A Basic Guide For Using PGP in OS X


This is the basic guide for using PGP in OS X which is actually version 10 of the Apple operating system. The OS in consideration is OS X 10.9 Mavericks, but it should work in all the other versions. As for the tool itself, we will be using the GPG Suite Beta 5 version. You might be aware it is not recommended for Darknet related issues on OS X but this tutorial or guide is not to go over those discussions.

Part 1- Installing The Software


Like it is mentioned above, the guide will discuss GPG Suite Beta 5. If you want to look at the code and are curious you can do so here.

  1. Go to the URL (uniform resource locator) https://gpgtools.org and download the GPG Suite Beta 5 version from there.
  2. After the download is finished open the file. After that, you will see a screen having an install and an uninstall button on it. Double click on the install button.
  3. Go as per the installation instruction and if installed properly you will come across this screen. Once you have finished the procedure, close the window.

Part 2- Creating Your PairKey

Although this is a complicated process, using a GPG suite makes it a lot simpler and lucid. For this process of creating keypair, we will be using a 4096-bit length for encryption.

  1. Once you open the GPG Keychain, you will come across this window.
  2. Once you look properly, you will notice a “New” button that appears at the top left corner of the window.
  3. A pop-up window will appear before you which will ask for your “Full name” and “Email address”. Just below that, you will notice a field called “Advanced Option”. Click on it and set the key length at 4096. Uncheck ‘key expires’. Fill in the username, email address in the spaces that have been allocated and create a secure passphrase. Check the below image about how to go about filling it up. Once you have completed select the “Generate Key”.
  4. GPG keychain will start generating a key for you. Move the mouse around and open up any random application so that the disk space is utilized. This task will help create entropy for a secure key.
  5. And after you have done that, you are all set and ready to go.

Part 3- Setting Up the Environment

This is where OS X is unique when compared with other platforms. The suite (PGP in OS X) does not have an option where you might encrypt/decrypt messages, so we have to enable some options.

  1. Head to the system preference and click on the keyboard option.
  2. You will view this window. Click on the “Keyboard shortcut” option which appears just beside the “keyboard” button. Then you will see a list that appears on the left side where there is a “Service” label. Scroll down to the right subsection labeled “Text” and then head on to OpenPGP options where you can create keyboard shortcuts. We will untick all the boxes that are under “Text” and remove all the shortcuts. Now we will activate “Decrypt”, “Encrypt” and “Import Key”. You can create your keyboard if you wish and make sure to double-check everything that you do by referring to the picture. Once you have done that, you can close the window.

Part 4- Obtaining Your Public Key

This procedure does not require much effort and is easy to accomplish.

  1. Open the GPG keychain and choose your key.
  2. At the top of the toolbar click on the “Export” button (beside the Import label).
  3. Choose a name and tick the “include secret key in the exported file” box and then click on the “Save” option.
  4. Open your choice of a text editor and browse it where you have saved it (Key) and then open it.
  5. You will see the PGP key, copy and paste the key in your market profile so that people will be able to get in touch with you through the key.

Part 5- Obtaining your Private Key


This is also very simple just like the step above it.

  1. Open the GPG keychain and choose your key.
  2. At the top of the window, you will see an “Export” label click on it.
  3. Don’t change the file name, keep it the same way, tick on the “Include secret key in the exported file”, then select the save option.

Make sure that you keep the file in a secure place and do not forget your passphrase because if you lose track then you are in trouble.

Part 6- Importing a Public Key

This step is again very easy to accomplish.

  1. Locate the key you want to import.
  2. Copy everything from the start to end [—–BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK—— to ——END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK—–].
  3. Paste the entire PGP public key into your text editor, highlight everything. Click the right button of your mouse and select the “Service” label and then head to “OpenPGP: Import key”.
  4. A window will appear in front of you, confirming the keys have been imported. And then click on the “Ok” button.
  5. Again open the GPG Keychain just to check the key is there.

Part 7- Importing a Private Key

Importing a Private Key (PGP in OS X) is also very easy to master.

  1. Open the GPG Keychain and select the “Import” box at the top.
  2. Browse to where your key is located, then click it and select “Open”. It will contain a .asc file extension.
  3. You will receive a pop-up window confirming that the key has been imported and then click on the “Close” button.

Part 8- Encrypting a Message

  1. Open your text editor and write your message.
  2. Select (Ctrl-A), right-click, select “Services” and choose the “OpenPGP: Encrypt”.
  3. A window will appear on your screen, select the recipient name, sign it with your key if you want to and then click “Ok”.
  4. Copy everything and then forward it to the recipient.

Part 9- Decrypting a Message

This is very similar to the process of encrypting.

  1. Open the text editor and paste the message on it.
  2. Select (Ctrl-A), right-click, select “Services” and choose the “OpenPGP: Decrypt”.
  3. A window will appear, where you have to enter your passphrase, then select “Ok”.
  4. And you will receive your message.

It is not as difficult as you might have thought but it is advisable not to use PGP in OS X for DNM activities due to privacy issues. The tutorial is quite long, no denying the fact because OS X can be a bit of a headache when it comes to running it on a virtual machine.


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