How to encrypt your email on Fly using Gmail !

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Encrypt your email using GnuPG:

In this tutorial, I will demonstrate how to use PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) . PGP is an encryption technique that can be used to encrypt your personal communication whether it be an E-mail or files on your computer. This tutorial will focus primarily on using PGP for Email encryption.You can use this feature with any of your favourite email-clients e.g Outlook /Eudora etc. or you can even use GMAIL ( and FireGPG plug-in in your Firefox browser in order to integrate Gmail with PGP )

If you don’t have any idea about PGP , public/private keys , it might be useful to have a look at following link before proceeding.Pretty Good Privacy – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

You will need some form of OpenPGP for this purpose. For this demonstration, I will use GnuPG which is available freely. It loads in the Windows Privacy Tray (WinPT) and can be used to encrypt/decrypt your emails on the fly!

Once you have downloaded GnuPG and installed it , you are good to go. Perform following steps in order:

  • Generate your public, private key pair
  • Backup your keys (at safe place)
  • Publish your keys on a key server
  • Encrypt your first Email
  • Decrypt received Email

1) Generate your public, private key pair

Launch the program (GPA)

Navigate to Keys–>New Key .

Enter your Name , Click Forward.

Enter your email address ( Email-address is part of key in order to identify your identity to others), Click Forward.

Enter your PassPhrase .Try to use passphrase that is easily for you to remember and difficult for others to guess. You will need it while encrypting and decrypting your e-mails for your verification. If you enter an easy passphrase, the software will prompt you to make it more secure. Click Forward when you are done.

2) Backup your keys (at safe place)

Software will ask you to Create a backup copy . This is highly recommended though you can do it later as well.Click Apply.This process will generate your key pair.

You will be prompted to backup to a file named sec_key.asc(by default) if you choose in earlier step to backup.

REMEMBER, THIS FILE IS VERY SENSITIVE.IT CONTAINS ALL YOUR PRIVATE /PUBLIC KEY INFORMATION. COPY IT TO FLOPPY / CD-ROM AND DISCARD ORIGINAL FILE.OR KEEP IT IN SAFE PLACE OTHERWISE YOUR PRIVACY WILL BE AT STAKE.

You have successfully generated your keys.

3) Publish your keys on a key server

You may want to publish your keys to a Key Server in order for others to easily find your public key and send you emails.

Right click on your created key and Click “Send keys to Server”.

This might take a while but it will publish your public key for others access. Remember, only your private key is the one that only you know.Your friends will send emails to you using your Public Key (encrypting email) and you and only you will Decrypt those emails (using your Private Key).

One popular keyserver is Veridis where you can publish your keys too.I personally used this.Additionaly, you can distribute your public key to your friends through E-mail (included it with your signature etc.) or by Posting it on Web.

Here is my public key.Your public key will begin and end with block as shown here:

—–BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK—–

Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)

….   Your Public Key Here  …..

—–END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK—–

Encryption secures your email while Signing adds digital signature to it.Digital signature will prove that the message was sent by you and not tinkered with, between the sender and recipient.You are good to go.

4) Encrypt your first Email

Now, real Joy begins here!In order to encrypt your email .Compose your email. Copy it to your clipboard (using Ctrl-V or copy option).Open the WinPT Icon (a key symbol) which appears in the Windows taskbar, which is located in the lower right hand corner of the screen.Right click WinPT icon, go to Clipboard and press encrypt, select your recipient’s Public key and press OK. This will generate your Encrypted message and it will automatically copy it onto your clipboard. Just paste it into your email Message body . Congrats! You just encrypted your first email.

Note: You will encrypt your e-mail using recipient’s public key(not yours).You might get your recipient’s public key through email or from finding it on Key Server like Veridis.Here you can find public keys(including your own): MyPublicKey

5) Decrypt received Email

When you receive an encrypted email from friend, simply copy all encrypted content on your clipboard.Go to WinPT–> Clipboard–>Decrypt.You will be prompted for passphrase.Copy decrypted content back to any file (word etc.).This is your secret message only for your eyes.

If you are interested in learning Gmail with PGP, you will need FireGPG plug-in for Firefox.

CONGRATS! You are done.Enjoy your privacy !!!

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