Gpg4usb is a PGP tool that can be operated on a USB drive and function on both GNU/Linux and Windows with the planned support of OS X. It offers a very lucrative user interface, portability so that it can be operated from multiple devices, and is of course open source. Like most of the PGP methods, it utilizes GnuPG as the backend. The OS that is used in this article will be Linux Mint, but the UI will remain similar across GNU/Linux distros and the versions of Windows.
Keep a note that not all the versions of PGP are formulated equally, there are some PGP programs that employ an unsafe or insecure version of PGP that have the chance of compromising the encrypted text. Others like Kleopatra, PGP4Win, and GPA use the depreciated versions of the GnuPG. This implies that they are not up to the date with the new version of GnuPG to cater to the latest standards of PGP. This can be unsafe as, for instance, Kleopatra does not generate subkeys. Subkeys are crucial as they can be abolished to decrease the damage from a key that has already been compromised. You will need to keep in mind to avoid using online PGP methods like iGolder. In these cases you will not be owning the keys so you cannot be completely sure that they are not decrypting or encrypting texts that are meant for viewing by you only.
Why Use Gpg4usb Over Other PGP Methods?
- Gpg4usb formulates RSA keys along with an encryption subkeys as well as a master key. The master key that will be offered to you will be used for signing other keys, abolishing subkeys, and also formulating new subkeys. Subkeys are crucial as they can be abolished to decrease the damage from a key that has already been compromised. You can abolish it with the master key and create your own subkey.
- Like we have mentioned above, Gpg4usb is “cross-platform”. If you wish to alter from Windows to GNU/Linux you can still carry that same key and a similar interface for your working. SWith the planned support of OS X another reason gets added to the list on why you should use Gpg4usb over other options.
- Gpg4usb is portable which implies that you can carry your PGP program and key along with you wherever you travel without the need to import your keys into another program. If you have plans to conduct this then it is a good idea to encrypt your USB drive.
- The Gpg4usb interface is most attractive when compared with all other PGP font ends. The UI is offered in an easy to evaluate manner where there are clear definitions of the options.
- The messages that are created in Gpg4usb can be encrypted with several keys. This implies that the user can have multiple recipients for a single message, and the user can even encrypt it with their own keys. Nobody without decrypting a message that has been encrypted with multiple keys can view the message. This is a good feature if you get scanned on the DNM since you can now prove back up and assertions that you have.
Part 1: Installing The Software
- Since Gpg4usb is a portable operation, there is no per se installation. It is a group of files that will be extracted from a .zip archive and will be copied on the USB drive. Head on over to the Gpg4usb website and select on the green “download” option, and then you will have to save the file.
Note: Gpg4usb will not operate on GNU/Linux distributions on USB drives which is in the form of FAT. If you’re only employing it on GNU/Linux OS then ext4 would be the ideal option, otherwise format it to NTFS.
- After you have finished with the download, open the .zip file with the archive manager of your choice. Ensure, you should be able to just “double-click” on it. You should see a folder that has been named ‘gpg4win’, with all the files that are required is there within that folder. Copy that folder to your USB drive, then open it.
- Once you have done that check out the README file if you wish to know more about gpg4usb. To open that file, you will need to double-click ‘start_windows.exe’ if you are on Windows, or ‘start_linux_xxbit’ where ‘xx’ is your CPU structure. For the majority of users this will be the 64bit version.
Part 2 – Generating Your Keypair
- This is the primary thing you should perform. Without your own pair of keys, it will be impossible for you to receive and decrypt texts. Open up gpg4usb and you will be greeted by the “First Start Wizard”. This will navigate you through the steps of formulating your keypair.
- Select your language then choose “Next”. It will now ask you if you want to import keys from GnuPG, create a new keypair, or even import settings/keys from a previous version of gng4usb. Select “create a new keypair”, then click the button that reads “Create New Key”. You should be able to see a window with the title “Generate Key”. Enter all the information, you can fill out with a fake email if you don’t want to use your personal one, choose if you wish it to expire or not, select the KeySize, then formulate a strong password. A keypair of 2048 bit will be okay until 2030, but it’s advised to use a key of 4096 bit. If you wish to know more about how the size of the key impacts your security, check out the GnuPG website.
- You can now select “Ok”, and a new keypair will be generated for you. This may take some time which depends on what programs are running on your computer. Watch some porn, type up that essay you were supposed to have done last week, torrent some GNU/Linux ISOs. If all goes well a window is supposed to pop up confirming that your keypair has been formed.
- You can now come out of the wizard, and choose if you wish to see the offline help or see the wizard again next time you begin. You will be brought to the original gpg4usb window and there you can see your keypair on the right, along with the keypair of gpg4usb.
Part 3 – Obtaining Your Public Key
- To get messages you will require your public key that has been posted somewhere. This is really simple in gpg4usb as you don’t require to save it to a file initially.
- With gpg4usb open, select “Manage Keys” which is at the top. A window titled ‘Key Management’ should come up. Check off the box that is right beside your keypair name, and choose “Export to Clipboard” which is at the top. Now you can paste your public key somewhere where the people will get access to it so they can send you texts. If you want to backup your public key you can also choose “Export To File” and save it somewhere of your choice.
Part 4 – Obtaining Your Private Key
It’s a good decision to back up the private key somewhere safe so that it can be retrieved in case of computer failure. Even though this is rare, things do occur and you will not want to be paused for not being able to decrypt that very crucial message your mother has sent you.
- From the original window right click on your key that is on the right, and select “Show Key Details”.
- From this place you can see it’s fingerprint, details of your key, and export all your private key. Select the button that says ‘Export Private Key’ and it will give you warning that this is sensitive data that should not be shared. Select the place where you want to save it and keep the filename it provides. A good choice is to save it to a microSD card and hide it in a place from where you can get it if you need it.
Part 5 – Importing A Public Key
Gpg4win makes importing your public key as easy as it did while you were exporting it. Highlight everything that includes “—– BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK —– ‘ and ‘ —– END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK”, and then copy it. In the main gpg4usb window select “Import Key” at the top, go to “Clipboard”. You will then see a pop up window with the details of the imported keys.
Part 6 – Importing A Private Key
By now you know how to import a public key and importing a private key is as easy as that too. You need to click on the “Import Key” and then “File” in the main Gpg4usb window. Browse the location where you have saved your private key. As you locate it, open it. A pop-up window will be displayed confirming that it has been imported. Click on “OK” and you will see the keypair in the right hand side of the Gpg4win.
Part 7 – Encrypting A Message
This step is pretty straightforward. You can see a text box in the main window of Gpg4usb. You need to type in your message. Click the checkbox for the recipient on the right hand side. Click on the “Encrypt” at the top. As you do this, your message will get encrypted. Copy the encrypted message and send it to the recipient.
Part 8 – Decrypting A Message
The Gpg4usb makes all of these really easy. If you have received an encrypted message, copy the encrypted message and paste in the left blank field and click on “Decrypt” at the top. Now enter the password and your decrypted message will be encrypted making it easier to read.
If you have followed all the steps and understood as you were doing it, you are actually increasing your privacy. PGP at the first instance can seem complicated. But once you learn how to do it and get a hang of it, you would feel that your initial thoughts were vague. If you still think it is complicated, just push that thinking aside and think just going through these steps might save you from serving years in prison.