I want to learn about encrypting email
Excellent! It’s a journey but one well worth taking. There are many guides about setting up and using public key encryption and it may seem overwhelming at first. A few helpful tips to remember when starting out:
- There is a general standard for public key encryption called OpenPGP. Popular encryption engines including PGP and GnuPG are compliant with this standard
- To use public key encryption you will need a key pair, an encryption engine and (optionally) an interface with your email program
- Your key pair is portable, you can change the email program and encryption engine, using the same encryption method from different computers. Essentially the key pair is made up of two distinct (but interdependent) files – the public and private key. Keep a copy of them.
Keep in mind that aside from encrypting your messages, you should also know about key verification, message signing and file encryption. Please make sure you refer to these sections in the given resources. Here’s a list of guides, varying in the software methods they show as examples, by language and context, to help you get started and on the way:
- Message Security – by the RiseUp folks. A very thorough guide on all aspects of PGP/GPG encryption. Windows and Linux. 11 languages.
- Encryption works – A good introduction to various topics related to public key encryption and more. Originally written by Micah Lee of the Intercept
- PGP/GPG set-up guides from the EFF for Windows, Linux and MacOS. 11 languages.
- Setting up GnuPG and email with Thunderbird – from the Security in-a-box project. Windows users. 13 different languages. And similar guide from the Free Software Foundation.
- Mailvelope documentation – Browser plugin for GPG encryption. Works with most webmail clients. For Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.
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