Patrick’s development blog

Encrypting mail in Thunderbird using GnuPG and Enigmail

Posted in Articles, Security by Patrick on March 17, 2009

Thunderbird is a mail user agent developed by Mozilla. GnuPG is an encryption program (free software) that uses the standard OpenPGP. This standard is based on encryption using a private and public key. The private key is used to decrypt the data while the public key is used to encrypt the data.

The Thunderbird add-on Enigmail, provides an “back-end” interface to GnuPG so the user can use Thunderbird to encrypt/decrypt mail. After installing Enigmail, generate a keypair. This will create a public and private key for the current account. The public key is meant to be distributed so other people can send mail encrypted to you. The private key however, is important NOT to distribute. Since it is used to encrypt the messages sent to you with your public key. The public key is usually uploaded to a keyserver.

It’s possible to search for public keys on the keyservers and add public keys into a local list and configure Thunderbird to encrypt all messages by default (supposing the public key to the person in question is added into your key list). Both Thunderbird, GnuPG and Enigmail, are very useful indeed : )

For more information about GnuPG and Enigmail:
http://www.gnupg.org/
http://enigmail.mozdev.org/home/index.php

Useful free software to optimize and secure your system

Posted in Security by Patrick on June 28, 2008

Here’s a list of useful programs in different categories. Most of these programs are for Windows, but some of them are also open source and works for Linux. I only list programs that are free. I might update this post over time.

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Mozilla Firefox
The web-browser Firefox, has optional add-ons that you can install which makes it possible to extends the browsers functionality. I’ve picked out three add-ons that I find very useful. They speed up the browser and adds more security.

NoScript
It blocks all Javascript, Java and other malicious code from sites you don’t trust. Ever since I installed this, i’ve never had any spywares on my XP computer at all. A most have for people who wants a secure browser. My favorite add-on.

AdBlock Plus
Get rid of all those annoying banners and ads on websites.

Flash Block
Blocks all flash animations on all websites. If you want to play a certain flash animation though, just click on it, that’s what I like most about this add-on.

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Security
Zonealarm Firewall – A free version of the popular firewall Zonealarm. This software also has program control and port stealthing for example.

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition – Free anti-virus program, that is easy to use, provides high level of detection capability and doesn’t use so much system resources.

Ad-Aware 2008 – Scan for spywares, data-mining, advertising, and tracking components in general.

Spybot Search & Destroy – Spyware cleaner that also has real time protection.

TrueCrypt – Open Source encryption software. Can encrypt partitions, make virtual drives and encrypt harddrives completely.

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Optimize and cleaning software
JkDefrag – Free disk defragmenter program. Optimizes your harddrive.

CCleaner – System optimization tool which cleans registry and removes temporary files. It’s very fast.