PGP encryption is a method of encrypting data before sending it to another computer. PGP stands for Pretty Good Privacy, which is ironic because it’s not perfect. It does mean that the encryption used in PGP is very strong, making it extremely difficult to crack by anyone without the decrypt key.
When using PGP to send something sensitive, such as your bank login credentials or a top-secret message from a spy agency, you would probably want to encrypt that data before sending it.
PGP Encryption Defined
When using PGP, you generate a pair of keys: one private key that you keep on your computer or in your home, and another public key that you give out freely to anyone who wants to email you securely. To send someone an encrypted message, you simply transfer their public key onto your computer and then scramble the letters in the file you’re sending them with the corresponding key.
When your friends want to contact you securely, they have to get your public key onto their computer for it to work. You can either send them the public key yourself when someone asks you for it or upload it onto a key server so that anyone who wants it can download it easily.
Users can encrypt emails before sending them with their private PGP key so that they know no one except for the intended recipient will read the message.
Benefits of PGP Encryption
- PGP encryption allows you to keep your communications private from criminals, corporations, and spies.
- PGP is open source. There are no backdoors in the algorithm that weren’t intentionally added by its developers or discovered by others later on.
- PGP is used the world over to protect data on storage devices (laptops) and can also be used for encrypting messaging services like email and chat applications.
- PGP software makes it easy to use cryptography so normal people can protect their digital information without understanding all about cryptography or technology in general.
- In addition, another benefit of PGP encryption is that it allows you to authenticate your emails or any other digital communication with anybody else who has a PGP key.
What Does PGP Do?
- It provides confidentiality. It ensures only intended recipients of messages get access to it. No one else should see your personal information. It will be encrypted so only it is unreadable to the point where even if someone were to get access to it, they still can’t read or understand what’s inside without your private key.
- It provides integrity. No one should be able to modify your messages in transit and make it appear like you’re sending something that you’re not, like a forged bank transfer or anything of that nature. PGP uses hashes (a one-way encryption method) for this purpose.
- It ensures authenticity. This means ensuring the person who claims to be someone else isn’t lying about their identity, typically by providing verifiable proof of their digital identity through some form of public-key encryption. You can trust them because they have proven their identity to you.
- PGP is not for censorship resistance. There is no way to get around PGP encryption even if you wanted to. It doesn’t matter how hard someone might try; the message is still encrypted. This means that any third party can see your information but won’t do anything with it. Because it’s encrypted, so there’s nothing to see in the first place.
Is PGP Encryption Secure?
PGP (pretty good privacy) is an encryption program to encrypt files and messages. It uses public-key cryptography for secure communication between two people. The most common use of PGP encryption is to send encrypted emails between users who want to be sure that no one can read their emails except the person they are sending them to.
Also Check: DDoS Attacks
How Does It Work?
PGP Encryption is a way to ensure that information you share between two people is not visible to anyone else (except the intended recipients). The way it works is like this:
The first person writing something encrypts it using an encryption key.
This key has two parts: the public and private keys (sender’s private key and recipient’s public key). If you encrypt something with your secret key, only someone who knows your secret key can decrypt it.
- Now here’s where PGP steps in. You distribute your public encryption keys to everyone you want to send encrypted messages to, either through direct upload or by putting it on a keyserver network.
- When someone wants to send you a message, they use your public session key to encrypt the message before sending it along. To do this, they use your public key just like how you would use their secret key. Since only the intended recipient knows the private part of the key, only they can decrypt it.
- It’s important to note that PGP encryption is not entirely secure because if someone else were to get hold of your secret encryption key, everything you’ve encrypted with it before becomes decryptable by them in turn.
This means you always have to be careful when dealing with security-sensitive material, even if you send it over an encrypted channel (your adversary could still find out through non-encrypted channels). So keep in mind that encryption and decryption as well as digital signatures are not something you should utter carelessly. Or anywhere else, for that matter!
PGP encryption is a form of email security that users use for years. It is a way to protect your private communications and files. You can use it in many different ways, from encrypting emails that you send to protecting the data on your hard drive or server. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use solution for securing sensitive information, it’s a great way to go.
But, many people are still unfamiliar with what it means and how they can use it to protect their sensitive information online. We’ve covered the basics here, so you know everything about PGP encryption and why you should be using this type of protection today. If these concepts sound exciting but too complicated for your needs, then we would love to help!
Maryam has been teaching IT as a school teacher for over a decade, and her main subject of choice is Internet safety, especially helping parents keep their families safe and secure online. When Maryam is not teaching or writing she is a big fan of the outdoors, the complete opposite of staring at a computer screen for hours.