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E-mail Encryption 101: Part 1

Sunday, July 20th, 2014 by | Filed Under: E-Mail Help, Security Help

If you’re concerned about privacy, you may wish to consider encrypting your e-mail communication. Encryption ensures that only you and the intended recipient of your message is able to read the contents.

There are multiple ways to encrypt e-mail, but in this tutorial Iam going to describe how to install and use GpG4win encryption software, first we will define this tool and give a brief description about how asymmetric encryption that GpG4win uses works. So prepare a cup of tea and let us start encrypting

You can download GpG4win from here

This guide is tested using Windows 7 and Outlook 2010 email client.

GpG4win enables users to securely transport emails and files with the help of encryption and digital signatures. Encryption protects the contents against an unwanted party reading it. Digital signatures make sure that it was not modified and comes from a specific sender.

GpG4win uses what is called Public key cryptography, this system involve using two keys, one for encryption and the second for decryption. We can distribute the public key everywhere publicity without any worry, however the private key should be kept secret to the maximum.

A user will use his friend public key to encrypt the message; the receiver will use his private key (which should kept secret) to decrypt this message. Although different, the two parts of this key pair are mathematically linked. The public key is used to encrypt plaintext; whereas the private key is used to decrypt ciphertext. Messages encrypted with public key can only be decrypted using the same private key pair. 

Let us demonstrate how public key cryptography works using a simple example:

1)      Rima wants to communicate secretly with Nihad, Rima encrypt the message using Nihad’s public key (which he made available to everyone through his website OR on his email signature) and send the encrypted message to Nihad.

2)     When Nihad receive the encrypted message he uses his private key to decrypt the message so he can read it.

3)     If Nihad wants to send an encrypted reply to Rima, he uses her public key to encrypt the message and send it to her.

4)     When Rima receives Nihad’s reply, she uses her private key to decrypt the message so she can read it.

Now, we have fair grasp of information about the main terminologies, let us begin installing GpG4win.

Right click the installer and select “Open” to begin installing the software,

The first screen asks you to select your preferred installation language, select “English” and press the “OK” button,

Next screen shows you the version number of the installation, click “Next” to continue,

Next screen shows the license agreement for using this software, click “Next” to continue,

Next screen shows you the components associated with this software, here you can select which components you want to install, in my case I will select all components to install, click “Next” to continue,

Now you are presented with a window asking you to choose the installation directory, leave the default (C:\Program Files\GNU\GnuPG) and click “Next” to continue,

Next window offers the choice to add program icons on desktop and quick lunch bar, select “Start Menu” option and click “Next” to continue,

Then you can select where you want the program start menu folder (program shortcuts) to appears, the default is on a new folder called “GpG4win”, leave the default and click “Install” to begin installing the software.

In Part 2 of this article, we’ll finish installing the program and learn how to encrypt an e-mail.

~ Nihad

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2 Responses to “E-mail Encryption 101: Part 1”

  1. […] Security Help   iBeginShare.attachLink('share-tool',{link_style:'button'});Loading… In part 1 , Part 2  and  Part 3 of this series we learned all about e-mail encryption and how to download, […]

  2. […] Security Help   iBeginShare.attachLink('share-tool',{link_style:'button'});Loading… In part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 and Part 4 of this series we learned all about e-mail encryption and how to […]

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