Encryption protects data from unauthorized access.

Using Notes® and Domino®, you can encrypt:

  • Messages sent to other users. Then an unauthorized user cannot read the message while it is in transit. You can also encrypt saved and incoming messages.
  • Network ports. Encrypting information sent between a Notes® workstation and a Domino® server, or between two Domino® servers, prevents unauthorized users from reading the data while it is in transit.
  • Transactions over the Internet. You can use TLS to encrypt information sent between an Internet client, such as a Notes® client, and an Internet server, to prevent unauthorized users from reading the data while it is in transit.
  • Fields, documents, and databases. Application developers can encrypt fields within a document, an entire document, and local databases. Then only the specified users can read the information.

For information on field, document, and database encryption, see HCL Domino® Designer Help.

Public and private keys

Domino® uses public and private keys so that data encrypted by one of the keys can be decrypted only by the other. The public and private keys are mathematically related and uniquely identify the user. Both are stored in the ID file. Within the ID file, the public key is stored in a certificate, but the private key is stored separately from the certificate. The certificate containing the public key is also stored in the Domino® Directory, where it is available to other users.

Domino® uses two types of public and private keys -- Notes® and Internet. You use the Notes® public key to encrypt fields, documents, databases, and messages sent to other Notes® users, while the Notes® private key is used for decryption. Similarly, you use the Internet public key for S/MIME encryption and the Internet private key for S/MIME decryption. For both Notes® and Internet key pairs, electronic signatures are created with private keys and verified with public keys.

You can use one set of Internet public and private keys or you can set up Notes® to use a set of Internet keys for S/MIME signatures and TLS and another set for S/MIME encryption.

When you register a user, Domino® can automatically create a Notes® certificate, which contains the user's public keys, and add it to the ID file and the Domino® Directory. The private key is created and stored in the ID file. You can also create Internet public and private keys after user registration. Domino® stores Internet certificates, which contain public keys, in the ID file and also in the Domino® Directory. The Internet private key is stored in the ID file, separately from the certificate.

To create Notes® public and private keys, Domino® uses the dual-key RSA Cryptosystem and the RC2, RC4, and AES algorithms for encryption. To create the Internet public key, Domino® uses the X.509 certificate format, which is an industry-standard format that many applications, including Domino®, understand.

Both the Notes® client and Domino® server support registration of as many as:

  • 4096-bit RSA keys for both Notes® and Internet certifiers. You can also roll over existing Notes® certifiers with smaller keys to 4096-bit keys;
  • 2048-bit RSA keys for user and server certificates;
  • 128-bit symmetric key for S/MIME and TLS.

The Notes® proprietary protocols support the use of 630-bit, 1024-bit, and 2048-bit keys for key exchange, signing, and authenticating user identity, and use 64- and 128-bit keys for bulk data encryption. The Notes® proprietary protocols also support 2048-bit user keys, and can still use old keys (512-bit, 380-bit) that were created with earlier versions of Domino®.

Larger keys provide stronger security from hackers. For instance, it would be more difficult for a private key to be deciphered based on a public one. It would also be more difficult for someone to forge cryptographic signatures on documents, agents, forms, and email.

Encryption strength

The Domino® server and the Domino® Administrator, Domino® Designer, and Notes® client products use one strong encryption level -- Global. The Global release adopts the encryption characteristics previously known as North American. Strong encryption in Global products can be used worldwide, except in countries whose import laws prohibit it, or except in those countries to which the export of goods and services is prohibited by the U.S. government. Customers are not required to order Notes® software according to cryptographic strength.