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What is PGP and how can I use it?

  Added by: 10k  Last edited by: 10k  Viewed: 465 times   Rated by 18 users: 9.64/10
Contributed by: MarvinM92
Submitted July 14, 2003

What is PGP and how can I use it?

Index to topics (click to jump to topic)

  • What is PGP?
  • downloading and installing PGP
  • Creating your own PGP keys
  • Giving your PGP key to others
  • Importing New PGP keys
  • Encrypting a text message to send
  • Decrypting a PGP message
  • PGP Encrypting a file
  • Decrypting a PGP file
  • Wiping files

    What is PGP?

    PGP is a 128-bit encryption program. The importance of encryption is so nobody can steal the data in transit and read it. With a few clicks you can send encrypted data and be positive only the intended user can decrypt and see it. It can encrypt text and images, which is very useful when sharing sensitive data. PGP is a useful tool that you can even use in Overgrow Private Messages. This FAQ will show you how to do it all.

    Where to download PGP.

    Go to…


    …and download the version you need for the type of operating system you’re on. For most people that will be PGP version 7.0.3.

  • Install the PGP software and get ready to send your sensitive information securely.

    return to index

    Creating your own PGP key.

    A Public PGP key is what people will need to send you a PGP Encrypted message. We will now go through each step to create one.

  • Go to your system tray which is located at the bottom right of your screen. Click on the PGP icon then select PGP KEYS. Note: You can also access PGP KEYS through the start menu. ie:START MENU-PROGRAM FILES-PGP-PGP KEYS

  • This screen will appear. Click on KEYS then select New Key

    This starts the PGP Key Gereration Wizard. Click NEXT.

  • Enter a name for the pgp key. You could use your overgrow member handle as a name or make one up.

    Important :Don’t use your own name or email!

    Putting in an email address is totally optional. You could use an addy from an anon email service or for optimum security, enter a fake email adddy or better yet, leave that email field blank. Click NEXT when ready.

    As mentioned above, entering an e-mail address is optional.

    If you choose not to enter anything in the email field, you will see this warning box.

  • Just click YES and the key will be created without the email.

  • Think of a passphrase, it could be the lyrics from a song you like or whatever you won’t forget. The longer the passphrase, the better the security. Never forget this passphrase so lock it in your head , do not tell anyone. Click NEXT when ready.

  • Click through to finish and let it automatically generate the key.

  • You now have a new Public PGP Key.
    return to index

    Giving your public key to others:

  • In the PGPkeys window, highlight your key, right click and chose COPY

  • Now paste it into a Private Message or e-mail.

    You have now completed the task of making and copying a Public Key so it can be sent to a friend. You can continue to copy/paste to other friends in yet more Private Messages or e-mails.

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    Importing New PGP Keys.

    Let’s move on to what to do with a Public PGP Key when it arrives from a friend in a Private Message or an e-mail.

  • Click and drag the mouse over it all so it highlights the PGP Key (select all).
    Then right-click and COPY.

  • Right click on the PGP task bar icon and click on PGP KEYS.

  • In the screen of PGP Keys that will appear, simply right-click mouse in anywhere in the box that contains your Keys, then select PASTE.

  • A screen will appear with a Public Key in it. Select IMPORT.

  • You have now added another Public PGP Key in your PGP Keyring.

    return to index

    Encrypting a Text Message to Send.

    Now we will cover how to encrypt your first PGP message.

  • Write your e-mail as you normally do in the email text box or your notepad. Highlight the text to be encrypted, right-click it and select COPY.

  • Click the PGP task bar icon and select CLIPBOARD then select ENCRYPT.

  • A screen called PGP Tools = Key Selection Dialog will appear.

  • Drag the Public Key of the user you intend to send to down to the bottom pane. If your Key is not already dragged down to the bottom pane, you may want to do so now. If you do not, you will not be able to decrypt it yourself later. Now press OK.

  • Note: If you check the “secure viewer” check box, it will restrict the message to only being opened in a secure viewer window. This enhances the security as it uses the tempest attack prevention font and also prevents the pgp recipient from being able to copy/paste any portion of the decrypted message.

  • The text has now been encrypted and is waiting on your clipboard, you can now paste that into a Private Message text box or e-mail and send your message.

    You now can send sensitive information safely being assured only the intended user can decrypt it. If it is somehow intercepted by anyone they will need to have the recipients PGP Key and their unique passphrase. This data is pretty secure.

    return to index

    Decrypting a PGP Message.

    Follow these steps to decrypt a PGP encrypted message when it arrives from a friend in a Private Message or an e-mail.

  • Open your encrypted message. Then highlight the text to be decrypted and select COPY.

  • Click the PGP task bar icon and go to CLIP BOARD then select DECRYPT/VERIFY.

  • Enter the passphrase for your Public PGP Key then press OK.

  • A text screen will appear and your message will be decrypted.

    return to index

    PGP Encrypting a File.

    You can also encrypt files on your computer. You can do a single file, multiple files, folders or even .zip’s. You can use this to keep files on your PC safe from others or to send the sensitive files in e-mails.

  • Locate the file or folder you want to encrypt. Right-click on it then go to PGP and select ENCRYPT.

  • A screen called PGP Tools = Key Selection Dialog will appear.
    Your default public key will already be in the bottom pane. If you want to encrypt these files for your own use, then only your key should be in the bottom pane.
  • If however, you are encrypting the file so it can be privately shared with others, then you also will need to drag their key into the bottom pane. You can have several keys in one pgp encryption if needed.
  • You can check the “wipe original” checkbox if you are encrypting files on your computer for total file privacy.
  • Click OK
  • A screen will appear and will encode the files. Now all the files are PGP encrypted.
    You can now send the PGP encrypted file/s being sure only the intended user can decrypt it.

    return to index

    Decrypting a PGP encrypted File.

  • Locate the PGP encrypted files and highlight them. Right-click and go to PGP then select DECRYPT & VERIFY.

  • A screen will appear and show you the only Keys that decrypt the files. Enter your passphrase and press OK.

    The file(s) will then decrypt and a *non-encrypted copy of the file will be placed in the same folder (directory) location as the PGP copy of the same file(s).

    return to index

    PGP Wiping Files

  • Locate the files you want to wipe and highlight them. Then right-click and go to PGP and select Wipe.

  • A confirmation screen will display the files to be wiped. Click Yes.

    The files will now be wiped from the drive.

    return to index

  •   Last modified: 12:20 – Jul 25, 2003  
    Quicklink:  http://overgrow.com/growfaq/1551
    GrowFAQ © 2000-2004 Overgrow
    faq:1551 “What is PGP and how can I use it?”