Like many other people, I love Gmail. I never got used to using an email client on a local machine. However, one of the shortcomings I’ve always found in Gmail is that it lacks the ability to use your to sign or encrypt your email messages with PGP. This ability is crucial in communicating securely in the open source world. For those of you who have never heard of PGP, is a cryptographic method of authenticating who messages came from (signing) or for scrambling data so only its intended recipients receive the information (encryption). Read up about it on Wikipedia’s article on PGP. If you don’t have a pgp key and want one, read this tutorial .
Today though, this glaring shortcoming is no more for me. I discovered a Firefox extension that lets you encrypt or sign your Gmail messages easily. The Firefox extension is called FirePGP and can be downloaded here. Once you install, you will see new buttons at the bottom of your Gmail interface:
(click HERE for full size image)
clicking on these keys will automatically find the keys in the keyring, and ask you for what key you want to use to sign/encrypt your message with. (You can also set a default key to use). It then asks you for the password for your key, and then swaps out your unencrypted or unsigned message with a signed or encrypted one (whatever you chose, of course). Check it out for yourself, Its really quite cool and extremely useful for anyone who uses Gmail often and needs PGP’s security.