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Titivillus Editing for the Health Sciences

Preparing Ideas and Research Results for Publication

Timothy DeVinney, Author's Editor and Copy Editor
Titivillus Editorial Services

Procedure: File Encryption with PGP

Quick introduction

For information on how to acquire the PGP program, see the note below.

PGP encryption works by using a pair of coding keys: one public key to encrypt the file and one private key from the same pair to decrypt the file. In other words, you prepare an encrypted file for someone else to read by encoding it with their public key, which they send you or which can be found on an Internet key server. Then you send them the encrypted file, and they can decode that file with their private key (which matches the public key you used to encrypt the file) and read it.

So, for example, let us say I want to send an encrypted file to John Smith, MD. I use his public key to encode that file. If I want to be able to decode it myself sometime, I also add my public key to the set being used to do the encoding. The encrypted file can now be decoded by Dr Smith using his private key—the one that matches the public key I used to encrypt the file.

Key to symbols used on this page

{ } a value to be filled in as appropriate (eg, "select {filename}" for mypaper.doc means select the file mypaper.doc)
-> left mouse click on...
d-> left mouse click, hold down mouse button, and drag
r-> right mouse click on...

Steps to encrypt a file with PGP

Note: These instructions apply to the Microsoft Windows operating system.

Step 1. Go get my public key (available at https://keyserver2.pgp.com/vkd/
. Accessed October 18, 2005) and add it to your PGP key ring:

—search for ID: Timothy DeVinney
—import to key ring: ->import

Step 2. In Windows Explorer, r->{filename}, ->PGP, ->Encrypt

Step 3. In the key selection dialog: d->{user's name} (their public keys) to the Recipients panel below, for all those users who will be able to use their private key to decrypt this file (include your own public key if you want to be able to decrypt this file once you have encrypted it).


Encryption steps, continued

Step 4. leave these settings:
   __ Text Output [leave unchecked]
   __ Input Is Text [leave unchecked]
   __ Wipe Original [leave unchecked, unless for some reason you want to keep only an encrypted version of this file]
   __ Conventional Encryption [leave unchecked]
   __ Self Decrypting Archive [leave unchecked]

Step 5. ->Ok
(Note: it may take a few minutes before the encrypted file shows up in the file directory. It will have the file extension "pgp"; eg, the file myarticle.doc will become myarticle.doc.pgp in its encrypted form.)

Steps to decrypt a file with PGP

Once you have a copy of the file (through FTP or as an e-mail attachment), then

Step 1. r->{filename} in Windows Explorer

Step 2. ->PGP, ->Decrypt & Verify

Step 3. Make sure that the file was encrypted with your public key (see list in top panel)

Step 4. Type in your password for your private key
(Note: your private key itself is handled automatically by the PGP program as part of the "key chain" in its PGPKeys function—accessible by r->PGP icon in the system tray.)

Note: PGP Desktop 9 is available as a 30-day free trial (Available at: http://www.pgp.com/. Accessed October 18, 2005), after which it can still be used with limited functionality, which is enough for basic encryption and decryption to ensure privacy in transmitting data to and from the copy editor. Purchasing the full product will provide the user with more advanced functions such as automatically encrypting e-mail and IM messages, which are not necessary for working with a copy editor.

For next step, go back to stage 1: sending a sample for an estimate.


URL for this page: http://www.HeathSciEdit.com/TESproc-encrypt01.htm
© 2003–2006 Timothy DeVinney. Page last updated November 24, 2005.