The Guide






About Raj

Pretty Good Privacy

Introduction: What is PGP?
How does it work?
Where do I get PGP?
How do I run PGP?
Why does my key need to be signed?
So what's a keysigning party after all?
What information do I need to provide, and when?
What other resources are there to help me learn about PGP and keysigning?
What about Windows Platform?

Related Links

A specific key signing party
PGP keyservers:
A specific key signing party
Keysigning Party Guide:

Pretty Good Privacy: Protect  Your Data over the Net
by Raj Mathur

Most of us do not worry about the security of the data that we transmit over the Net. Thinking that it is something cannot be read or used by anyone else. This is not so. Email over the Internet is like sending a postcard via regular mail. Anyone who can see it will be able to read it.

So, unless we take extra pain of encrypting the data we might just think that it ok for others to have access to this data-- be it an email or some other communication.

Pretty Good Privacy is a way of encryption and decryption of data so that only the person who the information is meant for see it. Once encrypted it is not even accessible to the author himself.

This discussion is in context of Linux OS. However there are windows version of Plugins for email clients available but the similar principles apply.

What is PGP?

PGP (which stands for Pretty Good Privacy) is a tool which allows you to encrypt data (typically e-mail) so that it is not viewable by anyone except the person it's meant for. PGP is also used to unambiguously electronically sign documents so that the identity of the creator/originator of the document can be proven. As you can guess, PGP is useful for sending e-mails which should only be read by the addressee, and/or which should be clearly be proven as having originated from you. There are other uses too -- e.g. RPM packages can be signed with PGP so that any tampering with the package can be detected.


How does it work? [Next]

Copyright 1999 Dr. Raj Mehta. All rights reserved.