Encrypted E-Mail at Provident (FAQ)


See below for answers to common questions about exchanging securely encrypted e-mail messages with Provident.


Why does Provident use encryption when sending messages through the Internet?


Standard e-mail is not a secure way to send private or confidential information. Standard e-mail messages are essentially like postcards, in that they can be intercepted, copied, and read by others while in transit to their destination.


How does Provident encrypt its messages to members?


Provident has two ways of exchanging secure encrypted messages with you:

  1. The "Secure E-Mail" feature in online banking allows you to exchange mail messages with us securely. When you use this feature, any communications you send or receive through the online banking interface will be encrypted (encoded so no one but the sender and recipient can read it). And because you have established your identity through online banking enrollment, we know it is really you when you are signed in to online banking.
  2. Provident also has another way to exchange encrypted messages with you, which does not require online banking. This option is called "Proofpoint Encryption", which automatically encrypts any regular e-mail sent by Provident to you that might contain sensitive information (such as your member number or PIN), and allows you to reply through a Web interface.

Should I always use Proofpoint Encryption to send secure e-mail to Provident?


For most people, most of the time, online banking's "Secure E-Mail" will remain the preferred way of exchanging messages securely with Provident. However, if we send an e-mail to your regular e-mail address and it is encrypted by Proofpoint, the e-mail you receive will include a very simple link to the Proofpoint Web site with further instructions on how to register, so that you can read your message. If you've already registered and have a Proofpoint password, then you can simply open the e-mail attachment to sign in and read the message.


How do I read an encrypted message, once I have clicked on the link you e-mailed me to go to the Proofpoint Encryption Registration site?


The first time you visit the Proofpoint site you will be asked to create an account. You will be asked to include your name, the password you'd like to use (it cannot include spaces), and a password reset question and answer (in case you forget your password in the future).

You will not be asked to provide personal information during registration, aside from your name, and an answer to a question of your choice, which you will be asked during any future password resets. The answer does not even have to be the real answer to the question, as long as it is something you can remember in the future. There is nothing to download.

If you ever click on an e-mailed link and are then asked for online banking passwords, credit card information, etc., or to download software, or if you have any doubt about whether the Web site you go to is legitimate, or might be a phishing site, then do not perform the software download and do not use the site to correspond with us. Instead, contact us by phone or through online banking. When signing on to online banking, always use a bookmark or type in "providentcu.org".

After you register, you will not need to re-register to read future encrypted messages from us. You can simply open the e-mail attachment, and sign on using the password you created during registration.


Can I use Proofpoint Encryption to send secure messages to others?


Once you've received a secure message from Provident and registered with Proofpoint so that you can read it, you can only use that account to send and receive messages from Provident employees (addresses that end with "@providentcu.org"). You can add additional recipients when using the Proofpoint "Reply All" or "Forward" buttons, but the addresses you add can only be those ending with "@providentcu.org".


What do I do if I forget my Proofpoint Encryption password?


If you've received a secure message from Provident and can't remember the password you registered earlier, you should:

  1. Open the attachment.
  2. Click on the "Click to read message" button.
  3. Click on the "Forgot Password" link from the Proofpoint login page that appears.
  4. If you created a security question during registration, you will be prompted to answer it. If you do so successfully, you will then be able to create a new password.
  5. If you didn't create a security question, you will instead be e-mailed a link that you can click on to decrypt and read the message.

Can I attach a file, when sending a secure message to Provident through Proofpoint Encryption?


Yes, you can send and receive attachments to your secure messages, and they will be encrypted and secure too. Please do not separately encrypt or password protect your files before sending them, as they will be blocked by our virus protection. You may attach files in most image or document formats (such as PDFs, Word, PNG, JPG, etc.). Zip files are OK, as long as they are not password protected, and as long as their contents are also allowed formats. Video and sound files (such as .wav or .mov) and executable files (such as .exe, .bat, .js, etc.) are not allowed, and will be blocked.

Also note that sending attachments is not supported on mobile, although you should be able to receive and read attachments from Provident just fine.


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