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e-ignite: Blog now updated - bigger and better than before





Animal
e-ignite: Free and Easy Email Encryption

Ok, so I've been here for quite a long time and never advertised my site. Why am I doing it now?
Not just because I'm a bit of a geek, but because I think that as the weeks drag on, privacy on the internet is becoming more and more of an issue. Several recent news stories highlight the need for email encryption - if you want to know more, please read on.

There are several sections to this (probably world-record breakingly long) advertisment for my site:
Reasons to encrypt your email, including current relevant news stories to back up my reasoning.
How to Encrypt your email, with a brief summary of the full content on my site.
And finally, a new blog section on my site so that you can all join in the discussion about current news stories.

Can you not really be bothered reading all this thread? No problem! Just click here to go straight to my site.

---------------------------

EDIT: New Section - just updated
My blog. Here, I've been posting current news stories that I think are of interest. Mainly, these are related to security and privacy, but there may be some other content. My reasoning for adding this section is that it'll be much easier for me to add links to the new stories, and I can add my opinions on the matter. I would welcome anyone to come along and join in a conversation about the stories on the blog - I've left comments open for all your questions, queries and opinions, and hopefully this will help to make the site generally more interactive.

---------------------------

Why Encrypt?
On a very basic level, you should encrypt your email because you can. When you send a personal letter through the post, you put it into an envelope. This stops casual nosy people from reading your personal letters. If you send an email, any geek who knows how could read all the emails you send since they are transmitted across the internet in plain text.

A common response to this is that you have nothing to hide. Well, neither do I, but the principle is important. You have nothing to hide when you talk to your friends on the phone, but you don't use speakerphone when you're on the bus, for example.

Here's the key point though:
Did you know that every single ISP in the European Union is legally obliged to keep records of all your emails and web traffic for up to 2 years? Don't believe me? Click here.
Did you also know that the US Government is considering a similar law?

Still not convinced? The FBI are not happy when people use encrypted VoIP phone calls (ie. Skype-to-Skype) because it makes it more difficult for them to monitor! Read the full story here.

Read more stories about why your privacy doesn't exist on the internet on this page of my site.


In the past, if the FBI or Police wanted to tap your phonecalls and intercept your mail, there was a due process. They had to apply to a court to get a warrant to do so, then work with the communication companies to get the records. This takes time (and some form of proof of suspicion), so they could only do it to people they suspected of criminal activity. Now, with technology so widely used, they can automatically monitor millions of people's private conversations every day, then go through all the emails and look for evidence of some form of criminal activity. As far as I'm concerned, this is wrong. We should not be living in a Big Brother society.

If the government have some form of evidence linking me to a specific crime and they get a warrant allowing them to read my emails, I would welcome them into my home, I would decrypt every single email I've ever sent and received and prove to them that I have absolutely nothing to hide. Until the day they get a court order allowing them to do so, however, they have no right to read my email. I hope some of you feel the same way I do.

If more people encrypt their email, Governments will need to think again, and they will hopefully stop widescale monitoring of all electronic communications and return to evidence and intelligence-based prosecutions.


---------------------------

How do I encrypt my email?
There are two very simple methods to encrypt your email. One involves downloading a certificate from a Certificate Agency (this is called S/MIME), and the other involves downloading a small piece of software and generating your own "certificate" (this is called OpenPGP or PGP encryption). This second option (my preferred encryption method) is very versatile, and you can even use the software for file encryption.

All you need to do is use a program like Mozilla Thunderbird to send and receive your encrypted and digitally signed emails. Don't worry though, this email encryption works with your current webmail accounts such as Hotmail, Gmail and even your Frihost emails!
You can also use a portable version of Thunderbird so that you can run the software from a USB stick - this way you can easily use secure communication anywhere in the world.

Ok, it may seem a little complex to set up at first, but after a few minutes to set it up, encryption really is a case of clicking one button then clicking send.

For full instructions on setting up email encryption using OpenPGP (recommended) please click here. Full downloads of all the free, open-source software you need are also available from my website!
If you would like to use S/MIME with an existing Outlook Express installation, click here.

---------------------------

Well, there's an advertisment for my website - I've included reasons I think encryption is important, and links to my site to show you how it's done. If you do decide to set up encrypted email, please feel free to test it by sending me an encrypted email, or ask me for help with anything at all related to it, just hit the "Contact" link on my website and ask away!

If you have any comments or questions in general, you can also reply to this post (or even better, join in the discussion at my new blog). Thanks for reading and if you've made it this far, you've done extremely well! Wink
Blaster
First i have to say WOW was that post big. I read it all though.

The site looks really good and tomorrow i am going to do that. You are right about that. Our bussiness is our bussiness. Not some other persons.

Good luck with your site. I can see you geting many people to it. Very Happy
Scorpio
good work.

nice site there
salman_500
like ur site...

even though wat you rote in all that post is very convinving and all that.... im still not satisfied with the use of encrypted e-mails...... well im just a 15 year old KID !!! i dont have credit issues or bankin to deal with.... and the hackers wil;l read .... is some forwaded mails from my friendz and some other stuff bout skool.. now who wud want to hide that?
Scorpio
It is meant to be used when and if you need it.

Not forced on you actually..
Animal
Hey, thanks for the feedback guys!

salman_500 wrote:
im still not satisfied with the use of encrypted e-mails...... well im just a 15 year old KID !!! i dont have credit issues or bankin to deal with.... and the hackers wil;l read .... is some forwaded mails from my friendz and some other stuff bout skool.. now who wud want to hide that?

Yeah, I see your point. You feel that you have nothing to hide, so why bother encrypting your email? I agree that this is a matter of choice, and I would never say "You Must Encrypt Your Email", but I think privacy is important. I have nothing to hide either, but why should someone be able to read any emails I send? Even if it's only a link to a stupid funny video or something.

The real question is... what if you decide you do have something to send that you don't want others to read? Credit card details? Addresses? Details of embarrassing illnesses etc? If you do send that encrypted but not anything else, it looks like there may be something worth hacking for. If you send several emails a day with general day-to-day chat in them, it doesn't seem so unusual, and its unlikely that someone will try to break into all your emails to discover what funny video you last looked at.

However, as I said - it's all about choice!

scorpio wrote:
I guess you can use the ecryption features for the future, if or when you do become a guy who has to rely on encryption to ensure the safety of the data

There are two real issues: One is security and one is privacy. From my point of view, I use encryption for privacy - this stops any two-bit hacker reading all my emails. Not that I think someone is "cyber-stalking" me, but I just don't like the idea that everything I send can be read by someone. However, Security is a very real issue. If you go to some countries, government censorship is extremely tight, and people like journalists may be put in jail or tortured for leaking "the truth" about these countries in an email or via the internet. By encrypting the email, it makes it virtually impossible for the government to "prove" what has been sent by merely intercepting the email. When you get to this level of data security, email encryption isn't a toy - it saves lives.

Now excuse me while I go and put my tinfoil hat back on...
salman_500
i know your point....

but look..... suppose ur a hacker..... u wont hack 1 mail day.... u wud go for like 1000's of mails a day if ur a true hacker..... and you open a mail... and its just in normal text.... he wud just scroll through it once and then move on to the next...... but if he gets his hand on an encrypted mail....he'll know that this mail has somthin he wants...

he'll then try to uncrypt it or watever..... and if he has the software... he will and get out stuff that you wanted to hide.... so by encrypting you actually makin your data more attractive...
Animal
salman_500 wrote:
he'll then try to uncrypt it or watever..... and if he has the software... he will and get out stuff that you wanted to hide.... so by encrypting you actually makin your data more attractive...


I disagree. For a "Brute-Force" attack to decrypt a 2048bit encrypted email, it would take an array of (fast) computers a number of months. If the hacker went through all that and eventually opened an email that from me that said something like
My encrypted email wrote:
Hi, how's it going? Just to let you know I though that video you sent was classic! Cya, A

a hacker would be pretty upset. For a casual hacking snoop, encrypted mails are not worth the effort and he would just move onto the next unencrypted email to see if he can find some juicy information.

I'm a realist. If someone really wants to read an encrypted email, if they put enough effort and processing power into it, they'll get in. But for anyone to justify that kind of project, they would need to be sure there was valuable information inside. A random hacker monitoring emails probably wouldn't have the time or inclination to try to crack an encrypted email.

Here's a bit of reference* for you:
A modern RSA Encryption key of 2048bits (the default size with OpenPGP) needs 300,000,000,000,000,000,000 MIPS for a brute-force attack to break. One MIPS represents one processor making 1,000,000 calculations every second for one year. So it's gonna take a lot for a hacker to get into your email, so random snoops are not likely to bother.

* - Source.

--------------------------------------------------

The New Part:

I've now added a new blog section to my site where I'll keep everyone up-to-date with all the latest privacy and security related stories on the internet. There are comments enabled after each topic, so I'd invite you all to join in the discussions about the news stories - I'm trying to make this section of the site as balanced as possible while showing you all my line of thinking.
It's not exactly full yet, I know, but I'll be adding content frequently. If you see a story you think I might be interested im, contact me and tell me!

http://www.e-ignite.co.uk/blog

So what do you think?
Scorpio
Good blog animal, informative enough for a new blogger.

But my only suggestion would be to add some good plugins for wordpress and also change the theme to a suitable and more attractive one.

It will make your blog stand out.

Also, instead of posting the whole article in one page(making the page to scroll for eternity) use the break feature when typing the text in order that, a certain part of the whole article is on the main page(a gist) and the rest are on a linked page(wordpress auto creates a linked page when you use the break option) this option is on the main toolbar when you type the content of a post
Tomppe
Much content!.. But i don't like the layout.
Dustin
I can see something like this being interesting to big and small companies...however average people like myself have no need for something as complex as this.

Nonetheless your layour of the site was really impressive
Technaut
i really like the layout. simple, yet stylish. the nav bar is cool. however, i agree with Dustin. i have no need at all for email encryption.
Animal
Well, thanks for all the feedback guys!

@Scorpio - I took your advice about the story-breakers (couldn't find that at first! Embarassed ) but I actually quite like the plain old theme. What plugins do you suggest? Bear in mind I only started using Wordpress about 2 days ago!

@Tomppe - What do you not like about the layout? Please tell me so I can try to improve it for everyone.

@Dustin and Technaut - Thanks for your comments, they're most appreciated Very Happy. Obviously, the point with encryption is that you have the right to choose whether to use it or not, and I respect that. Unfortunately, in today's surveilance climate you're not able to choose whether your emails are intercepted or not!

Thanks again for the comments all!
Tomppe
In my eyes it looks like the logo and navbar are floating away or something.. Smile
Animal
Newly Updated: Blog Section

I had to close the comments on my Blog some time ago due to a massive amount of spam (we're talking several hundred messages a week!). I found some spare time hanging around and decided to eradicate it, so I've added image verification to prevent the spam comments and re-opened the discussions. This should hopefully fix the problem.

I've also added a much nicer theme (IMO) and edited it to serve my purposes nicely! I never knew php coding would take so long!

One minor drawback is that I've had to change my blog's address (although this is not related to the spam prevention, it may actually help with that!). It's now at http://www.e-ignite.co.uk/blog

Any comments? Questions? Please let me know. Do you want to discuss the stories or issues shown on the blog? Feel free to use the comments section - they're all back open for business. Very Happy
Ruckus
I like you site and blog. It's pretty useful stuff.
On your main homepage (not your blog) the colors are kinda bland and need to stand out a little bit more)
Other than that nice job on your site.

I like your blog's design too. Great Job.
Technaut
a couple months ago i was thinking about making a wiki about email encryption, but since animal put his page up, i must bow before the greater site. its good stuff. i'm too lazy to implement it, but it's still nice info to have. Laughing
Animal
Ruckus wrote:
I like you site and blog. It's pretty useful stuff.
On your main homepage (not your blog) the colors are kinda bland and need to stand out a little bit more)
Other than that nice job on your site.

I like your blog's design too. Great Job.

Thanks very much for the feedback! Very Happy
I agree that the main site could do with a re-vamp, but unfortunately my web authoring software's not exactly feature-packed! I'll maybe get around to fixing it sometime (when I can afford some new software!)

Technaut wrote:
a couple months ago i was thinking about making a wiki about email encryption, but since animal put his page up, i must bow before the greater site. its good stuff. i'm too lazy to implement it, but it's still nice info to have. Laughing

Well, if you do set up a wiki and want some more info on encryption, let me know and I'd be happy to contribute.

Quick question for you guys: Are the ads on both the site and blog displaying properly for you? I've had a few problems with Bidvertiser so far and would appreciate knowing if there were "worldwide problems" with my source of income Wink
Technaut
i see no problems with the ads. it even has one for a neat 3/4" spy cam. *bookmarks the spy cam link*
saratdear
Yes, Animal, nice site, but I haven't really considered encrypting my e-mail yet. But however, I have two questions.

Q.1 : Will encrypting my Yahoo! or Gmail make any difference to the interface and all that?
Q.2 : What would be the software I would have to download to encrypt my e-mail?
Animal
saratdear wrote:
Q.1 : Will encrypting my Yahoo! or Gmail make any difference to the interface and all that?

It depends what method you use. There are 4 options:
a) Install a mail client on your PC and use it instead of the webmail interface. This will mean that you don't go to gmail.com for example to check your emails. (Quite easy, fast performance)
b) Use Mobility Email mail client software from a USB flash drive to check your email from any computer with an internet connection. Again, this will mean that you use the software rather than the webmail interface. (Very easy, slightly slower performance than option a)
c) Use Freenigma - a Mozilla Firefox plugin with your webmail interface. Your webmail will not change if you use this method. (Pretty easy, but takes a little experience to generate the keys. Less secure than the other methods, and you can only encrypt and not sign your email)
d) Use WinPT to encrypt text only via the clipboard. You will still use the standard interface, but you paste encrypted code into the message box. (Really complex for a beginner, only recommended if the other methods don't work)


saratdear wrote:
Q.2 : What would be the software I would have to download to encrypt my e-mail?

This depends on the method you use (see above).

If you're installing it on your own PC, I have a full software package for download plus instructions on how to install it.

If you want to use it on a flash drive, I highly recommend Mobility Email which I helped develop.

If you need any help setting it up, send me a PM Wink
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