If you want to use insecure channels to communicate securely, then you have to use cryptographic techniques. For centuries, the good ones were only available to state and military organizations, but nowadays there is a program called Pretty Good Privacy available for everyone's use, even with the source code, so you can assume that it has been analyzed for potential weaknesses.
Users outside the USA (see also the legal issues) should download PGP from a site outside of the USA, for example [a mirror site of] the The International PGP Home Page in Norway, which also contains further information and links to add-ons.
PGP uses public key cryptography, which makes installation more complex, but makes it possible to securely communicate with people you never met before. Still, key management is an issue that has to be understood, so make sure you read the manual, which is also available in windows help
On my old 386 with Windows 3.1 (yes!) I use PGP in conjunction with PGP Windows, a very small (42 kB) one of the many available Front-end shells. It includes the possibility of encrypting and decrypting the clipboard contents (handy for email messages) and key management.
If you want to send me a message that nobody else should be able to read (such as my new password for a WWW account on your server), you can encrypt your message with my public key. Only I have the corresponding secret key to decrypt it.
Type Bits/KeyID Date User ID pub 2048/BF57BB69 1997/05/10 Martin Stut <firstname.lastname@example.org
The fingerprint (checksum, designed for verification over the phone) of this public key is
62 1A 47 0D 62 FE FB 7F 75 91 1B FA 0B 43 B9 87
Because it is good enough to be very difficult to crack even by secret services, it's use has been forbidden in countries like Iran, Iraq and France, and export from the USA falls under a law forbidding ammunitions export (the author of PGP got a lot of trouble with US courts). Even here in Germany the lawmakers are thinking about regulation (the state should have access to everyone's secret key), but the business world (which has a lot of influence on politicians) and civil rights acitivists are against it, because
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