Email with PGP

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Email with PGP

Here are several methods for setting up encrypted e-mail using PGP. OpenPGP is installed by default in (K)Ubuntu using gpg/gpg2 (GnuPG).

Thunderbird with Enigmail

Thunderbird with Enigmail is available on all major OS platforms (Linux, Mac, Windows) and is therefore the most widely available. Install:

sudo apt-get install thunderbird enigmail
  • Create a new e-mail account. Both Yahoo Mail and Gmail have free e-mail accounts available that can be used with IMAP (which can be used by Thunderbird).
  • Start Thunderbird:
Menu -> Internet -> Thunderbird
  • Set up your new e-mail account in Thunderbird to use IMAP. (In the example, Yahoo Mail is used, but the method is the same for Gmail.) Make sure your firewall allows ports 993 (IMAP) and 465 (SMTP) and 11371 (HKP).
Thunderbird -> file -> New -> Mail Account... -> (Enter Your name, Email address, Password)
-> IMAP: Access folders and messages from multiple computers (ticked) -> Create Account
  • Generate a new OpenPGP key pair:
Thunderbird -> OpenPGP -> Key Management -> Generate -> New Key Pair -> (fill in desired passpharase, if any, and details)
-> Advanced -> Key Size: 1024 (should be sufficient) -> Key type: DSA & El Gamal (should be sufficient) -> Generate key
-> "We highly recommend to generate a revocation certificate for your key..." -> Generate Certificate
  • This method will use pre-selected key servers stored in the default Thunderbird settings. If you wish to add selected key servers (such as keys.gnupg.net and keyserver.ubuntu.com):
Thunderbird -> OpenPGP -> Preferences -> Keyserver -> Specify your keyserver(s): -> keys.gnupg.net, keyserver.ubuntu.com -> OK
  • Turn off HTML in messages:
Thunderbird -> (Email Account ID) -> Composition & Addressing -> Compose messages in HTML format (unticked) -> OK
  • Send and sign encrypted email with your OpenPGP key.
Thunderbird -> Write -> (compose message) -> OpenPGP -> Sign Message (ticked) -> Encrypt Message (ticked) -> Send
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