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PGP & GPG

Email for the Practical Paranoid
by Michael W. Lucas

April 2006, 216 pp.
ISBN: 978-1-59327-071-1
Contents | Reviews | Updates

"...The World's first user-friendly book on email privacy...unless you're a cryptographer, or never use email, you should read this book."
Len Sassaman, CodeCon Founder

"Today, most email is sent like a postcard. We all should want to put our mail back into secure envelopes again. PGP and GPG are two of the leading tools to make that happen."
Brad Templeton, Chairman of the Board, Electronic Frontier Foundation

View a sample chapter, Chapter 8: OpenPGP and Email.

Governments worldwide, major manufacturers, medical facilities, and many of the smartest computer experts around trust their secure communications to PGP (Pretty Good Privacy). But, while PGP works amazingly when all is in order, it isn’t always easy to configure and can be very tricky to troubleshoot. And email security is hardly the sort of thing you want to leave to chance.

PGP & GPG: Email for the Practical Paranoid is for moderately skilled geeks who are unfamiliar with public-key cryptography but who want to protect their communications on the cheap. Author Michael Lucas offers this easy-to-read, informal tutorial on PGP, so you can dive in right away.

Inside, you’ll learn:

  • How to integrate OpenPGP with the most common email clients (like Outlook and Thunderbird)
  • How to use the tricky command-line versions of these programs
  • How to join and use the Web of Trust

If you're not using PGP yet, this book supplies the confidence you need to get started. And if you are, it will show you how to use these tools more easily and effectively.


About the Author

Michael W. Lucas is a network/security engineer with extensive experience working with high-availability systems. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Absolute BSD, Absolute OpenBSD, and Cisco Routers for the Desperate.


Table of Contents

Introduction
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
Appendix A: Introduction to PGP Command Line
Appendix B: GnuPG Command Line Summary

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Reviews

"PGP and GPG can be hard to set up and configure. Lucas' goal is to provide instructions and assistance in doing that...[he] has written an excellent book that should be in every academic and public library."
Library & Information Technology Association, Volume 14, Number 1, June 2008, (Read More)

"It explains how PGP works and how to integrate it with the most common e-mail clients."
District Administration, January 2008 (Read more)

Among noted security expert and blogger Richard Bejtlich's top 10 books of the year: "This book should be given to anyone who needs to use PGP or GPG, before they create their first key!"
Tao Security, December 30, 2006 (Read more)

Mentioned in user journal
Slashdot, December 29, 20006 (Read more)

"I've had Phil Zimmerman's original book on PGP for almost a decade, but I'd recommend this book to anyone . . . Excellent tutorial, quick read, and enough humor to make it enjoyable."
InfoWorld, October 4, 2006 (Read more)

"Lucas has done an outstanding job of writing a book that will show you enough about the ideas behind encryption and digital signatures that you'll be able to make intelligent choices about which of the available options you should use in any given circumstance."
Amazon review, September 23, 2006 (Read more)

"Another excellent book by Michael Lucas."
Kaos Theory Security Research, August 9, 2006 (Read more)

Book cited in article entitled, "Secrets & Secrecy" about PGP
Computer Power User, August 2006 (Read more)

"Another excellent book by Michael Lucas . . . definitely a winner. The word 'practical' in the subtitle could easily apply to the message of this book."
TaoSecurity blog, August 8, 2006 (Read more)

Among the picks of the day
Jim Agnew's Book Picks, August 5, 2006 (Read more)

"You should buy this book for your boss or less technical buddies, or for the people who should have started using GPG by now."
;login:, August 2006 (Read more)

Sample chapter posted
IT World, July 18, 2006 (Read more)

"It is comforting to know that every aspect of using GPG and PGP has been covered in lucid detail in this book . . . I found the design of this book quite pleasing and a joy to read."
All About Linux blog, July 10, 2006 (Read more)

Article on email security mentions book and quotes author Michael Lucas throughout
Newsforge, June 29, 2006 (Read more)

"The book we all needed years ago and anyone who wants to correctly send encrypted email needs today . . . The writing style is very friendly without being cutesy, and it always seems to seek and find the right level of detail and technology for the specific topic."
League of Professional System Administrators (Read more)

"Tell everything you need to know—-and then some—-about how to encrypt your email . . . Replaces the book from MIT that we used to recommend to PGP users."
CPA Computer Report, July 2006 (Not available online)

"An excellent book that shows the end-user in an easy to read and often entertaining style just about everything they need to know to effectively and properly use PGP and OpenPGP."
Slashdot, June 26, 2006 (Read more)

"Engaging and oddly reassuring."
Book News, June 2006 (Read more)

"I highly recommend that those who rely on email communications buy and read this book to gain a better understanding of how to protect and secure their messages from unauthorized viewing."
About.com, June 12, 2006 (Read more)

"It is all very clear and anybody who attempted to set up PGP in the early days would have been quite glad to have this guide."
MStation, June 2006 (Read more)

Podcast: "With privacy a big hot button issue of late, we talk with Michael Lucas about how free encryption technologies can give you peace of mind."
Network World, May 23, 2006 (Download and listen)

Featured book of the week
SecurityBooks.org, May 22, 2006 (Read more)

"Does a good job of making it easy to understand how to choose between PGP and GPG . . . and actually use the software."
TNPC Newsletter, May 17, 2006 (Read more)

Q&A with author Michael Lucas
SearchOpenSource.com, May 2, 2006 (Read more)

"...The World's first user-friendly book on email privacy...unless you're a cryptographer, or never use email, you should read this book."
Len Sassaman, CodeCon Founder

"Today, most email is sent like a postcard. We all should want to put our mail back into secure envelopes again. PGP and GPG are two of the leading tools to make that happen."
Brad Templeton, Chairman of the Board,Electronic Frontier Foundation

"Helps the reader understand the mindset of privacy . . . light-years ahead of the other (aged) books on the subject."
Duffbert’s Random Musings, May 9, 2006 (Read more)

"Serves as a manual for both PGP and GPG, and will help to get either program working on your desktop."
Law Office Technology Review, Newsletter #918 (Not available online)

Blog of computer consultant Edward Yourdon includes PGP & GPG in Cool Books section
The Yourdon Report (Read more)

"Besides being a BSD expert, Michael is an amazing author . . . I expect this title to provide an accessible discussion of email encryption."
Tao Security, April 22, 2006 (Read more)

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