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PGP is a widely-used public key encryption program (PGP is an acronym for "Pretty Good Privacy"). It is used to encrypt files so that only a designated recipient will be able to read them. It is commonly used to send sensitive information, such as passwords or credit card information, through electronic mail.

In order to use PGP, you'll need to have the recipient's public key. Each person's public key is unique and lets PGP encrypt the message in a way that only the key's owner will be able to decrypt. The nifty thing about public key encryption systems is that a person's public key can be used only for encrypting messages to that person; a separate, private, key is used for decrypting. This means that the public key can really be public: there's no need to try to keep it out of the hands of potential attackers because it will not help them break the code.

Additional Information

Free version of PGP
Distributed by MIT. Available for Unix, Windows or Mac but can only be downloaded by US or Canadian citizens. Alternative sites that do not restrict downloads are available in other countries. One example is www.pgpi.org.
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Revised 06/15/2004