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What is PGP encryption, and how does it work?
Last modified on 20 February 2020 11:47 AM

What is PGP encryption?

PGP (short for Pretty Good Privacy) is a public key encryption program originally written in 1991. Since that time, PGP has become the standard for encryption of email on the Internet. "Pretty Good Privacy" is actually a bit of a misnomer, as PGP is considered extremely reliable.

In an age where hackers, identity thieves, and even the government can listen in on unprotected communications, it becomes more vital than ever to have a fast, easy-to-use way to protect your messages from prying eyes. StartMail combines the world-renowned encryption strength of PGP with an intuitive, simple interface that can help you keep your messages private, even when communicating with other email services that don't offer StartMail's level of protection.

How does PGP encryption work?

PGP is a form of encryption that makes use of digital key pairs. A key pair consists of two keys: a public key that is designed to be shared and used to encrypt mail, and a private key (not to be shared) is used to decrypt mail.

Your public key is one that is designed to be shared with others and is used to encrypt messages that others want to send to you. The encrypted email is then translated into cyphertext and can only be translated back to the original message by your private key. You will never share your private key with anyone. You can learn more about StartMail encryption here.

Here is an example:

Anna wants to communicate privately with John using PGP encryption. First Anna and John exchange their public keys. When Anna writes an email to John, she encrypts it using John’s public key. When John receives the message, he decrypts it using his private key. If John replies to Anna's message, he encrypts this message using Anna’s public key which only Anna can decrypt using her private key.

So PGP allows me to send encrypted messages to others who use PGP, how do I send encrypted emails to people who do not use PGP?

If your recipient does not use PGP, you can use another type of encryption called the Q&A method of encryption. For more information about Q&A encryption, click here.

For more information on how to set up PGP encryption in StartMail, click here.





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