PGP is the acronym for Pretty Good Privacy and is used as a source of secured communication between two parties. In today’s world, as we know it, surveillance and tracking are done on almost all the communication and experts are well aware of the fact that PGP is an essential element in the DNM scene as a secure Operating System set up. But having knowledge about the technology is not enough or sufficient, you also have to know about how to use them properly. While there are multiple online materials and videos which will give you a proper idea about how to use PGP in operating systems like Windows, OS X, and Linux, this guide is exclusively meant for Tails. Tails is a special operating system that is used by the intelligence community and technologically savvy workers. The main difference or distinction between the Linux guide and this guide is that it uses the built-in PGP tool of Tails, which eliminates the need for installing additional software.
Part 1- Information on PGP and Preparing Tails
An extra plug-in and software that is installed are automatically removed since the operating system (Tails) reset and removes all the data that it has inbuilt in its directory with every reboot. We also make sure that this guide uses the latest version of Tails to ensure that there is proper coordination and compatibility possible. Do not worry if you have an updated version of Tails because the use of PGP will pretty much remain the same in all the upcoming versions. This guide will act as a benchmark if you run a PGP using the Tails operating systems. If you are using the Tail operating system follow the underlying steps before you start using PGP on Tails.
Pretty Good Privacy or PGP is a technique that makes your communication safe and secure from any external party trying to snoop in and look into your message content. It is actually an encryption program that provides privacy and security for your data communication. This technology is often used for signing, encrypting, decrypting email, text documents and any other files that might be there in the system and securing it. In this half we will focus on how to encrypt, decrypt, signing and verifying text. It is most valuable and useful when you are chatting with a vendor on DNM. Encrypting messages containing important contents such as addresses or tracking numbers are important and vital. If you are just writing “ Hello” for example you will not need to encrypt but if there is other important stuff that you need to communicate then it is of utmost importance that you keep a wrap on the things. In order to use PGP properly and without losing all the data you need to have a persistent volume setup.
Below is the list of recommended steps if you want to set up the persistent volume and follow the set of instructions there. While you are at it make sure that you select which kind of data you want to store, is it personal data or GnuPG. For getting convenience you also can opt for changing your network connection (if you use WiFi), Browser bookmarks and Bitcoin Client though they are not required for using PGP properly. Before using PGP in Tails and following the guide you must make sure that you reboot Tails. This is important because you must check that persistent volume is working properly (i.e. check that your PGP is still there after the reboot but how to check will be explained later). Please make sure that you remember your persistent password and not lose that. If you forget the password you lose your entire Tails installation which includes your PGP keys.
Part 2- Generating Your Key Pair
When you create your PGP key it will produce or generate two unique keys. Both the keys are known by their individual names based on what they refer to like public and private keys. Make sure that you never disclose your private key and this is only meant for your personal use only. The key that you can disclose is the public key that will help others to send you a message with the aid of the key. And after that, you can decrypt the received message with the help of your private key. This is in stark contrast or opposite when buying from vendors. You use their public keys to view all the details like shipping information then you send the encrypted message. Only the vendor is able to see the message that you have intended to see as they have in their possession the private key. The key will decrypt the message and also will be able to read the message.
Step by Step Guide on How to Create a Pair
- Click on the clipboard icon on the taskbar and at the top of your screen and select the option “Manage Keys”.
- You will see a new window that will appear, click on the “File” option which is at the top left corner, and then go to the “New” option.
- Then a window will open, from where you need to choose “PGP Key” and after selecting the option, click continue.
- Then you can enter your full name, but it is advisable not to use the real name because others might see your actual identity. It is best to use your maiden name or your surname that you already have in the market because it will help your vendor. The name has to be a minimum of 5 characters in length, if you have a small name, make sure that you add some special characters. Then you can enter your email address and if you do not have one, leave the field blank, but if you enter your email address make sure that you have proper control over it.
- Now go on and click the Advanced key option and set the key strength to 4096 and the expiry date to one to two years in the future.
- Confirm the data by clicking on create, after you have done that you will be asked to set a password which is in combination with your private key necessary to decrypt messages that were encrypted with your public key. Keep in mind to choose a strong password, but do not forget it because it will create troubles.
- After you have pressed “OK”, you have to wait a bit but not more than a few minutes. After that is done you will see your key in the GnuPG keys. Then you have created your own PGP key pair.
Part 3- Obtaining Your Public Key
If you want to use your new PGP key pairs, you need a public key, so that you must select your key in the “GnuPG Keys” list and Press CTRL + C. Now you have a public key created and copied and can use it anywhere. Your public key will look like a string of characters that consists of random letters, numbers and a string of special characters which actually does not make sense.
Part 4- Importing a Public Key
To be able to send a message that is encrypted you must have the sender’s public keys. In order to get the public keys, you must have their public key. In order to get a vendor public, you must have to visit his profile and lookout for a link that is named Vendor public key or PGP key. Sometimes it is directly available on vendors’ profile pages.
The above is the entire guide to using PGP in Tails Operating System.