Verify Digital Signature and Decrypt Email in Visual C++ - S/MIME

In previous section, I introduced how to parse email. In this section, I will introduce how to verify digital signature and decrypt email in Visual C++.


How to sign email?

Digital signature is always signed by sender certificate. The certificate used to sign email content MUST have the public/private key pair.

First of all, the user MUST get a digital certificate for personal email protection from third-party certificate authorities such as

After the certificate is installed on the machine, it can be viewed by Control Panel -> Internet Options -> Content -> Certificates -> Personal. When you view the certificate, please note there is a line “You have a private key that corresponds to this certificate” in the certificate view, that means you are able to use this certificate to sign email content. If this line doesn’t appear, that means you are unable to sign the email content by this certificate.

To sign email content, please refer to EASendMail SMTP Component.

How to encrypt email?

Encrypting email doesn’t require sender certificate but the certificate with public key for every recipient.

For example: sends an email to with digital signature; The digital signature contains the public key certificate for, then can send an encrypted email with this certificate back to; Only from@adminsystem can read this email, because this email MUST be decrypted by private key of

Therefore, you MUST receive an digital signed email from other people (Most email clients such as outlook, outlook express will add the certificate to the Other People Storage automatically once an digital signed email is received) before you can send encrypted email to this people.

To encrypt email, please refer to EASendMail SMTP Component.

EAGetMail Mail class provides an easy way to verify the email digital signature and get the signer certificate. The signer certificate only contains the public key, that means you can add this certificate to your user certificate storage so that you can use this certificate to encrypt email and send the encrypted email back to the sender, only the sender can decrypt the email.


Remarks: All of examples in this section are based on first section: A simple Visual C++ project. To compile and run the following example codes successfully, please click here to learn how to create the test project and add reference to your project.

[Visual C++ Example - Verify digital signature and decrypt email]

The following example codes demonstrate how to use EAGetMail POP3 component to verify digital signature and decrypt email.


To get the full sample projects, please refer to Samples section.

#include "stdafx.h"
#include <Windows.h>

#include "eagetmailobj.tlh"
using namespace EAGetMailObjLib;

void ParseEmail(LPCTSTR lpszFile)
        IMailPtr oMail = NULL;
        oMail->LicenseCode = _T("TryIt");

        oMail->LoadFile(lpszFile, VARIANT_FALSE);

        if(oMail->IsEncrypted == VARIANT_TRUE)
            // this email is encrypted, we decrypt it by user default certificate.
            // you can also use specified certificate like this
            // ICertificatePtr oCert = NULL;
            // oCert.CreateInstance("EAGetMailObj.Certificate");
            // oCert->LoadFromFile(_T("c:\\test.pfx"), _T("pfxpassword"), CRYPT_USER_KEYSET);
            // oMail = oMail->Decrypt(oCert);
            oMail = oMail->Decrypt(NULL);

        if(oMail->IsSigned == VARIANT_TRUE)
            // This email is digital signed.
            ICertificatePtr oCert = oMail->VerifySignature();
            _tprintf(_T("This email contains a valid digital signature.\r\n"));
            // You can add the certificate to your certificate storage like this
            // oCert->AddToStore(CERT_SYSTEM_STORE_CURRENT_USER,
            // _T("addressbook"));
            // then you can use send the encrypted email back to this sender.

        // Parse email sender
        _tprintf(_T("From: %s\r\n"), (const TCHAR*)oMail->From->Address);

        IAddressCollectionPtr addressList = oMail->ToList;
        for(long i = 0; i < addressList->Count; i++)
            IMailAddressPtr oAddr = addressList->GetItem(i);
            _tprintf(_T("To: %s<%s>\r\n"), (TCHAR*)oAddr->Name, (TCHAR*)oAddr->Address);

        addressList = oMail->CcList;
        for(long i = 0; i < addressList->Count; i++)
            IMailAddressPtr  oAddr = addressList->GetItem(i);
            _tprintf(_T("Cc: %s<%s>\r\n"), (TCHAR*)oAddr->Name, (TCHAR*)oAddr->Address);

        // Parse email subject
        _tprintf(_T("Subject: %s\r\n"), (const TCHAR*)oMail->Subject);

        // Parse email text body
        _tprintf(_T("TextBody: %s\r\n"), (const TCHAR*)oMail->TextBody);

        // Parse email HTML body
        _tprintf(_T("HtmlBody: %s\r\n"), (const TCHAR*)oMail->HtmlBody);

        // Parse attachment
        IAttachmentCollectionPtr attachments = oMail->AttachmentList;
        for(long i = 0; i < attachments->Count; i++)
            IAttachmentPtr pAtt = attachments->GetItem(i);
            _tprintf(_T("Attachment: %s\r\n"), (const TCHAR*)pAtt->Name);
    catch(_com_error &ep)
        _tprintf(_T("Error: %s\r\n"), (const TCHAR*)ep.Description());

int _tmain(int argc, _TCHAR* argv[])
    // Initialize COM environment

    ParseEmail(_T("c:\\my folder\\test.eml"));

    return 0;

Next Section

At next section I will introduce how to parse MAPI winmail.dat (TNEF/MAPI) attachment.



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