Sending secure email means you can send private encrypted messages between 2 parties. And I’m going to help you get set up and you’ll see why you should start to send secure email when possible.
PLUS: I’m also going to tell you the downsides of sending secure email.
Although there is a difference between PGP and GPG, I shall be using the term interchangeably in this post. However, if you want to dig deeper visit the Go Anywhere page on the differences between PGP and GPG.
In these days of government snooping and with Internet crime being on the rise it makes sense that you want to keep your private data private. Furthermore, unprotected Wi‑Fi networks are huge at the moment, with everywhere from cafes and supermarkets to taxis and busses all offering you free access to the Internet.
There are even plans in the USA for the government to create a “Super Wi‑Fi” network. While this would of course be huge but there are opponents to Super Wi‑Fi, although this would be a huge convenience for many but at the same time if it’s not handled properly it has the potential to be a windfall for cyber criminals.
Granted, these free Wi‑Fi networks are often partitioned away from the main business side of their Internet connection but you still have to ask yourself who is sharing this insecure access with you. To put it into perspective: You wouldn’t take all the security precautions off of you home internet router and allow just any passer-by to access your network, would you?
If someone did manage to get into your device over the Internet, you don’t want them reading your conversations with your closest friends or your bank manager.
To start sending secure email you need to:
As the mixture of operating systems and email clients could be huge I’m going to pass you off to the OpenPGP website as it has a list of plugins to add PGP/GPG key to email clients. These cover quite a few of the various operating systems and email clients.
If you want to start sending secure emails you need to get your public key to the other person and here are just a few of the ways you can do that:
Although you don’t have to exchange emails I prefer to send at least a test email before any sensitive data is exchanged. This means you can confirm that you have each others’ public keys and maybe even send a secure test message.
My aim is not to convince you that you should be sending secure email. Instead, it’s to give you the knowledge so that can decide whether you should be sending secure email or not. So with that in mind here are a few down sides to securing your emails:
I personally think that despite the disadvantages, it is worth the hassle and the positives out-way the negatives. In addition, as a Software Engineer/Web Developer I can use my public key for other tasks such as signing code that I add to a public project or I can easily set up authentication using my key instead of passwords.