How to Encrypt Your Email with PGP

Monday, February 06, 2012

Robert Siciliano

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Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) “is a data encryption and decryption computer program that provides cryptographic privacy and authentication for data communication. PGP is often used for signing, encrypting and decrypting texts, E-mails, files, directories and whole disk partitions to increase the security of e-mail communications.”

Say you have a manufacturing plant in China that makes a one of a kind widget and you have a U.S patent that you don’t want other companies stealing.

Every so often you must send an email back and forth to your man of the ground in Beijing to update the specs and ways in which that product is to be created. 

You know that if your emails are intercepted that it’s just a matter of time before a cheap knockoff comes on the market and kills your business. So, you better learn how to encrypt email.

This is where PGP email encryption comes in:

#1 There are PGP key generators online and others available in purchased or open source software. To create a PGP key you will plug in your email address and provide a password. Your security vendor can point you in a direction. Or go here to generate a PGP key.

#2 PGP keys are public and private. Your public key is posted to your website or contained in your email. People use this key to send you encrypted emails. The private key is kept private.

My public key looks like this:

—–BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK—–

mI0ETt1GvAEEAInk6+FnNbDug/VTJTqladmbymCx3Oh3LT/YQpB1/j8PavNAAhtr

nC5dwhludRTE2bAG28ZcPkK5j8aRZTYTmSpCjUOfwNRaIott0L4SKSgLbkUWDfim

pbEOTLN9eTmStNispjWVdmP099t5SJqsGvkPBhCxLHOCxxPae0037Lb1ABEBAAG0

FnJvYmVydEByb2JlcnRzaWNpbGlhbm+InAQQAQIABgUCTt1GvAAKCRDVXcwnBdX+

k3poA/93D0usqCSemcf0jE8BMUlqIHxdblH7eH4IXngjV+bgfZxeX6pK6BuxMghN

6NaX8VqOHV574MctAnxVkGqqjJH4jALQn+ExoG9YFh004UK46pa4BCoh+xkD72zu

dGm3I3xVjj7g3e7XJ0R7aVDStK1s+7izd00PzbJP9xDI9MqJUA==

=22J2

—–END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK—–

#3 When receiving an encrypted email you plug in your private key that looks a lot like a public key and include the password.

Find here a cool free online tool that generates PGP keys for fun and lets you see how PGP email encryption is done.

Caution: I’m not sure of what’s going on in the background of this site so I can’t recommend using this key generator for ongoing secure use.

Robert Siciliano personal and small business security specialist to ADT Small Business Security discussing ADT Pulse on Fox News. Disclosures

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