Softpedia Editor's Review for PGP Desktop
Comprehensive security solution for mobile and desktop users
Written by Giorgiana Arghire on May 1st, 2013
No matter how inexperienced a user might be, their computer still needs to be protected against unauthorized access to ensure privacy is maintained at all times. PGP Desktop is a specialized security application that relies on cryptography for protecting a wide range of data against intruders.
Basically, the software solution encrypts information that can be later accessed only by those with the corresponding credentials. This is why when installing the application, users are guided towards creating their own PGP keys, protected by a chosen passphrase.
The main window of the application allows users to explore their created PGP keys and to choose the ones they want to use. PGP Desktop can also be used for encrypting outgoing emails or chat messages, thus ensuring that no data can be remotely accessed by malware or ill-intentioned persons.
Another function of the application is creating encrypted virtual disks where private files can be stored, kept away from prying eyes. Alternatively, one can encrypt existing partitions or disks, as well as shred the free space (so as to clear any traces left by erased documents).
In addition, the application also comes with a specialized component that enables users to safely delete their confidential files without any possibility to restore them, even if using specialized software.
Users can rely on PGP Desktop to decrypt email messages, attachments or text exported from one’s email client in PGP format - simply dragging and dropping the files onto a dedicated window is enough to perform this task.
Due to PGP Desktop, business owners can rest assured that company documents cannot be remotely accessed by unauthorized personnel, whereas home users can hide their private files from intrusive siblings or friends. Nonetheless, a license need to be purchased once the evaluation period expires provided users want to continue using the aforementioned functions.
PGP Desktop description
Here are some key features of "PGP Desktop":
· Full server-side support for the Lotus Notes plug-in
· Support for Novell GroupWise 5.5. and 6.0 messaging client
· Significantly expanded Unicode support
· Directory integration with iPlanet Directory Server, Microsoft Active Directory and Novell NDS
· PGP Admin can now preconfigure automatic creation of PGP Disk volumes
· Enhanced Smart Card functionality including support for Aladdin eTokens
· PGP Desktop: A software tool that uses cryptography to protect your data against unauthorized access.
· PGP Global Directory: A free, public keyserver hosted by PGP Corporation. The PGP Global Directory provides quick and easy access to the universe of PGP keys. It uses next-generation keyserver technology that verifies the email address on a key (so that the keyserver does not get clogged with unused keys) and lets users manage their own keys. Using the PGP Global Directory significantly enhances your chances of finding the public key of someone with whom you want to send secured messages. PGP Desktop is designed to work closely with the PGP Global Directory.
· PGP Messaging: A feature of PGP Desktop that automatically and transparently supports all of your email clients through policies you control. Also protects many IM clients, such as AIM and iChat (both users must have PGP Messaging enabled).
· PGP Disk: Whole Disk Encryption is a feature of PGP Desktop that protects your entire hard drive or drives, including your boot record, thus protecting all of your files all the time. Virtual Disk volumes are another feature of PGP Desktop that let you use part of your hard drive space as an encrypted virtual disk with its own drive letter. If you like, you can use Whole Disk Encryption and Virtual Disk volumes on the same system.
· PGP Zip: A feature of PGP Desktop that lets you put any combination of files and folders into a single encrypted, compressed package for convenient transport or backup. You can encrypt a PGP Zip archive to a PGP key or to a passphrase, allowing you to send the archive to someone who does not even have PGP Desktop on their system.
· PGP Keys: A feature of PGP Desktop that gives you complete control over both your own PGP keys and the keys of those person with whom you are securely exchanging email messages.
· Shredding: A feature of PGP Desktop that lets you completely destroy sensitive data. PGP Shred overwrites files so that even file recovery software cannot recover them.
· Smart cards and tokens: Smart cards and tokens are portable devices on which you can create your PGP keypair or copy your PGP keypair. Creating your PGP keypair on a smart card or token adds security by requiring the smart card or token in order to encrypt, sign, decrypt, or verify. So even if an unauthorized person gains access to your computer, your encrypted data is secure because your PGP keypair is with you on your smart card or token. Copying your PGP keypair to a smart card or token is a good way to back it up and an easy way to distribute your public key.
· Conventional cryptography: Uses the same passphrase to encrypt and decrypt data. Conventional cryptography is great for data that isn't going anywhere (because it encrypts and decrypts quickly). However, conventional cryptography is not as well suited for situations where you need to send encrypted data to someone else, especially if you want to send encrypted data to someone you have never met.
· Public-key cryptography: Public-key cryptography uses two keys (called a keypair) for encrypting and decrypting. One of these two keys is your private key; and like the name suggests, you need to keep it private. Very, very private. The other key is your public key, and like its name suggests, you can share it with the general public. In fact, you're supposed to share.
· 512 MB of RAM
· 64 MB hard disk space
· 30 days trial
· Nag screen
What's New in This Release: [ read full changelog ]
· Resolved a conflict between PGP Desktop and the Windows Xperf tool from the Windows Performance Toolkit
· Resolved the issue where PGP NetShare could corrupt Microsoft Office 2007 files on Microsoft Windows 7 systems
· Made improvements to PGP Desktop when sending email using IBM Lotus Notes
· Resolved an issue between PGP Desktop for Windows (when single sign-on is used) and certain Intel Wireless drivers
· Addressed an issue when using PGP Desktop for Windows and PCMIA SD cards
· Improved how PGP Desktop for Windows handles multi packet signed messages
· Resolved a conflict between PGP Whole Disk Encryption and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager
· Enhanced the content of email Non Delivery Reports from PGP Desktop
· Added the ability to customize the LDAP enrollment screen for PGP Desktop for Windows