pgp encryption tools

Scary Stuff!

(Just leave the lights on.)

 

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Encryption scares the hell out of many computer users. If it's any consolation, it appears to scare the hell out of many governments too, but for altogether different reasons.

Encryption can be a relatively simple process, or as difficult as the user wants to make it. The degree of difficulty does not necessarily relate to the security of the encryption method.

It is of the utmost importance that the user understands, at a bare minimum, the principals of encryption. Otherwise, he places both himself and those to whom he sends messages at risk.

Beware of the snake oil salesmen. It seems that every week, there's someone hawking a "new, revolutionary, military grade, unbreakable" encryption algorithm or method. "Caveat Emptor" with such claims. A knowledgeable user will be much more likely to weed through all of the snake oil pitches.

The defacto standard for encryption is PGP. There are those who will argue this point for a variety of reasons, but the fact remains that PGP is the most widely used and supported, and most readily available encryption method.

PGP is available for almost every operating system, with a variety of versions for each. The features and functionality of each version should help determine which is best for you. The newer versions of PGP include plugins for popular email clients, and some include desktop security features as well.

A Complete PGP Tutorial is HERE

There are also both international and U.S. versions of PGP. As of 9/16/99, the U.S. Government has new, relaxed guidelines on export of encryption technology. Just what that means remains to be seen.

PGP is available from these, and many other sites.

There are other encryption methods and programs available as well. Some are good, some are not, and some are just snake oil.

 

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