Philip Zimmermann and PGP

16 June, 2008 at 21:45 1 comment

Philip R. Zimmermann is the creator of Pretty Good Privacy, an email encryption software package. Originally designed as a human rights tool, PGP was published for free on the Internet in 1991. This made Zimmermann the target of a three-year criminal investigation, because the government held that US export restrictions for cryptographic software were violated when PGP spread worldwide. Despite the lack of funding, the lack of any paid staff, the lack of a company to stand behind it, and despite government persecution, PGP nonetheless became the most widely used email encryption software in the world. After the government dropped its case in early 1996, Zimmermann founded PGP Inc.

Zimmermann has received numerous technical and humanitarian awards for his pioneering work in cryptography. In 2008 PC World named him one of the Top 50 Tech Visionaries of the last 50 years. In 2003 he was included on the Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum Wall of Fame, and in 2001 he was inducted into the CRN Industry Hall of Fame. In 2000 InfoWorld named him one of the Top 10 Innovators in E-business. In 1999 he received the Louis Brandeis Award from Privacy International, in 1998 a Lifetime Achievement Award from Secure Computing Magazine, and in 1996 the Norbert Wiener Award from Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility for promoting the responsible use of technology. He also received the 1995 Chrysler Award for Innovation in Design, the 1995 Pioneer Award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the 1996 PC Week IT Excellence Award, and the 1996 Network Computing Well-Connected Award for “Best Security Product.” In 1995 Newsweek named Zimmermann one of the “Net 50”, the 50 most influential people on the Internet. In 2006 eWeek ranked PGP 9th in the 25 Most Influential and Innovative Products introduced since the invention of the PC in 1981…

PGP overview

PGP is a computer program that enables you to scramble email messages so that they can only be read by the people you want to read them.

Sending normal emails is like using postcards instead of letters – anyone can read them en-route. When you send an email to someone else, the contents may pass through a dozen other computers. Anyone in control of these could easily see what you have written. Also, if your computer falls into the hands of the authorities, they would be able to look back over all your past emails. Even if you think you’ve deleted them they can still be lurking on your disc, and computer forensics experts will be able to retrieve them.

This guide will take you through the basic steps necessary to install and use PGP on a computer running Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, or XP. This won’t work on a computer running an older version of Windows, like Windows 3.1. There is a version of PGP for Apple Macs, but the installation procedure will be slightly different and this document doesn’t describe it.

First, you need a copy of the program. If you have a PGP setup CD already you can use this.

If you don’t have a PGP setup CD, you can always download PGP from the website at The CD has a copy of PGP version 6.5.8. Even though this is quite an old version, it is the most trusted as it has been carefully scrutinised by experts for several years. The later versions may have hidden weaknesses that are yet to be revealed.

There are two basic security issues concerning PGP and emails:

  • Firstly, whether someone intercepting your scrambled emails as they travel through the internet can read them.
  • Secondly, whether someone with physical access to your computer can read your scrambled messages.

PGP is almost certainly unbreakable as regards the first case, so you should start using it to scramble your everyday emails straight away. Remember the more emails sent using PGP, the better, because then the people using them don’t stand out so much. So even if you’re just forwarding someone a joke you’ve received, use PGP to scramble the message. If the authorities raid your house and get your computer, there is some small opportunity for them to see some of the scrambled messages you have sent if you don’t take appropriate precautions. So don’t start using PGP for really important emails until you’re happy you understand the risks.

But the most important thing is to start using PGP and encouraging other people to use it.

For how use it please follow this link


Entry filed under: Cryptography. Tags: , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Recent Links Tagged With "pgp" - JabberTags  |  7 November, 2008 at 20:04

    […] public links >> pgp Philip Zimmermann and PGP Saved by matthewturkey on Thu 06-11-2008 PGP Desktop Professional v9.7.1 Saved by jpvalenz on Sat […]


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