Encrypt Messages The Snowden Way
by J Martin Ward for Daves Computer Tips
Edward Snowden used this method to encrypt messages to journalists regarding the largest national security leak in US history.
Just about a year ago, a video was posted on the Vimeo website, with the intention of demonstrating encryption for journalists, by one “anon108″. The video was for Glenn Greenwald, the reporter who subsequently broke the NSA mass surveillance stories; he watched it, didn’t really understand it, and didn’t bother to take it any further. As Greenwald says in his new book, “No Place to Hide”, “That’s how close I came to blowing off one of the largest and most consequential national security leaks in US history”. “anon108″ turned out to be Edward Snowden. He was trying to teach Greenwald exactly what we are going to do now – encrypt messages the Snowden Way.
This is a simple way of using PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) encryption, which has the advantage of showing you what is going on, graphically. Also, you can use it in any e-mail client, or even just to encrypt documents. Once you understand the basic ideas, you’ll see that the technique is really quite easy.
Just one thing: it will help if you have already read my article on encryption here: http://www.davescomputertips.com/e-mail-encryption-encryption-encryption/ . It explains some of the basics of e-mail encryption with diagrams of the encryption process.
Let’s make this more real. You are John Smith, a freelance reporter, and you want to send an urgent message to Sabira Durani, who is an undercover human rights activist in an unnamed foreign country. She will only talk to you via anonymous e-mail addresses and encrypted messages. Messages to Sabira are regularly recorded and scanned by the unpleasant government in her country, but they are always encrypted, and she uses a variety of methods to obscure their destination. Fortunately you have a file containing her public key which you downloaded from a public PGP key-server (e.g. http://pgp.mit.edu/). You always knew you should learn encryption; now you have to – fast.
These excerpts are shared with permission from davescomputertips.com.
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