How to Use Entrust to Encrypt Confidential Information (for DHS Providers & Partners)

The Department of Human Services is required to encrypt confidential information about its customers that is transmitted electronically. To encrypt confidential information, DHS must use software called Entrust. Entrust does not encrypt email messages, but encrypts files that can be attached to email messages. All confidential information emailed to DHS must be included in encrypted attachments.

How it Works

Entrust can be used to encrypt files in two ways:

  1. Self-extracting - self-extracting ("exe") files can be opened and read by recipients who know the password without the need for the Entrust software. However, these files cannot be emailed; they must be uploaded using the Illinois File Transfer service.
  2. PP7M - files encrypted in the proprietary Entrust PP7M format can be sent by email, but the recipient must have the Entrust software installed to open them.

Organizations will need to decide which option they would like to use. Those that only need to receive encrypted filed from DHS may find self-extracting files easier; those that need to receive and send files will need to install Entrust and may as well use the PP7M format.

Installing Entrust

To receive or send encrypted PP7M files, the Entrust software must be downloaded and installed.

If you have information technology support staff, talk to them before attempting to do this:

  1. Obtain a State of Illinois Digital ID from:
  2. Using your Illinois Digital ID, download the Entrust software from:

Once the Entrust software is installed, it will automatically be able to open any PP7M files that you receive, as long as you know the password.

If you need technical assistance, please call: 1-866-465-9119 (Monday thru Sunday, 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Central) and indicate that you need help with your digital certificate.

Encrypting & Sending Documents using Entrust

To send confidential information to DHS:

  1. Put all the confidential information in a separate document, such as a Word document or PDF. Do not include confidential information in the body of the email.
  2. Right click on the document(s) you want to send
  3. Click "Encrypt File(s) with Password"
  4. At the Password Encrypt Files Wizard welcome screen, click Next
  5. Make up and type a Password (at least 8 characters with uppercase, lowercase, and number)
  6. Type it again in Confirm Password
  7. Uncheck "Encrypt the files for my encryption certificate..."
  8. Click Next
  9. On the Packaging Options screen, check "Combine all files"
  10. UNcheck "Generate self-decrypting file"
  11. Click Next
  12. On the Completing screen, unckeck "Delete the original files" and "Send files via email"
  13. Click Finish
  14. Open your email program (e.g., Outlook)
  15. Create a New Mail Message to the recipient
  16. Attach the encrypted document (ending in .pp7m)
  17. Send
  18. Send the password in a separate email message