Why encrypting e-mails?

Most e-mail messages you send travel vast distances over many networks, secure and insecure, monitored and unmonitored, passing through and making copies of themselves on servers all over the Internet. In short, pretty much anyone with access to any of those servers - or sniffing packets anywhere along the way - can read your email messages sent in plain text. E-mail encryption software such as PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) is easy, free and offers strong protection against prying eyes.

(Source and more details: http://lifehacker.com/180878/how-to-encrypt-your-email )

What is PGP?

PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) is a mechasism for encryption and authentication of data. PGP allows signing and encrypting e-mails or files and can increase the security of e-mail communication. If you want to communicate with us in a secure way, plase use PGP encryption.

How does PGP work?

Each user has two keys (commonly called a key pair), one a public key, and the other a private one: the user’s public key is freely available to all and must be given to anyone with whom the user wants to exchange information. The private key, on the other hand, is kept private to the user and must never be given away. It acts as the user’s identity and so takes on the importance of a passport, for example. Each key in a pair can decode data encrypted by the other key in that pair - and no other key can do this.

Let us suppose that you wish to send a confidential e-mail to someone called Duncan.

The first thing you need to do is to get hold of Duncan’s public key. You then use this to encrypt your e-mail message to him. The only way of decrypting this e-mail is with Duncan’s private key. (Remember that his private key is the only key that can decrypt this e-mail so provided he hasn’t given it away, only he can decipher it. It doesn’t matter if anyone else gets hold of the message en route. They will see only gibberish.)

When Duncan receives the message his mail program will spot that it’s been encrypted and will ask Duncan to use his private key to decrypt it. In practice, Duncan will be prompted for his pass phrase. It sounds complicated but, in practice, it is no harder than clicking a couple of buttons.

(Source and more details: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/scotmid/pgpweb/pgpintro.shtml )

What do I need to send and receive encrypted e-mails using PGP?
How do I find public PGP keys?

Use this form to look-up PGP keys by entering the name (or e-mail address) in the form below. On the result page click on the key ID of the entry you were looking for.

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