Category Archives: Resources

Online resources, local businesses, tools for traveling, and other helpful information.

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 * 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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Burn After Reading: Private Messages Made Simple

Email and texting are great modern conveniences, but they were never intended to be secret. Nowadays, with hackers dumping stolen messages on the Web and the government recording everything, these methods are decidedly risky for sending any information that must remain truly confidential. In fact, email was designed to be like an electronic equivalent of a postcard that can be read anywhere along the way by anyone who comes across it. Encryption with software, despite many forms being compromised by the NSA and others, is still held up by Edward Snowden and many security experts as the best means of securing private communications. But to do it right is hard, requiring preparation and a kind of discipline. If there were only some simple way of harnessing current available technology to permit an easy exchange of private information between individuals… And indeed there is. Southwest Cyberport presents Burn After Reading, free for anyone’s use. Burn After Reading is a secure private message dead-drop. It cleverly uses the same Internet technology already built into everyone’s Web browsers that enables safe purchasing online to allow private communications between two parties. All you need do is visit the Burn After Reading page and write your message into the field. You can have it send a link to the message for you, or you can send the link the page generates yourself in your own email to the other party. Either way, once the person … Continue reading

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