One of the topics many BlackBerry users are concerned over is security especially when sending emails. While there are various encryption methods available, one of the more widely used ways is OpenPGP, which is derived from PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), to encrypt and decrypt email over the internet. What this means is that in terms of email security messages you send are unreadable by other individuals or intruders.
It just so happens I came across another useful utility tool for safeguarding my messages in my inbox that implements OpenPGP for BlackBerry 10. PGpgp allows you to exchange encrypted messages with your recipients or decrypt messages addressed to you. In order for it to work you will need to create and store your keys (public and private) and own the public key of the recipient. Do not worry as these keys cannot be accessed by other applications.
What sets this apart from other applications is that you can import the private key prepared by other systems (i.e. on your computer or a similar program). Otherwise, to generate your keys you can navigate to “My Keys,” and create a new one on your device. In order to do so you will need to input your name, valid email address (one you will be using to send/receive), password, and select the strength of the key from the dropdown (1024 or 2048 bit). After that is complete, the private key can be exported to a file by choosing the export option and the public key can be shared with your contacts. You can create a key for each of the accounts on your device that you wish to send messages from.
To send an encrypted message you simply tap on the option from the dashboard or access by swiping to the tab. From the dropdown, select your private key (if more than email was setup) and the receiver key, then copy and paste the message you wish to encrypt in the box provided. After you enter in the text simply tap on the Encrypt button at the bottom. You can send the email directly from within the application or choose to copy and paste into a new message screen yourself.
Decrypting a message utilizes a similar process. You would copy and paste the encrypted message from your email into the text box and tap the decrypt function at the bottom. Remember that password you created when you setup your keys? Make sure this isn’t lost as you will be asked to provide to complete the function. Depending on the strength of the key, it may take a moment or two to finish.
For those concerned over permissions it asks for access to BBM to invite contacts and set BBM status, Shared Files (for import/export of keys), and Email messages so that it can redirect email from the hub (Share option) and be able to open the contents of the selected email.
- Works with PGPDesktop, Thunderbird, and Enigmail
- Encrypted text sent as an attachment can be opened via the Hub in PGpgp
- Encrypt / Decrypt emails and text from the hub by invoking the share option and choosing PGpgp
- Can check senders identity (There is an option to sign in settings)
- Easy to use UI and process is relatively quick
- Share encrypted text via email, SMS, and BBM
- Cannot send to multiple recipients (Planned for an upcoming release)
Protecting one’s privacy is important, especially in this day and age where digital information can be accessed or has the potential to become public knowledge. While it does take some getting used to, this application does aid in concealing the contents of your messages from prying eyes. While full hub integration is limited by the OS, I do not mind copying and pasting the text into the application if it means safeguarding my data. PGpgp supports all BlackBerry 10 handsets, is easy to use and is $2.99 to download.