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Use Smartcard and OpenPGP to Send Secure Email


This article shows you how to combine smart card with Enigmail to send secure email. Enigmail provides support for openPGP encryption and allows you to sign your messages digitally. Here we will encrypt the message with openPGP and sign the message with smart card, which is a much securer method to avoid the email being tampered in transmission process.



1)Download and Install Applet

After connecting the smart card reader, select “Cap File”, click “Download” to download the applet into card and click “Install” to install the applet ,then click “Select” to make this applet selected .

2)Get Generate

Here are two methods to get generate.

Method 1:

In the “Enigmail Key Management” window, select File→ Manage SmartCard , Enigmail will connect the card automatically and try to select OpenPGP applet.

If successful, “OpenPGP SmartCard Details” dialog box will pop up. You can select Smartcard → Edit Card Data to modify card information. Then select SmartCard → Generate Key to generate key.

In “Generate OpenPGP Key” dialog box, select the mail account that you want to protect. Set the passphrase and the key expiration date. Then click Generate Key button.

Using this method, it will be failed to generate key sometimes.

So we can use the second method to do this.

Method 2:

Use command line to generate key..

Start cmd, enter gnuPG directory. Type the command: gpg2.exe –gen-key , then follow the operations as the below figure shows and enter passphrase.

Please confirm the Passphrase again.

Then the key is generated successfully. You can use “verify” command to verify the passphrase and all the data.
You can also check the key information from “Enigmail Key Management” dialog box.


1.In the process of generating new key, you can follow the prompts to enter the admin PIN, the passphrase and the key expiration date, and so on.

2.You can use “gpg2.exe -help” to get all the commands in current status.such as in “Admin commands are allowed” status, the help command will displays the following commands.


1.Select Enigmail→Preferences to open the Enigmail Preferences dialog, and configure the option as following figure:

2.Select Options→ Account Settings… to open Account Setting dialog, and configure the option as following figure:

Send/Receive E-mail:

Then messages you send or receive will be encrypted and decrypted by the key your selected in above figure.

If Enigmail doesn't find the java card, it will give the prompt to insert the card.

Otherwise, you will not be able to send mail or cannot view the e-mail content.

2.combine_smartcard_with_enigmail_to_come_into_secure_e-mail.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/21 04:08 by JavaCardOS