Category Archives: Interesting Items

Things SWCP staff members found interesting, or fun.

Private Email – Part 2

In our last post we showed you how to install the Mailvelope browser extension and generate PGP public and private keys, and how to import someone’s public key. Now we’d like to actually use this structure to send encrypted email. At this point if you use Gmail or Yahoo mail you’re actually ready to encrypt. Roundcube requires some additional configuration to work with mailvelope. Go to Options in your Mailvelope page, and select list of email providers, then Add New Site. The site name can be “Roundcube SWCP” and the domain pattern should be *.roundcube.swcp.com. Now when you compose a new message you’ll see a button in the compose window that looks like a pencil and paper.   If you press this a new window will pop open like the one below. Type a message and press encrypt. You’ll get a dialog box that allows you to select the key you want to use to encrypt the message. This should be the key of the person you’re sending the message to. Add that key, then press OK. Now you’ll see the encrypted message which will look something like this: Press Transfer and that message will be copied to your compose window and you can now send the message to your friend. That’s it! Inline Encryption You may want to make the process easier to use by allowing inline encryption. This will allow you to do the encryption in the compose … Continue reading

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Private Email – Part 1

In that last few years we’ve come to see more and more that things we thought were private, simply aren’t. Whether it is companies that want to sell you things, the government wanting to find terrorist plots, or thieves looking for personal data to aid with  identity theft, there are many players out there looking at your data. Is there anyway to protect ourselves from prying eyes? One way is to use strong encryption. PGP, Pretty Good Privacy, has been around since 1991. It’s a public key encryption system, which means it uses a pair of encryption keys, one that is public and can be freely given out to anyone and one that is private/secret and must be protected. In addition to the keys there is a passphrase that is known to the owner of the keys and is required to decrypt a message. PGP has been a useful tool for techno-savvy folks, but has been difficult to use for the more techno-casual person. I recently attended a CryptoParty. The aim of these events is to help put privacy tools in more hands. I discovered some new (and more modern) packages for working with PGP and integrating it into tools you may be familiar with, so I thought I’d share my experience of setting up PGP for use with Roundcube. Roundcube is an open source webmail client that is available for use with your SWCP account. A little background In … Continue reading

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Mobilegeddon is Upon Us

“Mobilegeddon” is a funny way of referring to Google’s latest change of its search engine ranking algorithm. Of course, whenever the world’s most-used means of finding things tinkers with the way it works, people are concerned and easily spooked. You can see how the changes affect overall rankings here. But this particular tweak only affects smartphone users and the websites they look at – which these days, may be a whole lot of people but it’s still nothing like an Armageddon, except possibly to panicky overworked web-designers. Starting April 21, Google began ranking websites for smartphone users by how mobile user-friendly they are. But these rankings will only affect Google listings accessed by smartphones – traditional desktop, laptop, and also tablet user rankings will not be affected in any way. And it applies not just to entire websites, but page by page. This is Google’s way of encouraging website owners and developers to make their sites more easy to use on smartphones, where Web usage continues to explode. Tiny screens and different needs Surf on a cell-phone for a short time and the need for such modernization is soon obvious. Most websites that look great with huge pictures, small type, and plenty of fashionable white space on a nice large desktop or laptop screen look bad and are hard to navigate on a tiny handheld device. Scrolling and zooming all over the place can be very frustrating, and it’s hard … Continue reading

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