PGP is a popular encryption software that was made specifically to secure private assertion of data communication. Also known as Pretty Good Privacy, its first version was introduced by Phil Zimmermann, an American computer scientist, back in 1991. The name of the software was derived from a grocery store named Ralph’s Pretty Good Grocery.
One that can encrypt email messages and files, PGP has become even more popular after its release due to its capability to secure sensitive information through digital communication.
Its popularity has grown since then. Two things have been regarded as how it has captured the trust of everyone. First is how its system is originally available. PGP was basically available as a freeware. When we talk about freeware, it means that it is available as software that doesn’t require payment. Incipiently available as freeware made it easily spread for those people who require security to their data via digital communication.
Secondly, it has made a mark with its use of public and symmetric key encryption. If you are not yet familiar with public and symmetric key encryption, these are programs where data, may it be data in transit or data at rest, are being encrypted. Typically, data in transit or moving data from one network to another or one device to another device requires a public key or simply means password. Meanwhile, data at rest or those data without movement may be stored in a drive, or a disk that requires symmetric key encryption.
That being said, PGP is pretty broad in encrypting data. Yet, it is used specifically in encrypting e-mail messages effectively. In this article, we will be reviewing PGP. We will talk about the advantages and disadvantages. We will also talk about how it works and its features.
What are its advantages?
Strong security functionality
One that makes PGP special is its strong security functionality. PGP is hard to break. The main reason why it is widely used by many journalists and professionals is that it cannot be hacked and manipulated by anyone but oneself.
The data encrypted by PGP, especially for digital communication, is secured with a strong key, making it very reliable for data security and privacy. It assures its users that all data encrypted by this program is protected. May it be sent or received, no doubt that it would not allow anyone to modify it without the owner’s knowledge.
Moreover, PGP ensures that the one who receives and processes it is the sole authorized person. It also prevents cyberattacks from accessing and manipulating sensitive data that is not intended for them. As PGP confirms information from the receiver before even be able to access the data, rest assured that it will not fall off to the hands of perpetrators.
The same goes for recovery. PGP encrypted data are forever gone once it is being deleted. No one other than the owner will be able to recover the deleted file.
It uses symmetric and asymmetric encryption
True to having a strong security functionality underlie with its reliable encryption, PGP uses both symmetric and asymmetric encryption. Not only that, it safeguards the data from within, and allows its users to encrypt the data while having it transmitted from the sender to the receiver.
Ease of use
As soon as you download PGP, its interface is pretty simple, and anyone can use it right away with simple reading and common sense. There are no technical jargons or any drop-downs as it only shows simple and easy to understand phrases. It is not too broad for a simple person to use it.
While everyone wants to be cost-effective, PGP does not require any more keys or certificates in order to use it.
What are its disadvantages?
PGP encrypted data or file does not work unless the end receiver also has a PGP software or application. This works both on computers and mobile phones. Meanwhile, it also won’t work with various versions making it technically difficult for an organization to use different versions in one network.
With that being said, its compatibility should be matched from the sender to the end receiver. Different versions may complicate everything and can cause so much time for decryption of data.
While this may work for various people, it also works in different ways to others. PGP does not have any recovery process in case the key or the set password has been forgotten. It will forever be gone. This makes it difficult for an organization to recover data in case of an emergency.
How does PGP work?
PGP transforms simple or plain text into a non-readable format. The encryption and decryption of the data or text are solely done via a software application. It works by first encrypting data or plain text. The end format is then sent or will be traveling to the receiver in an encrypted form. The end receiver will then need to use PGP to decrypt the data or text. This converts it to a readable format by using the key created by the sender, which is simply the password.
In this process, the sender and end receiver use a key, may it be publicly or privately known. The publicly known key is the key to use in encryption while the private key, on the other hand, is used to decrypt.
In order to send files or data securely using PGP, the sender should know the receiver’s public key. As soon as the file or data is being compressed, PGP will then encrypt the file or the data with the private key, transforming everything into a cyphertext. As soon as the end receiver receives the file, using its private key aids the decryption process.
PGP encryption software does best when used through digital communication of sensitive data and files. As its features mirror how it importantly holds data for privacy and security, PGP is regarded to be very reliable for that matter.
Every software has its own advantages and disadvantages, and depending on your security standards, this review can help you understand if you need PGP or not. Luckily, this software uses a combination of means of encryption. If you are a person who always sends sensitive information and files, the use of PGP can work its magic.
With the increase in cyberattacks within our digital world, the acquirement of such an encryption program can help you safeguard your data from falling into the wrong hands.