How to use encryption with Gmail


I'm currently reading Cory Doctorow's novel Little Brother which includes a part about encrypted messaging, and even wrapping messages first in my private key and then your public key.

I'd like to play around with that but from what I've googled so far it seems to be a rather convoluted process, requiring installing several program components, and creating an encrypted message requires doing some manual file manipulation.

I'm surprised that I can't find something like a Firefox plugin that integrates encryption into Gmail. I've seen that there is a Thunderbird PGP plugin, but I don't use T-bird. I also saw a blog post that Google apparently toyed with PGP support in 2009, but nothing has appeared in the meantime.

To use encryption with Gmail, is there a simpler method than creating a file locally, then encrypting that file, and finally attaching it to a regular Gmail message?

Best Answer

Generally there are two approaches to achieve your goal. For this example I would tie with GPG as far as its open alternative to proprietary PGP, which I do not have license to use it. Basically you will need OpenPGP library as well as your public/private key pair.

Using Gmail in web browser

These are seamlessly integrated into browser, so in your Gmail session will be shown additional buttons on encrypted message - show original, decrypt and encrypt for new messages.

Using own Thick Email Client

These are integrated into particular clients so you can import your keys as well as keys of your friends or add them on the fly. You can encrypt/decrypt message via context button.

Generating key pairs

I prefer to use gpg4win which is delightful for this task using its front-end Kleopatra.

Final adjustments

I would advice to turn on forced SSL encrypted while visiting Gmail which can be configured in Settings -> General.

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