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A Lesson in Encryption, Part 3

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This is the third and final part of my series of articles on public key encryption in Linux. In this article, I describe how to integrate GnuPG with the Thunderbird e-mail client so you can send and receive secure private e-mail.

Thunderbird is a popular e-mail client based on just the e-mail part of the all-in-one Mozilla program, itself a descendant of the Netscape Navigator suite. You add a small library plug-in called Enigmail to the Mozilla or Thunderbird mail client to provide seamless integration with GnuPG (GPG). Other e-mail clients can work with GnuPG too; consult their documentation for details.

The name Enigmail relates to the German Enigma encryption device used in WWII, which was cracked by a brilliant Polish mathematician and exploited by the British to track and sink Nazi U-Boats. Enigmail provides secure communication by scrambling e-mail text with GPG so only the intended recipient can read it.

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