Robb on Encryption
Friday, 15 January 2010
NOTE: Public Key (Updated with some tips on private communication)Here's my public key
Basically, encrypted communications (via simple tools, user interfaces, plug-ins for browsers) and private browsing is easy enough for anyone to use.
Here's a little primer on making your e-mail and browsing relatively secure from government and criminal snooping (by request). You never know, you might need it in the future. I'll do it for the mac (which is what I use)[Windows info in italic brackets]:
1) First thing you need is a PGP encryption kit. Personally, I like a kit called Gnu Privacy Guard. Here it is for the mac.[Here for Windows] Download both the core kit called "Privacy Guard " and the "GPG Keychain" Install them both.
Now to make it easy to use with e-mail.
2) Set up a Google mail account.
3) Download and install the Firefox browser.
4) Download and install FireGPG. It's an add-on to the Firefox browser that allows you to encrypt/decrypt your mail.
How to use it:
5) Use the key manager (click it). Make a new public key by clicking the button on the interface.
6) Start Firefox and enter your gmail account. Send your public key to a friend. Here's how. Right click in the body of the message. Select export. The keychain application pops up. Select the public key you created. The public key appears in a new window. Select copy to clipboard/exit. Paste the key into the body of the message. Send the e-mail. It's a little clunky, but it gets better after that.
7) You can also publish this new key to an open MIT key server (like I did). Just copy and paste it into the window provided and save. You are now searchable by the name and e-mail on the key. Save that link to your bookmarks.
8) If someone sends you a public key that you trust, you can save their key to the keychain. Highlight the string of numbers and select import to do that. When you get an encrypted e-mail from that person in the future, highlight the entire message (including the PGP header) and right click, select decrypt. The message will show up in a new window. Really simple process.
Anonymous browsing is even easier.
Basically, if you want to ensure that nobody can track you easily. You need to do a couple of things.
- Select "private browsing" from the Firefox menu. This prevents your browser from being a spy.
- Download Tor. Install it. Start it up (click it).
- Download the Firefox plug-in for Tor called Torbutton. Customize the toolbar to add the icon for Torbutton to the menu. Click the icon whenever you want to block your IP address from sites you visit.
- If you have extra cycles/bandwidth, become a relay on that network.
Anyway, hope this helps.