Many of the hundreds of billions of emails that traverse the Internet each day contain sensitive information. These emails transmit directly into the cloud, making them a perfect target for hackers bent on interception. When this data travels in unencrypted plain text, it takes no genius to decipher.
OpenPGP and gpg4o
To aid in resolving the problem, Giegerich & Partners has developed gpg4o, an add-in that facilitates the encryption and decryption of emailed messages as well as their attachments. Gpg4o supports the encryption of emails in HTML format as well as signing and the importation of keys through drag and drop.
Basing its protocol on GnuPG and following the standards of OpenPGP, gpg4o operates with Microsoft Outlook 2010 and Microsoft Outlook 2013.
To enable the best in security, gpg4o follows asymmetric procedures of the OpenPGP standard and utilizes two keys. While one is private and must remain secret, the other is public and meant for use of the sender’s contacts.
It helps to think of asymmetric encryption as a padlock for which only the recipients have the key. Anyone sending an encrypted email must first obtain the public key of the intended receiver. The recepient of an email may decrypt it with use of the private key and a valid passphrase.
The Importance of Encryption
Email encryption can assist in protecting against the data theft that is so rampant today. It provides a safe means of transmitting such sensitive information as social security numbers, credit card information and medical records and therefore helps with identity theft too. Schools and universities rely on the protocol to protect information concerning students, staff and faculty. Special encryption laws, e.g. in the state of Nevada (USA) require all businesses to encrypt the external transmission of personal information.
Safety in the Cloud
The particular strength of theOpenPGP standard is its ability to secure emails and their attachments in the cloud as well as on mobile devices. It also enables verification of the messages sender through digital signing.
If it’s too sensitive to send in a postcard, its best to encrypt it. OpenPGP has emerged as a trusted protocol in the critical field of email encryption, and by its adherence to OpenPGP standards, gpg4o stands as an equally valuable resource.