Secure Your Emails in 5 Minutes Using PGP 🔐

Niharika Singh
Sep 27, 2018 · 4 min read

If you’re worried about government spying on you, or if it is your hawk-eyed company is too interested in your mailbox, or if you’re fed up of targeted advertisements, or if you want to communicate privately with your love interest, or to manage sensitive documents like identity cards, bank statements, passwords— keeping conversations encrypted using PGP is worth doing.

What is PGP (Pretty Good Privacy)?

I’m not going to go into the nuances of PGP because of complex cryptography used under the hood.

Essentially, PGP garbles up the email making it look like random letters and numbers. This encryption happens using receiver’s public key. So if you wish to send anyone an email securely, all you need is their public key. It’s a trend these days to put up PGP public key as Twitter bio.

When this message is downloaded on the recipient’s side, it is decrypted using a receiver’s private key. Make sure you never ever share your private key with anyone. So if anyone is spying on your mailbox, all they’d see is garbled text!

Step-by-step guide to set up PGP

1. Download and install Mozilla Thunderbird

Go to and download thunderbird for whichever OS you’re on.

This is what my application console looks like —

Set up your existing account on thunderbird. This may take up 5 to 10 minutes depending upon how many emails you have.

2. Download and install GNU Privacy guard

Go to to download it.

3. Download Enigmail

Go to to download it.

To install Enigmail on Thunderbird, use right click “Save Link as …” to save the extension locally. Then navigate to the Thunderbird menu Tools > Addons

Choose Enigmail and add it.

4. Get your keys

This is your public key. This is what trendy cool people put in their twitter bio.

Now let’s test it by sending an email.

You encrypt your email using receiver’s public key (fingerprint)and the receiver will decrypt the mail using their private key (fingerprint).


I actually wrote:

Thunderbird will automatically decrypt the email given that your thunderbird account has sender’s public key (fingerprint).

And that’s how it is done!

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by + 373,071 people.

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Niharika Singh

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