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PGP encryption method
Last modified on 07 May 2017 05:06 PM

This article will tell you how to get started using the PGP encryption method with StartMail. You can send PGP encrypted emails to recipients who also have a StartMail account, or who use any other email service that offers encryption. If you wish to send an encrypted email to a recipient who does not use an encrypted email service, you can use the Q&A encryption method instead. More information about Q&A encryption can be found in this Support Center article.

If you are new to PGP encryption, don't worry!  Just follow the steps described below and you'll quickly be able to send and receive encrypted email. For a video to show how to set up PGP on your StartMail email account, click here.

This article contains the following sections:

Generating your PGP Key pair

How to encrypt an email using the PGP encryption method

How to decrypt an email

Additional information and related content


Generating your PGP Key pair

To encrypt the contents of your email using the PGP method, you must first generate your PGP keys and PGP passphrase. Here is how:

Note: If you already have an existing key pair, you can skip these steps by going to Settings > Mail encryption > Import existing public keys > Import and then pasting in your key.

1. Log in to StartMail on the Web and go to Settings > Mail Encryption and click Configure PGP or select "Secret Question & Answer and PGP" and in the following popup, click Configure PGP.



2. Choose a PGP Passphrase. We suggest a strong password that is not your account password. Your PGP passphrase is required to encrypt and decrypt your message. You can change your PGP Passphrase at a later stage.

Once you have chosen a strong passphrase and entered it twice, click Generate public key.

3. Review the information on the confirmation screen and click Continue to Inbox at the bottom of the screen.

You're now finished generating your own PGP Key pair! Managing your keys as well as exporting and importing keys can be accomplished in Settings > Mail encryption.


How to encrypt an email using the PGP encryption method

If you only plan on emailing other StartMail users who have also gone through the process outlined above, you are now ready to send and receive PGP encrypted messages. (If other StartMail recipients have not done that, the system will still support encryption using the Question and Answer method.)  To view a video about sending PGP encrypted emails to another StartMail user click here.

If you plan on sending PGP encrypted email to non-StartMail users, you must first add their public key to your keyring. Follow this link to learn how. You can still encrypt email to non-StartMail users without importing their public key, but you will instead need to rely on the Question and Answer Method.

1. From a Web browser, log in to your StartMail account.

2. Click the  button

3. Enter your recipient(s) in the "To:" box and provide a subject (optional).

4. Check the Encrypt this Email box below the subject.

It is also helpful to select Sign with my key pair and Attach my public key. Attaching your public key is helpful for recipients who do not already have your public key. Note: you may first need to click "more options" to reveal the latter two settings.  Follow this link for more information on signing using your digital signature and follow this link to learn more about your public key.

5. Type and send your message as you would normally. You will also need to enter your PGP Passphrase. Note: you can set how long StartMail remembers your passphrase by going to Settings > Mail encryption and selecting a value for Remember my passphrase for.


How to decrypt an email

Open the message as you would normally and supply your PGP Passphrase.


Additional information and related content

Reminder: before you can send an encrypted email with PGP to a non-StartMail user, you must first import your recipient’s PGP public key into your PGP keyring. When you email another StartMail user with a PGP key, that user’s public key will automatically be added to your PGP keyring.

For more information on your digital signature, follow this link.

For more information how to change your PGP Passphrase, follow this link.

For more information on exporting your public key, follow this link.

For more information on setting up PGP encryption using your email client, follow this link.

For more information on setting up PGP encryption on your iOS mobile device, follow this link.

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