GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG) Explained

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GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG) Explained

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 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

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