How to Use PGP for Linux
Use world-class encryption to keep your secrets safe in Linux. Thereupon, the Linux GnuPrivacy Guard (GPG) command protects your privacy. GPG allows you to safely encrypt files so that only the target recipient can decrypt them. The GPG command complies with the OpenPGP standard. We are going to learn how to use PGP for Linux to encrypt and decrypt files.
The OpenPGP is modeled on a program known as Pretty Good Privacy (PGP). Ordinarily, PGP was written by Phil Zimmerman in 1991.
GPG works on the idea of two encryption keys per person. For instance, each party has a private key and a public key. The public key decrypts something that got encrypted using the private key.
Now, to securely send a file, encrypt it with your private key and the recipient’s public key. So then, to decrypt the data, they need their private key and your public key. You’ll learn that public keys must be shared. Thus, you require the public key of the recipient to encrypt a file. After that, the recipient will need your public key to decrypt it.
There is no danger in making your public keys public. As a matter of fact, there are Public Key Servers meant for that very purpose. However, private keys must remain private.
There are more steps taken in setting up GPG than there are in using it. Even so, you need to set it up only once.
How Can You Use PGP For Linux
To use PGP to exchange secure emails, you have to use three programs. These are:
As mentioned before, GnuPG encrypts and decrypts the content of your mail. Mozilla Thunderbird is an email client that enables you to read and write emails without using a browser. But Enigmail is an add-on to Mozilla Thunderbird that binds it together.
We will learn how to use PGP with Mozilla Thunderbird that performs a similar function to Outlook. So, you can install Thunderbird and try it out with PGP with a new email client. Also, you can find other solutions to use PGP for Linux with your customary software.
Using PGP doesn’t entirely encrypt all aspects of your email. For this reason, the sender and receiver data are unencrypted. PGP doesn’t encrypt the subject line of your emails. This is why you should use a generic subject line when sending encrypted emails. So then, using Mozilla Thunderbird with the Enigmail add-ons gives you a better way to encrypt the body of your email.
First, download all the software needed and install it. After that, end with configuration and how to see the result.
What are the Computer Requirements?
An internet connection
A computer running Ubuntu GNOME 16.04
An email account
This guide uses the following versions:
Linux: Ubuntu GNOME 16.04
Mozilla Thunderbird 45.2.0
Pretty Good Privacy
PGP helps protect your email communications from unintended recipients. To some extent, it can also save your emails from getting read if your computer is stolen or hacked. PGP can also prove that an email came from a particular person and not another sender. It is crucial if you are getting targeted for misinformation or surveillance.
You will need to install some extra software to use PGP. The software should work with your current email program. You will also have to create a private key that you will keep private. The private key is necessary for decrypting emails sent to you. It also signs emails that you send to show that they genuinely come from you.
Furthermore, you’ll learn how to distribute your public key.
How to Install Mozilla Thunderbird
GnuPG 2.1.11 has a default Ubuntu GNOME 16.04. On the Ubuntu GNOME 16.04 desktop, click the “Activities” button.
The desktop changes show a dock on the left and a search field at the top.
At the search field, type “Software” and click the “Software” icon.
The Software center will then open a small window.Click the “Let’s Go Shopping” button.
Once there, you can see the different programs displayed. Into the software search field, type “Thunderbird.” Next to the Thunderbird mail, click the “Install” button.
Ubuntu will then ask you to enter your password to install any software. Following that, enter your password and click the “Authenticate” button.Once the installation is complete, close the Software center by clicking the “X” button.
You can now access Thunderbird by typing “Thunderbird” into the search field. Thunderbird will give you a new experience, yet it is not that different overall.
Adding a Mail Account to Mozilla Thunderbird
Fill in your name, email address, and password into your email account. Mozilla doesn’t have access to your email account or password. Then click the “Continue” button.
In most cases, Mozilla Thunderbird automatically detects the necessary settings. Yet, it doesn’t have complete information in some cases, and you’ll have to enter it yourself. Once all the information gets entered correctly, click the “Done” button. Now, you can try sending a test email to people.
How to Install Enigmail
Start by clicking the “Menu” button, also known as the Hamburger button, and select “Add ons.”
You will then be directed to an Add-ons Manager tab.
Enter “Enigmail” to look for Enigmail on the Mozilla Add-on site into the Add-on search field. Enigmail will be the first option, so click the “Install” button.
After the installation is complete, Mozilla Thunderbird will request to restart the browser to activate Enigmail. So then, click the “Restart Now” button.
An additional window will now open up, and the process of setting up the Enigmail add-on will start. Select the “Start setup now” button and then hit the “Next” button.
Configuration Steps Required
In 2018, researchers revealed several vulnerabilities in PGP. As a result, Thunderbird and Enigmail developers have been working on ways to protect against EFAIL vulnerabilities. Following each new fix made by the developers, it made it harder for hackers to get through Enigmail’s defenses.
Enigmail now protects against most known attacks even with HTML on. Consequently, EFAIL vulnerability demonstrates how dangerous HTML in email is for security. Hence, we recommend that users Turn of HTML by going View > Message Body As > Plain Text.
Setting Up a Public Key and Private Key to enable PGP for Linux
First, come up with a strong passphrase for your private key. After that, click the “Next” button. Then, a window will open to provide you a place to save the revocation certificate. We then recommend saving the file on an encrypted disk. Therefore, choose a location where you want to save the file and click the “Save” button.
Again, Enigmail will then give further information about saving the revocation certificate file. Hit the “OK” button. In this case, you are now done with generating the public key and the private key.
Encryption keeps hackers at bay. Otherwise, they will access your data, steal it and even put it on sale on the dark web. In turn, other criminals will buy the data for fraud reasons. The darknet gives cybercriminals a platform to buy and sell contraband that is otherwise hard to trade.
Dark web users use the Tor Browser to cover their tracks and avoid law enforcement. Note that not all dark web users have malicious intent. Most transactions in the dark web are usually in the form of Bitcoin and Monero. The reason being, cryptocurrency is hard to track.
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