed mail – this contains their public key, and mac Mail will auto-import so it becomes available for use. Same goes for people wanting to send encrypted mails to you, you first need to send them a signed message.
  8. That’s it !
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