About Encryption and Making Your System Secure
What does encryption do for me?
Encryption and cryptographic software has been used in many different ways to make systems more secure. This article discusses only a few ways that such software can make your system more secure, including:
1) Encrypting your email
2) Encrypting your files
To programs are mentioned that will help encrypt information. There are many more programs out there that will help, but these programs are good and a good place to start as any. They have the added benefit of both being free with source code available.
Will encryption stop people from accessing my information?
Encryption simply makes it harder for people to gain access to important information, like passwords or sensitive information in a file. The first thing you should know about encryption is that the algorithm that is used to encrypt can be simple or more complex and that affects how securely what you have encrypted is protected. Encryption systems have been broken when the method of encryption is understood by hackers and is easy to break.
Why bother to encrypt my email?
It should be noted that email is far less secure than paper mail for two very good reasons: first, electronic data can be accessed easily over an Internet and secondly, electronic data is really simple to copy. There is a very good chance that someone has snooped around in your email despite your best intentions to stop it.
How do I go about encrypting my email?
There are many programs out there that can help you encrypt your email. A very popular one is PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) or its Gnu offshoot GPG.
PGP (http://www.pgpi.org/) self-describes itself this way: This “is a program that gives your electronic mail something that it otherwise doesn’t have: Privacy. It does this by encrypting your mail so that nobody but the intended person can read it. When encrypted, the message looks like a meaningless jumble of random characters.
PGP has proven itself quite capable of resisting even the most sophisticated forms of analysis aimed at reading the encrypted text.”
Why bother to encrypt my files?
The answer to this boils down to what you store on your computer. If you have financial data with important information like social security numbers, email addresses, account numbers and passwords, then you open yourself up to losing very valuable information. Most corporate Internet security employees will attest to the widespread theft of very valuable information. As long as you are connected to the Internet you are vulnerable.
How do I go about encrypting my files?
Windows Privacy Tools (including the Windows Privacy Tray, ie WinPT Tray, and the WinPT Explorer Extensions), is a set of tools that allow you to encrypt your data using GnuPG (see elsewhere on this page). It is a frontend to GnuPG that resides in your system tray that may be used as a universal plug-in to any email software. The software is free.
The above link is to the International PGP Home Page, where you can get free binaries and sources for Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) for a variety of operating systems for either US or non-US countries. You can use PGP to encrypt your email in conjunction with your email client, be it Eudora, ELM, PINE, or whatever. PGP is a public key encryption system, which means that you have two keys (passwords), one which is known only to you and the other is known to your recipient. Messages or documents (or whatever) encoded with one key can only be decoded with the other. You can read more about this from the PGP FAQs at the site. Note that the free versions of PGP lag behind the commercial (paid) PGP Whole Disk Encryption and PGP Desktop Email Encryption.
GPG, a.k.a. GnuPG, is the GNU version of PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), a public key encryption system. Like all things GNU, it is free and can be freely distributed and modified. It is generally compatible with the newer PGP versions (depending on the encryption algorithms you choose); but you should read their FAQ for more details.
The information above was obtained from the following site which has more details on security encryption.