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Cryptography is a difficult topic, but many people are interested in keeping their email communications private. Where can a "moderately skilled geek" find a good introduction that will teach them the practical skills? PGP & GPG: Email for the Practical Paranoid claims it can help. Quantum Skyline from our own Dev Hardware forums reviews the book.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. PGP and GPG: Email for the Practical Paranoid
  2. A Textbook on Email
  3. Details of Instruction
  4. Conclusion
By: Quantum Skyline
Rating: starstarstarstarstar / 4
May 30, 2007

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In conclusion, PGP & GPG: Email for the Practical Paranoid is a good read for someone who wants to get started in the world of email security.  Lucas tries hard to simplify difficult tasks and concepts he says that the math that proves that cryptography works can make your head hurt while maintaining a level of informality and ease that should not intimidate most users.  PGP & GPG also gives the reader a feel for important issues by repeating them and explaining the potential results for not considering them. 

However, where Lucas does a good job of explaining what to do, I don't think that PGP & GPG explained why the reader would want to do it.  There are a lot of things that must be done when managing the Web of Trust, and it can seem like a lot of work for little benefit to the reader.  Similarly, the lack of diagrams in the book make it hard to visualize the process one is going through.

Having said that, I would recommend PGP & GPG to any novice cryptographer, not just someone who is looking at securing their email.  Books like this make cryptography a bit more accessible, and despite the title, prompt those who aren't paranoid yet to start protecting their data and communications.

For more information on PGP & GPG: Email for the Practical Paranoid, please feel free to visit No Starch Press' site on the book; it can be bought from Amazon here.  If you have comments, questions, or beefs on this review, leave a comment here or in the DevHardware Forums.  I would like to hear what you think.



 
 
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