What is MIME in Network Security?

18.05.2020 Read
What is MIME in Network Security?

MIME (abbreviation for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) is a worldwide standard introduced in 1991. In this article, we will discuss what it is and why it is important.

As the technology introduces new ways to communicate and conduct business, our business operations become much more reliant on the data transfer and the Internet itself. Such high connectedness allows us to work from anywhere and get in touch with customers, team members, co-workers and more from the other side of the world but it also introduces new risks as well. Since we communicate a lot on the Internet, share files necessary for conducting our business operations and so forth, we become more vulnerable for data breaches, leaks, intruders and malicious attackers.

Being vulnerable to cyber attacks can cause hard earned money and/or reputation to our businesses. Data breaches, leaks and such unwanted instances can result in losing the trust of our customers and have a negative impact on our organization. That is why we need to pay great attention to the safety and security of our communications online. S/MIME was introduced to help us with this task. In this article, we will discuss what S/MIME is and explain everything you need to know about it.

What is MIME?

MIME, also known as the Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, is an Internet standard introduced in 1991. It allows us to send, receive and view e-mail messages that supports audio, images, video, applications and texts written in character sets other than ASCII. In other words, MIME expands the horizons of e-mail communications.

MIME allows e-mail message bodies to consist of more than one part and include various media. E-mails in MIME format are often transferred using standard protocols like Post Office Protocol (also known as POP), Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (also known as SMTP) or Internet Message Access Protocol (also known as IMAP).

What is S/MIME?

S/MIME means Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions. It is a technology that allows us to encrypt the content of our e-mails, so that they are not vulnerable to cyber attacks. In other words, S/MIME keeps our e-mails safe and makes sure that the only person who reads them is the intended receiver.

S/MIME was first developed by the RSA Data Security to ensure the security of e-mail messages, then it became a standard with the help of IETF.

S/MIME is based on asymmetric encryption and public key infrastructure. It aims to provide a layer of security for the e-mail messages with the help of encryption and authentication techniques. In other words, S/MIME makes it possible for you to sign your e-mails digitally so that only the intended receiver of your e-mails can receive and view them. Also, S/MIME makes sure that nobody alternates the content of your e-mail while it is on its way to the receiver’s inbox.

Why do we need security measures regarding MIME?

As of today, information is the most valuable asset an organization can have. That is why many hackers and intruders try to find a way into the networks and systems of organizations and unprotected e-mails are one of the best ways to manage that.

If you want to keep your networks safe and secure while keeping the intruders at bay, you must pay attention to the MIME and S/MIME.