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PGP & GPG

It takes a special writer to make technical books enjoyable to read and not be dull technical documentation like most tech books. Michael W. Lucas is one of them. This is not the first book I read of his (I’ve read about half of Absolute FreeBSD second edition; haven’t written a review because I didn’t finished the entire book) and there were plenty of times I found myself laughing out loud while reading his humorous technical writing.

OpenPGP has historically mistakenly been labeled as complicated and hard to use for a regular user. This book does an excellent job eliminating that problem. By reading this book, a normal user will have a solid understanding and basic knowledge of how public key encryption functions and how it’s vital in OpenPGP. This book covers the commercial PGP application as well as it’s open source GnuPG counterpart. The examples are done using Windows for PGP and the command line for GnuPG. The examples are relatively easy to follow along. By the time anyone finish reading this book, they should be able to use OpenPGP with any their favorite email clients (assuming it supports OpenPGP), and have that relief of knowing how to send or receive fully encrypted email messages knowing that the message hasn’t been altered and it came from the actual person it was intended from.

The last time I used OpenPGP was roughly about 10 years in college, which is about the same time when this book was published. Fortunately not much has changed in the OpenPGP world. The only portion that standout the most in this book is the content regarding the now deprecated tool WinPT. Also I opted to use the GnuPGP 2.1 (modern) while reading this book, instead of the old 1.x version, from which I didn’t encounter any compatibility issues.

As of the time of this writing we’re in late 2016, and perhaps user email privacy is one of main challenges in today’s technological world. Email security is extremely important and it’s become essential for many non tech people nowadays to protect their communications, most noticeably journalists. Another example of how vital email privacy is the compromised of the DNC’s email leak. To think that thanks to a comprised email account the outcome of our 2016 presidential election might have been different. That shows how extremely import email privacy is!

If you care about email privacy, then this is an absolute must read.

Rating: 4/5

PGP & GPG: Email for the Practical Paranoid

Chapter 1: Cryptography Kindergarten
Chapter 2: Understanding OpenPGP
Chapter 3: Installing PGP
Chapter 4: Installing GnuPG
Chapter 5: The Web of Trust
Chapter 6: PGP Key Management
Chapter 7: Managing GnuPG Keys
Chapter 8: OpenPGP and Email
Chapter 9: PGP and Email
Chapter 10: GnuPG and Email
Chapter 11: Other OpenPGP Considerations

Book: 

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