Super Easy E-mail Encryption Using Gmail, Firefox and Windows




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This is an instructable with a video tutorial that teaches how to install GPG4win and FireGPG on your computer in order to send and receive encrypted e-mail through Gmail.

I made this tutorial to teach friends and colleagues how to setup their Gmail for encryption.

Encryption is very important because e-mails are very unsecure. An e-mail is equivalent to a postcard, ANYBODY CAN READ IT.

So if you want to send personal and private information, you better encrypt.

By the way, you need windows in order to run the programs mentioned here, if you have a mac then go to this instructable.

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Step 1: The Programs Needed

This is the simplest combination of programs for encryption.

You will need windows, a Firefox browser and a Gmail account as well as GPG4Win and FireGPG.

GPG4Win does the encryption on a windows machine.
FireGPG adds encryption functionality in Gmail.

Step 2: How Encryption Works

Encryption is really very simple, but many people try to make it sound complicated.

Every person have a pair of keys.

Each key is a number that fits in an equation.

One key is shared with everyone, and is called the "public key".

One key is private and you hide it on your computer or on you flash disk and this is called a "private key".

The e-mail cannot be opened without using both keys.

The person sending you an encrypt e-mail must know your public key in order to encrypt it. The e-mail cannot be opened except with your private key which you only have.

Step 3: Sending Encrypted E-mail

If Bond wants to send Q an encrypted message he needs Q's public key.

There are three ways for Bond o get Q's public key:

1. Q can give his public key to Bond physically, like, say, on a flash disk or some other physical media. This the safest most secure method of communication. Because anybody that tries to decrypt need to know the two keys.

2. Q can e-mail his public key to bond. This is slightly less secure.

3.Q can post his public key on a server, like a keyserver or his website or even Instructables. Now one key is known to the public but the other key is unkown. This exactly half as secure as method 1.

I will post Q's public key here. It also available on the keyserver

Q's e-mail is

You can send me encrypted messages as practice.



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    11 Discussions

    Thank you. I wanted to know about email encryption and you made it easier for me. This is the only option Data Protecto doesn't have. The software is real good and has everything from USB encryption to cloud storage except this email encryption.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I just registered to say thx for tuto. But im having probs using, everytime when i try to get others public key, it crashes and sometimes complains about fireftp(i removed it few weeks ago and yet it still bugs me..) Do u have solution for this?

    5 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I use fireftp and never had this message. What firefox version do you have? Try updating everything including fireftp.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for reply, biotele. I have latest version of firefox 3.0.4. I tried to re-install firefox(manually deleted all entrys of mozilla/firefox) re-installed plugins i use and stil it says i have fireftp installed and it crashes when i try to get others public key. Sad, looks like i cant use this :( deleted previous cos no edit button. Ok, i did try complete re-install/re-download for all, but still no luck. Tried installing default dir and custom dir, tried settings etc, tried installinf fireftp and same prob everytime, it crashes when i try to get others public key. I tried to use proxy and no proxy. I give up :(


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    You mean fireGPG not fireFTP, right? Fire FTP is a great FTP program, for firefox whch I also have. I didn't mention it here, but you can use pgp4win with outlook 2003. No need for gmail. Also try getting the keys with the stand alone apps like GPA and WinPt (included in pggp4win)


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Sry for confusion, english is not my main language. I ment that when i installed Gpg4win 1.1.3 and FireGPG (i did all like in ur video) and when i started to check FireGPG settings, it said that i have fireFTP what causes some errors? (i removed it weeks ago) and when i use GPA or WinPt to get public keys it crashes. When i try gmail, i receive some ipc error and conflict with fireFTP? I dont have office or outlook(not even outlook express). 1 of my friend tried to solve this too, but no luck :(

    Pretty good 'ible. Note that this can also be done on linux with GPG (which usually comes pre-installed -- check with "which gpg") and fireGPG. I'd also like to say that publishing your public key is just as secure as handing it over surreptitiously -- it's impossible to decode with the public key. In fact, it's better to post your public key, because then more people can see it, and more people can use it.

    3 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks. It is meant for people that don't know how to set up PGP. You send the link to your friends and family in order that they set up encryption on their end.