6/16/2006

ecret-say ode-cay

I read a great article on LifeHacker with step-by-step instructions on setting up encryption in Thunderbird. It's actually super easy, and I just did it. My public key block is below.

For those of you not familiar with encryption, the basic idea is that you're communicating in a secret code. When someone sends you a message, they use your public key to encrypt (lock) it. Then, only your private key can decrypt (unlock) it - nobody else can read it.

PGP isn't totally uncrackable, but it's pretty close (with a 2048-bit key, cracking it by brute force on today's average computers would take longer than the known life of the universe). It's not "stake your life on it" level of privacy, because a) it's possible that someone's cracked it in another way and we don't know, and b) in 10 years time, a brute-force approach to our currently encrypted stuff will be trivial (especially with DNA computers and other massively parrallel algorithms). But in practice, that doesn't matter now - encryption between two people using PGP is (for all intents and purposes) private.

I like the idea of using encryption because it jives with our perception of how we see the world. When we write emails, we act like it's a private conversation; but that's simply not true. Anyone along the way -- from ISPs to random people sniffing packets on a network -- can read your email, and it probably happens more than you think. This is especially true in corporate environments where the management has not only the capability but the legal right to read anything you write on their computers. With encryption, though, it really is the case that (as we all assume) only the people involved in the conversation can read the message. Our assumptions of privacy become a reality.

Anybody else out there use PGP encryption? Wanna swap keys? Here's mine.


-----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.3 (MingW32)
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=RDPf
-----END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----

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