Journal of Network and Systems Management

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 279–297

Practical protocols for certified electronic mail


  • Robert H. Deng
    • Institute of Systems ScienceNational University of Singapore
  • Li Gong
    • Computer Science LaboratorySRI International
  • Aurel A. Lazar
    • Department of Electrical Engineering and Center for Telecommunications ResearchColumbia University
  • Weiguo Wang
    • Institute of Systems ScienceNational University of Singapore

DOI: 10.1007/BF02139147

Cite this article as:
Deng, R.H., Gong, L., Lazar, A.A. et al. J Netw Syst Manage (1996) 4: 279. doi:10.1007/BF02139147


Electronic mail, or e-mail, has brought us a big step closer towards the vision of paperless offices. To advance even closer to this vision, however, it is essential that existing e-mail systems be enhanced with value-added services which are capable of replacing many of the human procedures established in pen and paper communications. One of the most important and desirable such services is certified e-mail delivery, in which the intended recipient will get the mail content if and only if the mail originator receives an irrefutable proof-of-delivery from the recipient. In this paper, we present the design of two third-party based certified mail protocols, termed CMP1 and CMP2. Both protocols are designed for integration into existing standard e-mail systems and both satisfy the requirements ofnonrepudiation of origin, nonrepudiation of delivery, and fairness. The difference between CMP1 and CMP2 is that the former provides no mail content confidentiality protection while the latter provides such a protection. Moreover, security of the protocols are analyzed using a recently proposed accountability framework.

Key words

Digital signatureelectronic mailencryptionsecurity

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996