Enigmail : Java Glossary


The latest version of Enigmail is 1.9.5 Last revised/verified: 2016-08-21. It is an add-on for Thunderbird email that lets you digital sign and or encrypt mail using PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) encryption. This means people spying on your email in transit will just see gibberish. It is a GUI (Graphic User Interface) interface to GnuPG (or GunPG4Win on Windows). You can work with the menus inside Thunderbird or do more advanced work from the gpg.exe command line. Enigmail works best with plain text, rather than HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) formatted. Here are the steps to getting it to work:
  1. Install the GnuPG package. It is a stand-alone program not a Thunderbird add-on. If you have Windows, install gpg4win instead. The latest version is 2.3.3 Last revised/verified: 2016-08-18.
  2. Install the Enigmail add-on in Thunderbird Tools ⇒ Add-ons ⇒ gear icon ⇒ Install from file If there is no install button, double click the *.xpi file in the Windows Explorer. Tell it that you want thunderbird.exe to handle processing. Be careful, this approach may feed the install to Firefox which will choke on it.
  3. If you have used PGP, before import your existing PGP secring.skr keys and pubring.pkr keys into EnigMail not GnuPG.
  4. If you don’t already have a PGP key, Make sure you have no email open, then click OpenPgp on the top bar, then click key management and generate key pair — a public and private key. Pick a pass phrase you can remember with writing it down, not just a word. Pick something unguessable that no one else on earth would dream of using.
  5. Generate a key revocation file and put it away for safe keeping if ever you forget your password, or lose your master key.
  6. Export your public key (without the secret key!!!) and post it on your website for people wanting to send you encrypted mail. Only you have the private key to decrypt it. Use the Export keys function. I repeat, make sure you select export public keys only or everything you write will be public to everyone. You can export more than one key to a file if you want.
  7. In Key Management, upload your public key(s) to all the keyservers, so other people can find your public key knowing only your email address. With the gpg.exe command line you can do bulk uploads of your public keys to additional servers.
  8. GNUpg saves its crucial files in C:\Users\userAppData\Roaming\gnupg\. Make sure you back them up. pubring.gpg contains your public keys, secring.gpg contains your secret keys and trustdb.gpg contains your trusted keys.
  9. Send some test messages to yourself. Try combinations of signing, encrypting, with and without S/MIME (Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Exchange), with and without HTML.
  10. Try reading the test messages so you can see what the various types look like when they arrive. Often EnigMail automatically decrypts them so it might superficially look at though nothing happened at all.
  11. Try sending test messages to a friend. Depending on their email software, none, some or all of the messages will work.
  12. To send someone an encrypted email, you will first have to get their public key and mark it with your level of trust that you think it truly is their public key. You can use Enigmail’s key management ⇒ search for keys function to find keys posted on public keyservers. You can also look for the key posted on their website. You can also ask them to email the key to you. There is no need to keep a public key secret. The CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) can snoop all they want.
When you send a message, you sign it with your own private key, the one associated with the from email address and encrypt it with the recipient’s public key, the one they ask you to use for that particular email address.

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