Christopher B. Browne's Home Page

2. PGP Web Links

PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) is a program designed to provide secure communications using the following three primary components:

PGP contains various other functions (e.g. - routines to manage generation of truly random numbers typically seeded using system timing values that are known to be truly random), tools for managing and authentication of public keys, a data compression algorithm (compressed data is smaller and generally appears more nearly random than the original data), and code to turn messages into "armored text" form so that even binary data can be transmitted using email.

There is also the option of signing plain text, that is, creating a signature for a document that is left in plain, readable form. The point of this is that it allows me to make a public statement and provide authentication that it is indeed I that made that statement, and not someone else masquerading as me. I haven't personally had call to need this functionality; the people that do are those that make CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team) announcements of security problems. When they announce that security "holes" have been found, they sign the plaintext announcements to provide some degree of confidence that it is indeed CERT that has announced the problem, and not someone else wishing to cause trouble.

PGP has recently started to be extended ( OpenPGP ) to allow users to specify the use of other encryption algorithms. This allows PGP to be more freely usable as RSA and IDEA are both patented algorithms.

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