GUIDE TO (mostly) HARMLESS HACKING
Vol. 3 No. 8, Part 2
The Magical Mystical Crypto-Primer
by Tim "No Sinister Nickname" Skorick <TIM_SKORICK@non-hp-usa-om7.om.hp.com>
V. WHAT'S THE EASIEST WAY TO GET INTO ALL THIS? (or "Phil
A. PGP and where to get it
Awright, some of you cipherpunks knew this was coming.
By far the easiest
way to play around with cryptography is by getting your own free
PGP. PGP stands for "Pretty Good Privacy" and
was created a while back by a real fun math teacher named Phil
Zimmerman. It was only command-line-based, meaning you
had to do those annoying dos-like commands and switches and all
that and there's wasn't any windows-type point and click.
They (him and his friends) finally came up with a windows version
but then promptly sold the whole thing to a company called Network
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Go Get It! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Go to http://bs.mit.edu:8001/pgp-form.html This is
Institute of Technology website where you can still get PGP version
Windows. Now you could get the *new* PGP version 5.5 from
that version will
only let you send and get messages encrypted with a Diffie-Hellman
not an RSA key. If you want to play with both, you have
to get the older
Now either way, you're going to have to fill out a questionnaire
promising that you're located in the USA and that you aren't
going to email
a copy of the software to "Bob the UnaHacker" in some
I'm going to explain that in a little bit.
Okay, let me assume for the sake of easiness that you're going
to be running
PGP on some flavor of windows or possibly on a mac. Doesn't
matter which, it'll work the same on most of them.
1. Install it on your computer.
2. When it asks you which key type you want to generate, start
Diffie-Hellman just for the heck of it.
3. When it asks you for the size of key you want, just pick the
(heck, ya might as well).
4. You then get to pound random data out of your keyboard and
this fun little animation thingy.
5. So it finishes. The first thing you'll notice is that
give you the keys of just about everybody who has ever worked
at or near
PGP. No biggie. You're good to go with the cryptofun.
A. Playing with PGP
First things first: your clipboard is your friend. Oh
yes, make friends
with your clipboard. Verrrrrry important. Take him
out to dinner, date his
sister, tell him he's cool. You'll be using him quite a
What makes PGP so user-friendly isn't only that it works with
different operating systems ... it also uses only the most idiotically
simple parts of all these operating systems. You know what
the "copy" and
"paste" functions are on most computers, right?
To "copy" you hit Ctrl-C
and it writes stuff that you selected onto your clipboard, and
just Ctrl-V and it copies the stuff back onto your document wherever
want. Your clipboard is just the way-station, so where
better to use
encryption and decryption functions?
1. To mess with the data, get it onto your clipboard.
2. To look at what you did to it, move it from your clipboard
If you ever want to see what's on your clipboard at the moment,
go to the
PGP menu and select the thing that says "Launch Associated
The encryption fun goes like this:
1. Type some goofy simple little letter to yourself:
Dear Tim, quit doing that with your eyes or they'll freeze
2. Highlight all the text with your mouse.
3. Hit Ctrl-C. (it just copied the letter onto your clipboard)
4. Select from your PGP menu "Encrypt clipboard."
5. When it shows you all your public keys of people to write
to, choose your
6. Drag and drop your name onto the "recipient" list.
7. Hit "ok." (it just encrypted everything on your
clipboard but left the
8. Go back to your document.
9. Click somewhere down below the plaintext you already typed.
10. Hit Ctrl-V to paste.
11. Look at that mess!
-----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----
Version: PGP for Personal Privacy 5.0
-----END PGP MESSAGE-----
WOW! That digital oatmeal looks cooler every time I
make it. Heh heh heh.
More on crypto--->>