Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Cool guy

Gmail, PGP, and the End to End Solution

Yeah, I should be studying. But before I head to the library to piece together my responses to the other two possible questions on the ethics exam I'll be taking tomorrow, I thought I'd perform a public service by explaining briefly how to get PGP working with Gmail using free tools. That's right. You can protect your privacy using free tools with Gmail.

Windows XP
Thunderbird 1.0, available for download at www.mozilla.org.
Windows Privacy Tools, available for download at SourceForge. WinPT comes with an open source encryption program, GPG, which is compatible with PGP-style encryption.
Enigmail - an extension for Thunderbird that allows it to work with GPG. It's available at enigmail.mozdev.org.
Gmail. Let me know if you need an invitation. I've got a couple.

Download and install Thunderbird, and WinPT. WinPT will walk you through the process of creating a PGP compatible key for your gmail account. Instructions for setting up Thunderbird to read gmail (because it's pop3 compatible) are at gmail, under "Settings", "Forwarding and POP". Enable POP, and click on the Configuration instructions link.
Now download and install Enigmail. You'll probably have to download Enigmail to your hard drive, then open Thunderbird and go to "Tools"->"Extensions". Select the "install" button. Point it to the location where you saved Enigmail, and let it install Enigmail. Now restart Thunderbird.

When Thunderbird re-installs, you'll need to configure Enigmail. If it doesn't pull up a wizard to walk you through that, you can configure it through the new "Enigmail" menu. Select "Preferences". Enigmail needs to know where the GPG executable is. It should be in the same folder where WinPT was installed, in the GnuPG folder. If you installed it with default settings in a windows system, that's "c:\program files\Windows Privacy Tools\GnuPG\gpg.exe"

And that's it. You have an e-mail program that handles PGP compatible keys (Thunderbird and Enigmail), set to send and receive gmail.

UPDATE 1/17/05. This is by far the most popular post on this site. I'd like to know how useful these ideas and tools are. If you use this process, please let me know what you thought of it by sending me a quick email to zach *dot* ricks *at* gmail *dot* com. Likewise if you found this process difficult/impractical/non-functional. Thanks