Bag of Spoons
Just off the A1(M)

Wed, 18 Aug 2010

Getting Pretty Gnarly

I've written several times previously about encryption. I've had a public key for several years now, but haven't used it too much. It's been signed by lots of people, giving it fairly good provenance. I sign the occasional email, but there are few people I would send anything encrypted. At Herts LUG last week a friend of a friend came along, partly to do some keysigning. I was not well organised and didn't manage to print off my whole key signature, so I'm not sure he's going to sign mine, but I signed his and emailed it back to him.

Part of the reason I've not been encrypting or signing is due to problems getting this working in Kmail. Since I did my recent fresh install it hadn't been working, but it is now thanks to some help I got from Ubuntu Stack Exchange, a welcome addition to the Q&A network. I still feel that encryption is still a bit technical for the average user. If it's not used correctly then will be getting a false sense of security.

Encryption would be used more if integrated into more of the email tools people use. I didn't realise that Gmail had experimented with signature verification last year, but it doesn't look like they decided to keep it. That's a shame, as is the end of development of FireGPG, a browser plug-in I looked at a while back. We all rely on encryption to secure financial transactions on the internet, but few seem interested in the possibilities of secure communication and the ability to verify their identity. I wonder if the growth of Facebook and other systems is moving people away from conventional email. I know that spam could put me off if I was starting now.

Back at Herts LUG, we had an interesting demonstration by Malc of installing Sidux using the latest GRUB facilities to boot an ISO image directly from a hard drive. It didn't all quite work, but the principle was proved. He made it hard for himself by using an ancient PC that wouldn't boot from anything other than a floppy. I also had my first hands-on with an iPad. A slick device, but not one I'm desperate for. You read more on the owner's experiences on his 'flog'.

[21:35] | [] | Comments | G
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