What is PGP?

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What is PGP?
PGP or Pretty Good Privacy is an encryption and decryption software designed to provide security to data that is being exchanged online especially through email services. This application or software was designed back in 1991 by Phil Zimmerman and works in various operating system platforms like Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

PGP is widely used to provide security on information from email programs, data files, disk drives and partitions, directories, and instant messaging services. As any internet user would know, security of data and information is important especially when these are exchanged over the internet. Although the setting up of firewalls and hacker-screenings software may help in securing data, all data still remain vulnerable if they are transferred from one location to another using the internet. In this case, encryption of data became a necessity to deter unauthorized access and use of information that is being transmitted over the internet regularly.

PGP’s encryption process basically converts readable text or data into complex codes with unreadable characters. In layman’s terms, a particular email message will be converted into some sort of “scrambled file” before it will be transmitted to its destination. This file represents the encrypted version of the actual message. So even if some person will get access to this particular email message, he/she wouldn’t be able to read it. On the destination site, PGP will reverse the process and decrypt the data for the intended recipient of the message to read it.

Aside from data encryption and decryption, PGP is also able to support digital signatures. This means that not only will the data be secured but its integrity may also be checked. This property is important in knowing if the original data has been altered or edited. It also puts some kind of authenticity label from the data sender in which his/her digital signature will prove that he/she is the legitimate source of the protected information.

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