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What is PGP encryption and OpenPGP? How do they work?

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Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) is an encryption program that offers cryptographic privacy and authentication to establish a higher level of security during data communication.

Developed by Phil Zimmermann in 1991, PGP is used for encrypting, and decrypting communication in various forms — texts, e-mails, other files, and even whole disks.

PGP was originally developed by Phil Zimmermann in 1991. This extra layer of privacy protection was used only when you have something too confidential to share. Eventually, the PGP encryption found its way for open use with the help of OpenPGP which made the software open source and free to use for all.

PGP is a high level of encryption that uses or combines both private-key and public-key encryption. It uses a mix of data compression and hashing along with cryptography to encrypt your data. It also uses symmetric and asymmetric keys to secure data that is transferred over networks.

Also read: What is encryption? 5 types of encryptions explained

How does PGP work?

One uses PGP to send messages to others confidentially. PGP helps in doing so by combining the private-key and the public-key. The sender encrypts his/her message with the help of public-key encryption provided by the receiver. The receiver can provide this unique public-key to whoever wants to send a confidential message.

Once the receiver receives the message, they use their private key to decrypt the received message and hence this personal private-key is kept secret and is only used to decode messages.

What is PGP encryption and OpenPGP? How do they work?

PGP is also used to maintain data integrity. It makes sure that the data being sent or transferred is not tampered with. PGP also uses digital signatures to make sure that the sender and the receiver are both authentic and rightful owners.

Identity certificates are created to ensure that the data sent by the sender is only received by the correct recipient. These certificates are made to detect any sort of data tampering easily.

What is OpenPGP and how does it work?

OpenPGP is a standard of PGP that is open-source and hence can be used by anyone. This term can be used with any program or application that supports the OpenPGP encryption method. Many open source office suites like LibreOffice make use of OpenPGP to protect their documents in real-time.

Using OpenPGP for communications requires both the sender and the receiver to participate in the encryption of data. The OpenPGP method of securing data is approved by the IETF (Internet Engineering Taskforce), which is an organisation that is concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet.

The working of OpenPGP is very similar to that of PGP as they are based on the same principles of encryption and decryption using a combination of private and public keys. OpenPGP mode can also be used in accordance with FTP (File Transfer Protocol) connections to secure your data.

Also read: Should you trust facial recognition technology? The ups and downs

Rajiv Kulkarni

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