What in the world is GnuGP anyway? How is it used? How does it encrypt text and files? How safe is it?

Lets dive right in, GnuPG stands for GNU Privacy Guard and is GNU’s tool for secure communication and data storage. It can be used to encrypt data and to create digital signatures. It includes an advanced key management facility and is compliant with the proposed OpenPGP Internet standard as described in

[RFC-4880]. As such, it is aimed to be compatible with PGP from PGP Corp. and other OpenPGP tools.

So how does encryption and GnuGP really work?
GnuGP is a form of asymmetric encryption where a public key is used to encrypt a file or text or an email and a corresponding private key is used to decrypt the them. Several encryption algorithms can be utilized within Gnu PGP, including the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), which provides a relatively high level of protection (Good Enough for the US Gov). Digital signatures can also be used to sign files to allow the recipient to authenticate the validity of the sender’s signature. Its easier to visualize this process, to help facilitate this, Figure #1 is provided below


(Figure #1. Encrypt/Decrypt Process)

Is it free to use and available to everyone?
Yes. GnuPG is part of the GNU family of tools and applications built and provided in accordance with the Free Software Foundation (FSF) General Public License (GPL). Therefore the software is free to copy, use, modify and distribute in accordance with that license. Please read the file titled COPYING that accompanies the application for more information.

Where can I get GPG?
GPG is available from GnuPG.org. Installation instructions are available there also. Additionally, most Linux distributions include GPG in their standard installation media.

My GPG Public Key
Try it out, below is my Public GPG Key. Use it to encrypt a message and send it to me using the Contact Us Form. Include your email address in the encrypted message so that I can contact you back!

-----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----
Version: GnuPG v2.0.21 (MingW32)
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=wnd5
-----END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----

Come back soon for an upcoming blog about how to use GPG/PGP on Window and Linux