File and email encryption with GnuPG (PGP) part five

    Date15 Apr 2004
    3648
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    Verification is part of any security system. SSH, FTP, POP, and IMAP servers ask for your password before it lets you log into the machine, get your files, or snag your email. NTP can be configured to require keys before it'll let you mess with it's clock. CIFS requires a password or kerberos tickets before granting you access to shares. . . . Verification is part of any security system. SSH, FTP, POP, and IMAP servers ask for your password before it lets you log into the machine, get your files, or snag your email. NTP can be configured to require keys before it'll let you mess with it's clock. CIFS requires a password or kerberos tickets before granting you access to shares.

    Now some of the above examples can be done without a password, true enough. FTP can use the anonymous account. NTP keys are seldom used between end hosts and stratum 2 servers. CIFS guest shares are (overly) common.

    PGP falls into the same boat. In order to use PGP safely, you need to verify that the public key you have truly belongs to the individual or organisation you expect. Remember - anyone can create a PGP key with any name/comment/email data that they want. I could create a key with "George W. Bush (Texan) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." just as easily as he could.[1]

    To verify the key, you need to communicate with the actual party in a way that you know it's them.

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