Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

E-mail security, Part 4

Okay, so you have downloaded WinPT and read yesterday’s How To, and are ready to launch Setup and complete the Install.
Where we left off was we had hit the “Finish” button. You will now see this “error message”, which is scary, but not really a big deal… WinPT is installed, but not yet configured: click “Yes” to continue the setup.

Here is the next message… which explains the “error”.
Select the top radio button, “Have WinPT generate a key pair”. This will create your your “key ring” and your “master” keys– a private (secret) key, and the Public key you will send to people.
This is the key pair generation window (you accept the defaults). Here is where you enter your primary e-mail address (the mail you want to encrypt) and the key’s passphrase. The passphrase serves two purposes, it is used by the encryption algorithm to generate your unique key code, and it is what you will type in to tell WinPT you’re really you (such as when you decrypt an incoming message)…so you’ll want to select (and write down) a passphrase that’s easy to remember and quickly type-able, yet rather long.. 14 characters is a good target length.
Click “Start” to generate your keys.
Depending on the speed of your CPU, it may take a couple of minutes before you see…

Click “OK”. When WinPT asks you if you want to “back up” your keys, answer “Yes” (or, you can do it later..but I do recommend doing it!). Your Setup has now completed and you have created your encryption keypair. Right-click on the WinPT “key” icon in your System Tray (by the clock), and select “Key Manager”. This will show all the keys you have on your “key ring”.
As you can see, there is your key pair. The next step is to make your Public key “exportable” so that you can send a copy to your recipient(s).

Select “Export” from the Key menu, as shown.
You will be asked for a location to save the file, and you can rename it during this step. I suggest you do, as the default name will look like “0x12AGTYX”. I named my Public key “AplusPaul key”. Here’s what my Public key looks like when Open-ed in Notepad.
One way to send this key is to Ctrl+A (Select All), as I have done in the screenshot, then Ctrl+C (Copy) and then Ctrl+V (Paste) it into an e-mail. WinPT can use that to import the key to its key ring. Another way is to simply attach the file, AplusPaul key, to an e-mail. When someone sends you their Public key, you repeat the process, only using the Import option.
Contrary to intuition, you should also now use Key Manager to issue a revocation file for your keypair, using the Key >Revoke option. More details on Importing/Exporting keys can be found in the Documents folder of the WinPT install folder (C:\Program Files\Windows Privacy Tools\Docs.)

This screenshot shows an e-mail encrypted using my new keypair, as someone without the proper un-encrypting key would see it.

There’s one last configuration step before you can start using WinPT to encrypt your e-mails (unless you’re using a client other than Outlook Express) and that is to set a path in the GPG control panel. Right-click the WinPT System Tray icon and select “Preferences”, and then “GPG”.
You need to Copy the path found in the upper dialogue windows and paste it into the “Locale Directory” window. (Why this is not done automatically, I’m not real clear on.)

I realize that this is a rather lengthy process, and may seem too complicated for some of you. I hope that it is not too daunting, and that you at least give it a try. There are helpful instructions provided both in the download, and on the Web, if you have more questions about the installation and configuring of WinPT and GPG. (Though I should mention: the pages are “dead”, and redirect to a weird search portal that’s totally useless.)
Tomorrow I will show you how to actually put your encryption tool to use.

*Please note: the keys and e-mail accounts shown here were temporary creations or fabrications and are already deleted.

Today’s free link: Today’s reco is one that I have not personally used (but it was ‘referred’), and so I cannot vouch for it in any way. Tovo. From site: “Start up Tovo and watch TV while you chat to your MSN, AIM or Yahoo friends. Listen to Radio whilst searching the Web, finding maps or looking up phone numbers. Get the latest news feeds while chatting on the phone. It’s not just media. It’s not just communications. Its everything in one place.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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February 1, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, encrypting files, how to, PC, privacy, security, tech, Windows | , , | Leave a comment