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 Forum index » Off-Topic Area » Security
Simple email encryption
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seadog

Joined: 02 Feb 2007
Posts: 13
Location: Southern England or Kansas USA

PostPosted: Sun 27 Nov 2016, 21:25    Post subject:  Simple email encryption
Subject description: A solution when the latest gnupg builds will not work in Puppy.
 

Good Evening Chaps,
I am running tahr 6.0.5 32bit on several computers, but cannot get the gnupg to work correctly. I believe it is a problem with libpinentry. It seems there is many a person running Puppy with such problems. Ok, here is the way out, using a 'proper' system. I prepared this one earlier, hi hi.


Good evening chaps.
With the rise of spying and increase in data collection by various interested parties, it seems strange that most people are not encrypting and digitally signing their email. Many Microsoft users spend money on anti-virus tools etc, yet still send email in clear, including business. It doesn't matter what operating system you use, (I use Tahr 6.0.5, running from a usb stick), a clear text email sitting on a server is a tempting target to certain people. Many people say that they have nothing to hide, but all data is valuable and as such should be encrypted. I will explain how I have set up my email to acheive this. This is only a basic walk through, but should cover the main points.

1. Get yourself a proper email account. Mine is with GMX, based in Germany, noted for its privacy and security.
2. Use a good email client. I use Seamonkey, but Thunderbird is also fine. They are both similar and quite easy to set up.

If you decide to use a new GMX account, before it is possible to access it using an external client, you will need to configure it. Just sign in with a browser and go to 'email' - 'settings' then tick the box to enable IMAP and POP.

There are two main methods of encryption. The first is using digital certification and the second is using gpg. The latter is probably used more, but both have certain advantages. Both systems allow for digital signatures, which will give an indication if the email has been opened or changed during transit. Yes, that has happened to me, so it does work.

I was going to write something on gpg encryption also, but as this system can only use plain text and can suffer from numerous key related problems, not to mention problems arising from the various versions of the different libraries. Thus I will limit this to the simple digital certification system.

To use digital certification to digitally sign and encrypt email, first get a certificate from a certification authority. I use Comodo,

(https://www.comodo.com/home/email-security/free-email-certificate.php)

which gives you a certificate for your email account, valid for a year. Having been issued by Comodo, it can be fully trusted. When you apply for a certificate, use Seamonkey, to make life easy. You make your request, they then download your private part of the key, then send you an email to enable verification. The certificate is then downloaded to your email client. Using Seamonkey, you go to the email and newsgroups accounts set up in the main menue, then the security option. If all has gone correctly, you will be able to select this certificate. I would also check the 'sign email by default' option, as by doing that, you are giving the receiver your public part of the key. On receiving a signed email, the client should automatically place that public key into the certificate container, ready for future use should you so wish to do so.
This system is clean, trusted, fully automatic and probably the best way to go.

Seamonkey can make use of either system, so by installing both, all bases are covered. The openpgp is probably the most commonly used for personal use, while business would go for the certification system. I suspect the reason is that most users neither know where to get the certificates, nor that they are free. Well, you do now.

When using the certificate from Comodo with Thunderbird, I did encounter one problem. The certificate was not reconised by Thunderbird, although it was in the correct place. To correct this, I used Seamonkey to set up the certificate, then backed up the complete certificate to the hard drive. I then imported this certificate to the correct place in Thunderbird. The certificate was reconised and worked.

One problem with openpgp is that users sometimes change keys or loose them, without informing their contacts, treating the keys as 'throwaways', which tends to muck up the whole thing. Certificates tend to be permanent.
Another thing, only plain text email is allowed with openpgp. Email has moved on and so must we, thus considering the problems arising using the openpgp, the easiest and most reliable method is to use a certificate.
It is end to end encryption, clean, neat and it is what industry uses. They don't use gnupg for encryption.

One last thing, you will want to test your system 'live' when it is built, or perhaps just ask a question. You can reach me at 'bill.sykes@gmx.co.uk'. Don't forget to digitally sign your email.

For the players....download Tor browser. I think OscarTalks (good job and thank you) has made the sfs for it, on this forum. Run the browser and find the network settings. Just change the settings in your email client to these and as long as Tor is up and running, access your gmx account. Seamonkey can change between accounts, so can run Tor and normal email communications.

Along the same idea, run Pidgin with XMPP account, but run it with OTR plugin and inside of Tor. Or, better for one to one chat, use Torchat, which does not run under Windows.

Have fun now.
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Antipodal

Joined: 26 Mar 2009
Posts: 237
Location: The other side of the world

PostPosted: Thu 15 Dec 2016, 01:32    Post subject:    

seadog wrote:

I was going to write something on gpg encryption also,

Please, go ahead. Exclamation !!!
And make it as simple as possible.
Keep in mind I'am almost a digital illiterate Tahrpup 6.0.5 user and Seamonkey lover who would like to GPG encrypt from time to time.
Thank you in advance
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rockedge


Joined: 11 Apr 2012
Posts: 640
Location: Connecticut, United States

PostPosted: Thu 15 Dec 2016, 11:16    Post subject:  

With Tahr 6.0.5 I have success running Enigmail add-on in Thunderbird which uses gnupg2_2.0.22. I installed gnupg2_2.0.22 using the PPM and then installed the t-bird add-on and set up the public and private keys. Works well to encrypt email for me.
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drunkjedi


Joined: 24 May 2015
Posts: 897

PostPosted: Thu 15 Dec 2016, 11:21    Post subject:  

I am not a secure person.
But today while browsing Tor browser site, I saw Tor Birdy.
A addon for Thunderbird to use Tor networks for emails.
Take a look.
https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/torbirdy

It's in beta, but may interest you as a additional security with your encryption methods.
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Antipodal

Joined: 26 Mar 2009
Posts: 237
Location: The other side of the world

PostPosted: Sat 17 Dec 2016, 15:57    Post subject:  

rockedge wrote:
With Tahr 6.0.5 I have success running Enigmail add-on in Thunderbird which uses gnupg2_2.0.22. I installed gnupg2_2.0.22 using the PPM and then installed the t-bird add-on and set up the public and private keys. Works well to encrypt email for me.


Wow Surprised Shocked Smile Exclamation That's a generous tip Exclamation I'll have to give that a try as soon as I can. Thank you indeed.

drunkjedi wrote:
...today... I saw Tor Birdy....an addon for Thunderbird to use Tor networks for emails.
Take a look.
https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/torbirdy

It's in beta, but may interest you as a additional security with your encryption methods.


That too is a generous tip but I will have to wait until my learning curve grows taller before giving it a try. Thank you Smile
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