If you are looking for a greatly reliable, easy-to-use PGP encryption tool, you are in the right place. Here, we briefly discuss how PGP encryption works and what is it used for before we check out several great PGP encryption tool options you can turn to whenever you want to make sure that what is meant to be private stays private. Unlike a PGP encryption app, you can get a PGP encryption tool on basically any device you use.
These generally work on all Windows, Linux, and macOS desktop devices and some even can be downloaded to iOS and Android devices. Before we take a look at super reliable PGP encryption tools that do all the hard work for you when it comes to encrypting your private, confidential data, we should examine how this encryption technology works, what it uses, and how it helps with boosting your online data privacy.
PGP Encryption Essentials
Essentially, PGP encryption that stands for Pretty Good Privacy is a powerful encryption program used by different communication channels including email. The PGP encryption program was introduced many years ago or more specifically in 1991 by an American cryptographer and computer scientist Phi Zimmermann. Besides being known as the creator of PGP encryption that remains the most used encryption software for email channels, Zimmermann is also known for his work done in Zfone and ZRTP encryption protocols.
As previously mentioned, this powerful encryption technology is widely used for protecting emails and private, confidential data. PGP encryption relies on different encryption methods that use public keys in order to protect your private data against cybercriminals. Besides using public-key encryption protocols, PGP encryption also relies on symmetric encryption as it uses private and public keys. Pretty Good Privacy and this is an ironic term considering how protective it is.
Private keys are kept secret while public keys are shared between senders and receivers. As previously mentioned, this encryption program is widely used for email communication but it is also used for digitally signing messages to boost the integrity and safety of the data shared. Besides relying on cryptography, PGP encryption also uses different hashing techniques alongside data compression. In this sense, it is quite similar to SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption used for securing sites and SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) used for protecting sensitive information in motion.
What is a PGP Encryption Tool?
A PGP encryption tool is basically a program you install on your device that does all the hard work for you. In other words, a PGP encryption tool protects your confidential, private data before and after you share it online. With a great PGP encryption tool and there are many great options, you secure your folders and filers against digital attacks, you can easily encrypt your files and documents, and you can digitally sign and verify your files. Further, we take a look at the Gpg4win PGP encryption tool for Windows devices, GnuPG, and OpenPGP.
Gpg4win PGP Encryption Tool
The Gpg4win PGP encryption tool is one of the most popular, most widely used file and email encryption tools. It was developed by The Gpg4win Initiative and it works on the vast majority of Windows-powered desktop devices. This PGP encryption tool relies on GnuPG public-key cryptography for signing digital signatures and for data encryption. The tool is free for download and you can get it from https://gpg4win.org/. With the tool, you also get:
- GpgOL plugin for email encryption for Microsoft Outlook
- GpgEX plugin for file encryption for Windows Explorer
- Gpg4win user manual
- GNU certificate manager for OpenPGP and X.509
- Kleopatra certificate manager also for OpenPGP and X.509
As suggested, Gpg4win (GNU Privacy Guard for Windows) is a powerful email and file encryption tool you can download to your Windows device. With the tool, you can securely share files and transport emails. The tool does the work for you so digital signatures are assigned by default so you can rest assured that the content was not accessed and modified by anyone. It is also worth mentioning that Gpg4win supports both S/MIME (X.509) and OpenPGP encryption standards.
GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG)
The GNU Privacy Guard by GNU Project is a free PGP encryption tool. The very first version of the tool was released in 1999. The tool works on Linux, macOS, as well as Windows-powered desktop devices, and Android and iOS portable devices. GNU Privacy Guard uses a mix of public-key and symmetric-key cryptography and it relies on the OpenPGP protocol that has been part of GNU Privacy Guard since the initial release over twenty years ago.
With the GnuPG PGP encryption tool, your messages with private data are encrypted with asymmetric keys and these can be exchanged with other users. As previously mentioned, symmetric cryptography is also supported. The latest versions of the GnuPG tool support a variety of other algorithms including IDEA and 3DES, RSA, ECDH, DSA, ElGamal, EdDSA, Twofish, Blowfish, Camellia-128, MD5, SHA-256, SHA-1, ZLIB, and ZIP among several others.
- A variety of algorithms supported including AES, DSA, and RSA
- Runs smoothly on Unix platforms
- CMS/X.509 (S/MIME) full implementation
- OpenPGP full implementation
- Verifies and decrypts messages
OpenPGP Standard by the IETF
When it comes to PGP email encryption, OpenPGP is a reliable PGP encryption standard widely used by browser plugins, encrypted web browsers, and PGP encryption apps for email and file encryption. As mentioned on the official website, the system is defined by the IEFT or the Internet Engineering Task Force and it relies on the PGP encryption standard crafted by Zimmermann. While the main purpose of OpenPGP is PGP encrypted email communication, the tool can be used for encrypting messages as well.
It works on all platforms including iOS and Android devices as well as Linux, macOS, and Windows devices. It relies on public-key cryptography and its protocol defines formats for digital signatures, encrypted messages, and certificates required for exchanging keys.
Powered by the OpenPGP software are many great email and file encryption tools out there including Enigmail, Autocrypt, EverDesk, eM Client, Claws Mail, The Bat!, Apple Mail GPGTools, Canary Mail, Mutt, as well as K-9 Mail OpenKeychain, FairMail, and R2Mail2 for Android and Canary Mail, Safe Easy Privacy, iPGMail, and PGPro for iOS devices. The OpenPGP standard is also supported by Claws Mail, Evolution Seahorse, KMail Kleopatra, and Mutt for Linux devices and Psono, FlowCrypto, and Mailvelope encrypted browser plugins. The same is true for ProtonMail, Hushmail, and Mailfence.