If you are looking for a safe method to encrypt your messages and files, GPG and PGP are two ways to get the job done, without really spending even a penny. As the name suggests, Open GPG is an open-source encryption methodology, and is free for use. Before we really delve into the working, let’s start off with the basics.
GPG is the short form of Gnu Privacy Guard. This was developed as an open source and free alternative to PGP, the famous commercial hybrid encryption product.
GPG as well as PGP not only encode and decode your system data, but they can also be used to validate files and emails you exchange with other people. For instance, if A is sending emails and files to B, then B can check if the data has been modified by any third party on the way and can also ensure that A is only the sender. Moreover, with such applications, A also can ensure that only B will be able to decode and view or read the sent data.
OpenGPG encryption is the most utilized email encoding standard these days. It makes use of public keys in conjunction with hash function and symmetric cryptography to offer security solutions for data storage and electronic communications. Any OpenGPG software should provide support for data integrity, authentication, and confidentiality.
GPG maintains 3 files under the home directory of every user (under ~/.gnupg). These files are:
• secring.gpg: This file contains the secret key
• pubring.gpg: It contains the public key
• trustdb.gpg: This file maintains trust-levels (web of trust of keys in public key ring)
So OpenGPG is an encryption protocol, while GPG and PGP are the practical implementations that can be used for encrypting files.
How it Works
GPG uses two methods of encryption – symmetric encryption and asymmetric encryption.
It encodes the text with a key produced with keyboard strokes and mouse movements and links the message with the key generated. So, only the receiver can decrypt the text by using it.
Then the receiver gets the text, he decodes the key with private key and uses that key to decode the actual message.
In simple words, when the secret message is sent to a person, it will be coded with a secret password. If this message is accessed without the right password, the text will appear gibberish. The set password has to be shared with the receiver through telephone or other means after which the authorized person can use the password to access the secret message.
On the Whole
Thus, OpenGPG encryption is an exceptional way of managing cryptographic signatures to emails or files for integrity and validity in addition to being used as a tool to encrypt and decrypt sensitive data.
Try it out for your next project, and you’ll most certainly feel the difference in level of encryption, if you are well versed with cryptographic techniques.