In the face of an identity crisis going on around the internet, The Register asks: “Whatever happened to PGP?”
Well, it is still on MY desktop, although I must say a few things about it’s use:
1) It does a fine job of encrypting virtual disks, so I know my data is safe (and I like the container concept);
2) The email encryption is not often used – I don’t know too many people in everyday life who know what a public key is and how to use it to read my scrambled messages; and
3) I sign my messages with a free Thawte certificate, because it is easier on everyone else.
None of this means I am I am trying to play down PGP – in fact I have been a loyal, paid, consistently upgrading (and patient on migrating to OS X) user for years. It is just hard for someone to explain how a public key or an encrypted file works, when the party receiving the information doesn’t have the program. I think PGP is simple enough to use, priced appropriately, and readily accessible – its just that everyday joes don’t seem to know about it. And sorry, but OpenPGP is not going to take the thing mainstream.
Nevertheless, for those who have an interest in protecting their bits and bytes with PGP, here’s a little more.
Note: all the good things I say about PGP doesn’t mean I have some deal with them, but that’s not for lack of thinking about it. In fact, they never returned my emails suggesting a partnership…maybe that’s the problem!?