What is PGP and What is It Used For?
PGP is short for Pretty Good Privacy and it’s one of the most widely used technologies for encrypting and authenticating files. It can help encrypt, decrypt, authenticate, and verity various file types including emails, files, directories, disk partitions, and more.
PGP, along with its offshoots Open PGP and GPG, are used so frequently because they’re flexible options for encrypting files before sending them to trading partners or other recipients. They can also be used to authenticate messages and verify message recipients.
Related Reading: Everything You Need to Know About Open PGP Encryption
What is a PGP File?
A PGP file is any file that is encrypted with PGP. The sender takes any file that their PGP tool can encrypt, and uses PGP to render any sensitive data unreadable via encryption (for instance, hashing or compression)
PGP encryption provides the essential privacy missing from online communication by transforming plain, readable text files into a complex code of characters that are unreadable. The missive (email, file, etc.) travels to the destination of recipient in this cyphered form. The recipient then uses PGP to decrypt the message back into readable form. PGP encryption is done via software applications. Whether you’re storing, processing, or transmitting files, if they contain sensitive information encryption is essential.
What Can a PGP File Contain?
PGP files can be used to encrypt file contents including:
- Text files
- Data files
- Disk partitions
Problems with PGP
There are some pros and cons to PGP encryption. While PGP is very secure – it’s been called “essentially unbreakable” – there are some strikes against using it as an encryption method. These include:
- Software options: Not all PGP software solutions are created equal. Prices can vary and different features are included in each. If you’re tech-savvy, you may not even need a PGP encryption and decryption tool, but they can save a lot of time. Plus, add-ons can include key management, automation, and browser-based access rather than clunky software downloads. But these features often come with some price offsets.
- Key management: Keys are the cornerstone of PGP, and keeping them secure, organized, and uncorrupted can quickly become unwieldy as you add on trading partners. Some PGP software solutions will include key management systems to streamline this part of the PGP file encryption and decryption process.
- It’s dated: Some outlets have claimed that PGP is dead. While it’s true that it’s been around for a while, it’s still a popular method for encrypting files and verifying signatures.
- Complexity: PGP in itself is not user friendly and can be time consuming to encrypt and decrypt files. However, there are multiple PGP tools that can be purchased or used for free that handle the complicated portions of PGP file encryption and decryption.
- It’s limited: PGP solutions often only encrypt and decrypt PGP files. If your trading partners have various encryption preferences, it may be beneficial to use a solution that can handle all your key management, encryption, and decryption for various encryption protocols out of one tool.
Related Reading: Should You Use PGP or GPG Encryption?
If you’re on the hunt for an all-in-one online PGP decrypt tool that’ll work for you, or simply want to consider your options for how to decrypt PGP files seamlessly, a managed file transfer solution may be right for you. If you only need the basics, opt for a PGP-specific tool.
Related Reading: Open PGP vs. MFT: What You Need to Know
How to Encrypt and Decrypt PGP Files
PGP Encryption with Open PGP Studio
Open PGP facilitates storage and data transmission that encrypts sensitive information so that it cannot be read by anyone except the intended recipient. A public key is used to encrypt a file and verify a signature. A private key is used by the owner to decrypt and to add a digital signature to files.
Read the Tutorial: How to Encrypt Files with Open PGP
PGP Decryption with Open PGP Studio
Received a PGP file and need to access the data? Here’s how you can use Open PGP Studio to decrypt PGP files and verify digital signatures.
Read the Tutorial: How to Decrypt Files with Open PGP
Encrypt and Decrypt PGP Files With Ease
Open PGP Studio from GoAnywhere is a free PGP file encryption tool that makes protecting your sensitive files easy. Use a safer dual-key system to encrypt and decrypt information. On the other hand, if you need more robust data security, take a look at GoAnywhere MFT, a secure managed file transfer solution that centralizes, simplifies, and secures data transfers.