What is GPG?
GPG is a program for encrypting your files, including
- Anything else you can store digitally
What is encryption?
Encryption is a way of ensuring that only people you choose
are able to read your information. Encryption goes back thousands of years
to the Roman empire. It is used every day
HTTPS protocol, which ensures that the websites you visit
are only visible to you, and that the site has not been changed in transit.
Cryptography therefore has two major functions:
- To encrypt data: to make sure only people you choose can read it, and
- To sign data: to ensure that information you read has not been altered by third parties.
How do I get GPG?
Some binary releases:
How do I use GPG?
Now we get to the fun stuff! GPG uses what’s called asymmetric encryption, which allows anyone to send secure messages to you, but only you to read them. In order to take full advantage, you’ll need to
- Make a key
- Publish your key
- Start signing things
Make a key
You need a passphrase to use a GPG key. This prevents anyone from using your key.
Enter your passphrase into the prompt that pops up.
Publish your key
Start signing things
- Sign things with git:
gpg config --global commit.gpgsign true
- Sign your emails with supporting clients:
- Join Keybase
- GPG handbook
- More frontends
- A much more thorough explanation
- GPG homepage
- FSF on email self-defense
Prompts are repeated
Note that the following prompt appears twice when you generate a key:
We need to generate a lot of random bytes. It is a good idea to perform some other action (type on the keyboard, move the mouse, utilize the disks) during the prime generation; this gives the random number generator a better chance to gain enough entropy.
This is because there are actually two keys being generated: 1 private key and 1 public. The private you will store on your computer securely. The public you will upload to a keyserver for anyone to see.
What if I’m not comfortable with shell quoting?