Encryption: Why The Industry Needs It And How Easy It Is

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series IT Security

While the Mortgage Field Services Industry is finding it difficult to simply send blind carbon copies — I actually received an entire company’s contractor email list today — the reality is that the real world has left it far behind with respect to both regulatory compliance and protection with respect to confidential information. It is truly amazing how insecure communications are between Members of the National Association of Mortgage Field Services in light of the legal requirements prevalent today. The reason I am writing this Article is that a Client had hired me to establish an encryption protocol between they and their Client in Europe. There are generally two types of anything in the software world: Proprietary and Open Source. Proprietary is like Microsoft Windows which is an expensive and bloated software Graphic Users Interface (GUI). MS Office is another example of for shit software which is additionally expensive and worthless — the security risks alone of the embedded DRM info and User Names and Passwords sent with each and every MS Word letter would terrify the common user. An Open Source example of Microsoft Windows is Ubuntu. It is free and always will be; it is far more powerful while consuming far less resources. The Open Source example of MS Office is Libre Office which includes FAR MORE features than MS Office — all free and free forever.

Open Source software powers virtually everything we touch today including most cell phones — unless you are a rich Wall Street fraudster toting around an iPhone. Encryption is one of the things which has an enormous Open Source coding base. I actually contribute to several projects for encryption along with others. With that said, encryption is a highly complex discussion which I am not going to cover here. Generally, we refer to the level of encryption as a bit type. There is a public and private key for encrypting and decrypting. For example, my encryption is 2048 – 4096 bit with the public key is stored on MIT Servers under D Paul Williams. — Shoot me an encrypted email when you finish the Article!

Albeit, Google is contemplating End to End as an encryption plugin for Chrome, the problem is that it would be counter productive for them to fully support encryption as their servers scan your mail for ad recommendations. In reality, there really is no way to protect communications once they leave your keyboard and especially when you are communicating in a mobile or wireless setting without encryption. So, what do you do?

I am a reformed hacker and coder by trade. While I could expound upon the virtues of installing Ubuntu and never having to run Anti Virus again, it would require most of my readers, if not all of them, to leave their comfort zone. So, we are going to talk about three (03) simple things of which one (01) you probably already have. First, you need Thunderbird which is a Firefox Email Client. Second, you need Enigmail. Finally, you need GnuPG (GNU Privacy Guard). The cost? FREE AND FREE FOREVER!

There are a ton of tutorials out there on how to properly install the packages on Windows environments. I like the one over at Security in a Box the best. If you were running Ubuntu, the reality is that it would be far easier. For those, though, whom simply are at a loss you will eventually either need to hire a Consultant to do it or continue to have your email and attachments rifled through like so many others do today. Stay tuned for our Article next week on Voice, Video and Instant Chat encryption — yup, Open Source as well and FREE!

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