Email Security: How? (Part 1: Stuff you need)

September 19th, 2008 by Chris

Yes, this will be a how-to in installments. There’s far too much to try to cover in one abusively long blog post.

The purpose of this post is to familiarize you fine curious readers with the tools you’ll need to achieve the same relative state of email security that I have. Disclaimer: Although I think I’m generally fairly smart, I am NOT -nor do I pretend to be- any sort-of accredited data security expert. However, I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express at some point this year, and will therefore do my best to not lead you terribly astray.

These instructions are for Windows users, although, to be honest, doing this in Linux is probably not terribly different, since ALL of the tools I’m about to discuss are open-source and available without cash of any kind.

The list:

  1. Thunderbird: An email client built on the Mozilla engine. I currently have 2.0.0.16, but I upgrade regularly.
  2. GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG or GPG) V1.4.9: An implementation of OpenPGP for encryption and other related stuff.[1]
  3. EnigMail (0.95.7): The plugin for Thunderbird that provides the graphical user interface that makes this oh so much easier.

A bit of detail…
For Thunderbird, I’m not going to go into any details. If you are using another email program and want to switch, you can do far worse than Thunderbird for usability and features. However, with all the vagaries of email server setup and personal preferences, uh-uh. I’m not going there.

For Enigmail and GnuPG, I really don’t have much to add to the Enigmail Quickstart Guide. The steps are essentially: Download each of the applications, install them. It’s when we get into the practical matter of actually using your new software toys that things gets complicated. And that will be the next post.

  1. This is actually the engine that does all of the encoding heavy lifting. []

One Response to “Email Security: How? (Part 1: Stuff you need)”

  1. The Evil Eyebrow » Email Encryption How To (not Why) Says:

    […] post is more of a how-to, in simple layman’s language (I hope). Others have done this before, but I think I’ve broken it down more for the people who aren’t […]