Send PGP Encrypted Messages with Gmail

Send PGP Encrypted Messages with Gmail

The easiest way to send encrypted email with Gmail that I have found is to do so with Firefox and the FireGPG plugin. You can either encrypt the message before typing it into Gmail or you can type the message and then highlight the text and run the FireGPG plugin to encrypt it. Below are a few simple steps that should help encrypt email you are sending through Gmail to someone who has a PGP key.

NOTE:The below steps are if the FireGPG buttons are not showing in Gmail and is a temporary fix until FireGPG is updated and the entire message can be encrypted. I will update this with a link to the new article/howto once FireGPG is updated.

  1. Load Firefox:Make sure you have Firefox installed and open it. If you do now have Firefox it can be downloaded and installed here.
  2. Install FireGPG: Now in your Firefox browser visit thisURL. Click on the Download FireGPG button near the top of the page to download and install the FireGPG plugin. You will be required to restart Firefox so make sure yo have closed all other tabs in your Firefox browser.
  3. Open Gmail: Now visit Gmail here.
  4. Compose E-Mail Message:Now click the compose message link in the left navigation of Gmail. Type the recipient, enter a subject, and type out the email message.
  5. Encrypt Message:Now highlight the message you have typed by selecting all of the text including your signature if you like. Once highlighted click the Tools FireFox drop down and at the bottom you  will see FireGPG which you want to select. It will pop out another drop down where you will want to choose Encrypt. Once Encrypt is selected a list of your public keys will pop up. Choose the recipients public key by double clicking it in the list. This will then open a new window that will show the encrypted email message. If you do not have the persons public key you will need to obtain that first and then restart this process. I will be writing a howto soon about how to generate your own PGP key and how to manage others public GPG keys.
  6. Enter Encrypted Message: Now copy the text of the encrypted message and paste it over the original highlighted text from the Gmail message. The body of this email is now encrypted.
  7. Send Email: Now you can send the email to the person and they will decrypt the message on their end.

This is not the safest way to encrypt a message but the contents will be encrypted and this should only be used with Gmail if there is an issue between Gmail and FireGPG. Typically you would have buttons within Gmail that encrypts the entire message.