PGP, or Pretty Good Privacy, uses RSA encryption methods to encrypt a message with a public key system. This means that if you want to encrypt a message that only I can decrypt (for example you want to send me some sensitive information), you can use my public key to encrypt it, and only I can decrypt it with my private key. Because of the nature of public key encryption, the only known way to break it is to crunch away to try to find a key pair that works on the message, and that can take Crays a few months to do, at best. There is currently no known algorithmic short cut because it would involve factoring large numbers quickly. More information.

So, if you want to send me some important information, please encrypt it with PGP using the key block on the previous page. After all, I want the NSA to make all those mathematicians work hard.

© 1999 Michael J. Sherman