Apr 27 2009
Now, I know open-source software can be a bit intimidating. GnuPG may look mean, but it is a breeze to install. Just give me 15 minutes.
First off you need to download the software. GnuPG runs in the terminal, and has no GUI, but don’t worry. You won’t be accessing this much. Just download the package and run through the installer. You can set GnuPG from the Terminal, but let’s hold off and download some goodies first.
Now, time for the toys. First off, rather than mess with the Terminal to configure things, lets download GPGPreferences, a preference pane that allows you to tweak settings. As you use GPG, you will have reason to come here and change things.
To get started, you will need to generate a key for yourself. GPGKeys will help you here. This app manages your keys. Hit “Keys” and “Generate…” and the app will fire up the Terminal and walk you through the setup process. As soon as you have a key, you can encrypt, sign and send secure messages to people with keys.
Now, goodies for your mail client. Grab either EntourageGPG or GPGMail (10.1 and 10.2 versions available), download and install it. This addition will allow you to send and receive secure messages from Entourage or Mail. These behave differently, but both verify that your recipient has a GPG key and make sending and receiving encrypted messages easy.
Note: Eudora and Mailsmith scripts are available too, but not covered here, because I don’t know anyone who uses them.
For those of you that use an online service like Yahoo, there is still a way to encrypt and decrypt messages. You can use GPGDropThing to encode and sign text to paste into your email message. GPGDropThing also decrypts and verifies.
If you’d like to encrypt files, then you’ll want to try out GPGFileTool. This app provides a GUI for file encryption using your GPG key.
GPG takes a little getting used to, but becomes very natural to use. If you’d like to practice on someone that won’t make fun of you, send me some encrypted feedback on today’s episode.
As always, remember that these powerful security tools and intended for the forces of good!
Tune in next week for more free tools!