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Encryption Security Your Rights Online

An Introduction to GNU Privacy Guard 121

An anonymous reader writes "This is a great article about GnuP . . . "In the first half of this article David Scribner discussed the various uses that GNU Privacy Guard could bring to your business or personal life in enhancing security of your digital documents and files, as well as the basics in getting started with GnuPG. As there is so much more to public-key security than command-line operations, in this second half I will continue with importing and exporting keys, building (and keeping) your 'web of trust' sound, and a few of the more popular GUI front ends available for GnuPG . . ."
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An Introduction to GNU Privacy Guard

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  • The Anonymous Reader (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Amazing Quantum Man ( 458715 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @04:36PM (#4339305) Homepage
    "the first half of this article David Scribner discussed ..., in this second half I will..." (emphasis mine).

    Gee, could the "anonymous reader" be David Scribner giving himself a shameless plug? See the above quote.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 26, 2002 @04:47PM (#4339397)
    Yes. The summary listed on slashdot's front page is a quote from the second half of the article. I believe the reason that the awkward phrase exists is because David was worried about continuity issues when DesktopLinux republished the article in two parts. When David originally wrote the article for, he had intended the work to be one long part.

    Did David submit it hismelf? Probably either he or one of a small handful of people that know him (not I personally).

    But if that's the case, why as an "Anonymous Coward?" I can only speak for myself, but I so rarely make comments or submissions at slashdot that the need to remember another password and the storage space for account info at slashdot would be wasted.

    James Blackwell, []

  • by wackybrit ( 321117 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @04:58PM (#4339456) Homepage Journal
    GnuPG is definitely, certainly, and really the way to go with secure encryption and security systems, here's why..

    The simple and undisputed -- and often argued -- fact is that we've come a long way, and the majority of large businesses are now using Linux as both a desktop and server OS which means these things are efficient to do.

    GnuPG's (shouldn't that be GNUPG since GNU is an acronym?) ease of use and its (almost) seamless connectivity with most Linux communications applications allows the average workplace user to encrypt documents and files, preventing PR-disasteresque leaks -- such as the recent leak of the salary details of Lycos' staff to []

    The seamless and very good encryption and decryption system allows staff of lots of big and small companies to simultaneously access and also work on their valuable and secure data as usual, but means that even if sites like F**kedCompany get hold of it, it's no use to them. Copying and pasting will just result in goobledygook being produced.

    GnuPG's automated hyperencryption routines also mean that it could have some extremely useful and oblique military functionality, allowing our brave patriots to fight terrorism around the world.

    One such example is in the encryption of numeric data such as numbers like digits between 0 and digits under 9. These encyrption routines can improve the efficiency of this by 24%.
  • by z-man ( 103297 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @05:08PM (#4339507)
    Crypto is not necessary about hiding, but can be (as coined Ayn Rand I believe), the minorities protection against the oppression of the majority. And this is something that is vitally important.
  • Re:Ok... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 26, 2002 @05:58PM (#4339892)
    One small success story for our small e-commerce company. We need a method of securing credit card numbers for long-term storage after the sale (yes we needed to do this). To do this we used GNUPG to create a "data vault" that ensured that credit card numbers in storage would be safe even if a hacker gained complete control over the machine.

    We used GNUPG to split the public key and private key across two machines. The first machine is our public web server and can encrypt and store the credit card numbers with the public key but not decrypt the them. The second machine (very secured and locked down) can encrypt the data but doesn't have access to the stored credit card numbers. A third machine (in this case a browser) shuttles the between the systems when it is needed. Since the machines are widely separated it makes any successful attack much harder.

    We chose GNUPG because it already had robust public/private key encryption built in and used an open standard for representing data so that data recovery would be possible even 10 years from now. The only complaint is that there was no API available so we had to create a COM wrapper for it (yeah I know it was a IIS/ASP site).

    If anybody is interested in the source code for the COM wrapper it can be downloaded here:

    Normal disclaimers apply. I take no responsibility for what it may do but we have used it without complaint. Only works when GNUPG is in batch mode. It is one of those things that I always meant to release under the GPL but didn't get around to it because I never did documentation. BTW here is how it works:

    Set gpg = Server.CreateObject("qwerksoft.gnupg")
    gpg.SetPath %Path%
    gpg.SetRecipient %Recipient%

    s = "Text to be encrypted"
    Response.Write s + vbNewLine

    s = gpg.Encrypt(s)
    Response.Write s + vbNewLine

    s = gpg.Decrypt(s)
    Response.Write s + vbNewLine

    Maybe if a few more people use this it will reduce the number of stolen cards floating around.
  • by JojoLinkyBob ( 110971 ) <> on Thursday September 26, 2002 @06:46PM (#4340228) Homepage
    After reading Crypto, and now this Slashdot post, PGP has really heightened my interest.

    I'm particularly curious about how secure the GnuPG key-gen process is. How "pseudo-random" is it? What's the likelihood that I could generate a private key matching someone else's?
    Should I be concerned?
  • Needs a LGPL lib (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @06:50PM (#4340256)
    GPG only runs from the command line meaning apps that wish to call it have to construct a command-line, invoke gpg and parse the results in a pipe. It desperately needs a LGPL lib to relieve this burden. The only lib so far is gpgme which is GPL making it pretty useless for this task.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 26, 2002 @07:06PM (#4340375)
    because they dont have a right or even a need to see it. just like you dont.

    i may not have something incredibly important to protect.

    but just because i its not important, doesnt mean im going to put a billboard up

The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Paul Erlich