Dan Adams

PGP/GPG Security

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PGP/GPG Security

The way the program works is that each person has a private and a public key. The private key they do not give out. The public key they share with any and all who need that one, but remember that your private key is only for you. Once you have the program setup and have generated your key pair, then you would send me a copy of your public key. Then we both can add the public key of the other person to our own program so that I can encrypt to your public key and you can encrypt to my public key. Once a file is encrypted to a public key, the only way to decrypt the file is to use the corresponding private key to decrypt the file. This means that if I encrupt a file to your public key then the only way to decrypt it is to use your private key (which you don't give out). As a result the entire idea of PGP or GPG is very secure.

Two sources of GPG/PGP are:
PGP itself now owned by Symantec (Norton)
GPG: Linux - GnuPG, Windows - GPG 4 Win
Using PGP, some general terms that are good to know. If you receive a message and it is signed by PGP or GnuPG, that means that the message was received unaltered from when it was sent out. This does not alone verify if anyone else was able to view the contents of the message as it was being sent, but that no person or computer altered it at all in transit. If a message is encrypted, then it can be truested that the message was not even viewed by any unauthorized third party while the message was in transit.

As a matter of security, here is a copy of my Public PGP key, when I increase the amount of time that it will be valid, I will upload it here. The current version loaded on the webserver is good until April 21, 2024. Before then I will upload a new copy of it to this webpage.  The keys I use were actually generated over 10 years ago, when I was using PGP, but now I am using GPG.

With GPG and PGP, there is no governing authority involved as such there is a web of trust among the uses of the system. Links are made by those friends/colleagues simply exchanging the public keys and using the system.

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This page was last updated: June 7, 2012