Service Desk

Encrypt email with Proofpoint

Proofpoint is the College of Medicine Encryption system that is responsible for capturing and encrypting communication and transmitted data from our secured environment to outside sources. It is an automated system, triggered based on information types. Email will be encrypted if:

  • The Proofpoint server finds specific types of data in an outgoing email, or
  • [encrypt] is included as part of the email subject line.

Click any image for a full-size version.


The sender of an encrypted email will receive confirmation like the one below.


The recipient of an encrypted email will see the following notice:

Note: If you see red X icons in the browser, your email client is blocking images. These images are typically the logo or images of the sender's organization. You can display the images or ignore them without affecting your ability to read the message.

After clicking the attachment, follow the prompts as below:

  1. Select Open or Save.
  2. Press the button Click to read message.
  3. Enter the password associated with your email account in order to log in and read your secure message.

If you sign in, and the Login screen returns with a field that you can edit for your user name, it means Proofpoint Encryption found a record for you, but the email address is different—perhaps an email alias. Enter a different address to sign in. For example, a record for exists, but you entered

Registering (first time users)

If you have not registered for Proofpoint Encryption, you will be prompted to create an account. In the future, you will not be prompted to register (only to log in).

  1. Enter your first and last name.
  2. Select and confirm a password. Passwords must:
    • be 7-20 characters long;
    • contain at least one digit (0-9)
    • contain at least once symbol character, such as "!"
    • not include your username within the password
  3. Choose a password reset question and answer pair.

Forgot your password?

If Proofpoint Encryption is configured to allow you to reset your password, click the Forgot Password link. You will be prompted for your security question. Create a new password for your account.

Locked out?

If you try to enter an incorrect password several times, you may be locked out of Proofpoint Encryption. If this happens, you need to contact the sender's email administrator.

Replying or forwarding

Your ability to reply to or forward an encrypted message depends upon the sending organization's policies. If you do not see a Reply, Reply All, or Forward link, it is because the sender of the message cannot allow recipients to reply to or forward the message.

When you reply to a message, your reply will be sent securely.

Adding recipients

The ability to add or edit the recipient list when you reply to a message depends upon the sending organization's policies. The To and CC recipient fields will either be fixed so that you cannot change them, or you will be allowed to add or delete recipients from these fields. Separate multiple recipients with a comma.

When you forward a message, you can always edit the recipient list.

Note: The sender's organization has the option to restrict secure messages to specific domains. If this is the case, you will see an error message if you try to forward a secure message to a recipient that is not allowed to receive it.

Send me a copy

Proofpoint Encryption does not automatically place a copy of a secure message in your Sent folder. Click Send me a copy when you forward or reply to a secure message so that a copy will be sent to your address for your records.

Adding an Attachment to Encrypted Email

If you want to add an attachment to a message, click the Attach a file link. Navigate to the file you want to attach and then click the Add link. The name of the attached file displays in the dialog box. Click Upload when you are done adding attachments.

To delete an attachment from a message, click the X link to the right of the attachment.

Note: The (combined) attachments cannot exceed 15 MB in size.

Reading a secure message on a smartphone

Some smartphones cannot download files, and some smartphones modify HTML files. Since your secure message is sent to you as an HTML attachment, you may not be able to read it on your phone. If you have trouble reading your secure message, follow the instructions to forward the message to another server. You will then be able to download the message from the server to read it.


This section describes error messages and what they mean.

You authenticated successfully, but do not have permission to decrypt this message.
You do not have permission to decrypt this message. Or, the administrator has disabled your ability to decrypt the message. Contact your email administrator.

You authenticated successfully, but the decryption key for your message has been deleted.
The decryption key for this message has expired or has been deleted. Contact your email administrator.

There was a critical error processing your request. There may be a problem with the system or your request.
Proofpoint Encryption is temporarily unavailable. If this situation persists, contact your email administrator.

The message you are trying to read is corrupted and cannot be processed. Please contact the sender of the message.
The message is corrupted and cannot be decrypted. Contact the sender of the message.

The page you requested was not found. If you clicked a link to get here, click the Back button in your browser to return to the previous page.
The page you are trying to view in the browser is not available or does not exist. Click the Back button in your browser.

The username you requested has already been registered.
You have already authenticated with Proofpoint Encryption.

There was an error retrieving the key for your message. If this error persists, please contact your administrator.
The key server is temporarily unavailable. Try again later, and if you still cannot decrypt the message, contact your email administrator.

Your account has been disabled.
Your email administrator has disabled your account.

Other issues

Error with Large HTML Secure Messages
If your HTML message contains more than 500 KB of content, you may encounter a "Large Message Warning" error message. This limitation applies to Firefox 3.X or Internet Explorer browsers when you reply to the message or forward it. This limitation does not apply to plain text.

Intermittent Problem with Replying to or Forwarding Secure Messages
If Proofpoint Encryption hangs when you try to compose a message and click the Reply, Reply All, or Forward links, click Cancel and try again. If the original text of the secure message does not display in the browser, refresh the browser or close the browser and open it again. The behavior is infrequent, intermittent, and typically works the second time around.

If you use Outlook Web Access on Windows Vista
Do not save the SecureMessageAtt.htm attachment to disk and then try to open it. Open it from the email message.

Article last updated: 
Jul 24 2013