PGP on shaky ground
The standard for Web encryption programs is being abandoned by its vendor, leaving plenty of questions and problems for users.
Computerworld - Bad things do happen to good code. So learned Phil Zimmermann, author of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), which in the early 1990s became the de facto standard for cryptology development on the Internet, according to analysts and user groups.
While working with human rights advocates in 1991, Zimmermann released his powerful encryption, signing and authentication freeware, which did away with the need for third-party key authorities to issue and manage the keys that lock and unlock data.
In fact, the mathematical encryption algorithm was so good that Zimmermann nearly went to jail after one of his associates posted the algorithm's source code on the Web and it caught the attention of the U.S. Customs Service. The federal government wasn't happy that such a powerful secrecy tool had become available to anyone who wanted it and had the technical skills to use the complex program. It took a three-year legal battle before Zimmermann was eventually cleared of violating the International Traffic in Arms Regulations for exporting munitions.
Phil Zimmermann, author of Pretty Good Privacy
"As Network Associates drops PGP, it drops the ease of use and high level of integration PGP achieved in the desktop computing environment," says Julian Koh, a network engineer at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., who uses PGP for file and mail encryption inside Northwestern's network. "They've also dropped support for that product. So if someone's using the latest version of PGP on XP and they install a Microsoft service pack for XP, it could break their PGP. And there's not going to be any update from Network Associates to patch PGP."
Because of PGP's history as free software, the number of companies that have installed it is unknown. But large organizations such as Lockheed Martin Corp. use PGP on a limited basis for critical communications and file encryption, according to a spokesperson at the Bethesda, Md.-based company. And PGP is also being used in a lot of Web site scripting, says Adam Back, a security consultant in Montreal who has used PGP for eight
- Silicon Valley's 19 Coolest Places to Work
- Is Windows 8 Development Worth the Trouble?
- 8 Books Every IT Leader Should Read This Year
- 10 Hot Hadoop Startups to Watch
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Acxiom Case Study This case study, which focuses on Acxiom, explores how the company was able to secure employee data, reduce migration costs and boost productivity...
- Windows® XP Migration: Protect and Secure Critical Data With the end of the Microsoft Windows XP operating system's lifecycle on April 8, 2014, businesses are faced with the decision to migrate...
- Enhancing Application Protection and Recovery with a Modern Approach to Snapshot Management This CommVault Business Value and Technology White Paper explains how Simpana IntelliSnap® Recovery Manager can make your application recovery fast and reliable.
- Radicati: Cloud Business Email - Market Quadrant 2013 Google was named the top cloud business email provider in a recent report by research firm Radicati. Out of 14 key players, Google...
- Live Webcast LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy... All Security White Papers | Webcasts