News, tips, advice, support for Windows, Office, PCs & more. Tech help. No bull. We're community supported by donations from our Plus Members, and proud of it
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon
  • Encrypted Outlook 2010 PST file

    Posted on MarkAtHome Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Microsoft Office by version Encrypted Outlook 2010 PST file

    This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  mn– 3 months ago.

    • Author
      Posts
    • #1709947 Reply

      MarkAtHome
      AskWoody Plus

      Can an encrypted Outlook 2010 PST file be accessed if physically removed from the PC that originally encrypted the file?

    • #1712842 Reply

      Berton
      AskWoody_MVP

      Based on other types of encryption I’d say No as the key for decrypting a file usually stays on the computer unless the encrypting program has an option for saving the information to another location.  But I’ve been lucky? in not having to work with an encrypted Outlook file, either PST or OST.

      Before you wonder "Am I doing things right," ask "Am I doing the right things?"
      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #1714369 Reply

        mn–
        AskWoody Lounger

        Quite a few actually use a “password” as the encryption key actually… or part of one.

        Now, Outlook has at least a couple of different ways to encrypt PST files, only one of which asks for a password on startup…

        For the “Low Security” / “Compressible Encryption” version, the key is by default only in your keychain. However the algorithm is only supposed to be “Notepad-proof” so likely decryptable without the key too, with some effory.

        For the “High Security” version, you do get password prompts, but I’m not sure if this also uses an on-disk key. Even the “Outlook High Security” is supposedly weaker than BitLocker even for just the mail contents though…

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1716407 Reply

      MarkAtHome
      AskWoody Plus

      FWIW, Berton and mn-, I am envisioning a scenario where either the PST file, itself, is copied from a PC’s hard disk to a portable storage device or the PC’s hard disk, containing the PST, is removed from the PC. In either case, I would want the PST to remain secure.

    • #1716675 Reply

      Berton
      AskWoody_MVP

      It should remain secure but the downside is the possibility it may also be secure against the owner of the file after moving.

      Before you wonder "Am I doing things right," ask "Am I doing the right things?"
      • #1718389 Reply

        mn–
        AskWoody Lounger

        It should remain secure but the downside is the possibility it may also be secure against the owner of the file after moving.

        Actually… the general consensus is that neither of Outlook’s builtin methods is sufficiently secure for much anything except casual poking.

        Whole HDD encryption is a solved problem though, there are multiple solutions that are good enough – BitLocker, or VeraCrypt, or… but this doesn’t help if the computer is left running, unlocked and unattended, and someone comes and copies the PST file.

        Anything beyond that which makes the PST secure against copying to another device, taking to a hacker lab and then decrypting it there, would also prevent opening it with Outlook.

        And that’s pretty much by definition, as I understand with Outlook 2010 default settings (by default automatically fetch and render images from at least Rich Text mail, possibly also HTML), it at least used to be possible to craft a malicious message so that the act of displaying it for reading it will send any file (by pathname) you could read, to a server somewhere on the ‘net…?
        Was that completely fixed at any point?

        So, encrypt whole HDD with one of the good tools, and don’t leave the system running unlocked and unattended, and also lock down Outlook.

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

    Reply To: Encrypted Outlook 2010 PST file

    You can use BBCodes to format your content.
    Your account can't use Advanced BBCodes, they will be stripped before saving.