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Linux Gazette: Cryptography, PGP and Pine

Nov 25, 2000, 12:09 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Matteo Dell'Omodarme)

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"PGP is a program developped by Phil R. Zimmermann that allows you to communicate in a secure way over an insecure channel. Using PGP you can easily and securely protect the privacy of your data by encrypting them so that only intended individuals can read it. PGP is based on public key cryptography: two complementary keys, called a key pair, are used to maintain secure communications. One of the keys is designated as a private key to which only you have access and the other is a public key which you freely exchange with other PGP users. Both your private and your public keys are stored in keyring files."

"In order to use PGP features, the first operation you must accomplish is generating a key pair. ... The generated key pair is placed on your public and secret keyrings in your $HOME/.pgp directory. Here you can find the file pubring.skr, containing the public keys and the file secring.skr, the file of your secret key."

"A useful option of the the mailer Pine makes possible to handle automatically the encryption of outgoing messages and the decryption of the received ones. In the file $HOME/.pinerc search for the lines starting with display-filters and sending-filters and do the following insertions:

# This variable takes a list of programs that message text is piped into
# after MIME decoding, prior to display.
display-filters=_BEGINNING("-----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----")_ /usr/bin/pgpv

# This defines a program that message text is piped into before MIME
# encoding, prior to sending
sending-filters=/usr/bin/pgpe -taf _RECIPIENTS_
The display-filters line says that: "when a received mail starts with the given string (i.e. -----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----) process its contents using the program /usr/bin/pgpv". Since all PGP messages start in such a way all PGP encrypted messages are automatically trapped by pgpv and decrypted (obviously only if they are encrypted with your public key)."

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