by April 10, 2002 0 comments



PGP or Pretty Good Privacy is an encryption technique to keep your sensitive data safe from unintended users. It works on the principal of Public Key Cryptography wherein public and private keys are generated. To send someone a private e-mail message, you use a copy of that person’s public key to encrypt the mail, which can only be deciphered by that person’s private key. Similarly, if someone sends you encrypted mail, they use a copy of your public key to encrypt the data. Only you can decipher this mail by using your private key. Each private key is also password protected so nobody can use it except you. 

PGP Version 7.0.3

Meant for: Individuals and companies
Features: Supports Win 3.x/95/98/ 2000/NT 4.0/Me, Mac, Unix, OS/2,PalmOS, BeOS, Plugins for Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora, ICQ, integrated firewall, VPN support
Pros: Easy to use and configure, supports various platforms, free
Contact: www.pgpi.org/products/pgp/versions/freeware/ 

The latest version of PGP is 7.0.3, and it’s available for Win 3.x/9x/2000/NT/Me, Mac, Unix, OS/2, PalmOS and BeOS. We’ve given the Windows version on this month’s CD, and other versions can be downloaded from www.pgpi.org/ products/pgp/ versions/freeware/. It’s easy to install, and you can choose from a range of components, including plug-ins for MS Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora and ICQ. The ICQ plug-in lets you easily exchange keys from within ICQ and encrypt your ICQ conversations, which includes chat sessions and instant messages. 

You can also install the PGPnet Personal firewall/IDS/VPN component, which not only protects your system from unauthorized access, but also lets you communicate securely with other PGPnet users on your network and around the world. Finally, you’ll have to generate your key pair, for which the process is also pretty simple and only requires you to enter some information like your full name, e-mail a password for your private key. 

After a restart, a small PGP icon is added to your system tray. It has a component called PGPKeys that allows you to post your public key to a public key server on the Internet. Once on the server your public key is accessible to everyone around the world. This component also acts as your key ring, where you can store the public keys of your acquaintances. 

The new version of PGP is backward compatible with older versions starting from 2.6. It also allows you to easily encrypt any file with text on your system by choosing encrypt current window from your PGP icon in your system tray. You’ll then have to choose whose public key you want to use to encrypt that file.

Similarly, in your e-mail client you can choose to encrypt and also digitally sign your mail before sending it. In Outlook Express for instance you’ll see PGP icons added in your top toolbar for doing this. 

The Bottom line A very useful and easy to use package, which can be used by any organization or individual to keep their confidential data safe.

Sachin Makhija  at PCQ Labs

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