An Introduction to Cryptography
Cryptography is the stuff of spy novels and action comics. Kids once saved up bubble-gum wrappers and sent away for Captain Midnight?s Secret Decoder Ring. Almost everyone has seen a television show or movie involving a nondescript suit-clad gentleman with a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist. The
word ?espionage? conjures images of James Bond, car chases, and flying bullets.
And here you are, sitting in your office, faced with the rather mundane task of sending a sales report to a coworker in such a way that no one else can read it. You just want to be sure that your colleague was the actual and only recipient of the email and you want him or her to know that you were unmistakably the sender. It?s not national security at stake, but if your company?s competitor got a hold of it, it could cost you. How can you accomplish this? You can use cryptography. You may find it lacks some of the drama of code phrases whispered in dark alleys, but the result is the same: information revealed only to those for whom it was intended.
Who should read this guide
This guide is useful to anyone who is interested in knowing the basics of cryptography, and explains the terminology and technology you will encounter as you use PGP products. You will find it useful to read before you begin working with cryptography.
How to use this guide
This guide describes how to use PGP to securely manage your organization?s messages and data storage.
Chapter 1, ?The Basics of Cryptography,? provides an overview of the terminology and concepts you will encounter as you use PGP products.
Chapter 2, ?Phil Zimmermann on PGP,? written by PGP?s creator, contains discussions of security, privacy, and the vulnerabilities inherent in any security system, even PGP.
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