How to Send Encrypted Email on Android Using OpenKeychain

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How to Send Encrypted Email on Android Using OpenKeychain

Encryption is critical, particularly when sending and receiving emails while on the go. You never know how secure that free public Wi-Fi connection is. Fortunately, you may reduce these threats by encrypting your personal emails.

Here’s how to use OpenKeychain to encrypt your emails on Android. It is quick, simple, and, best of all, absolutely free.

What Is Encryption?

Encryption is the process of concealing or scrambling data. Encryption employs a complicated process known as a cipher to convert plaintext data into a jumbled string of unreadable data (known as ciphertext).No one can read your encrypted data unless you decode it using a secret key.

(Are you learning about encryption? Here are some important encryption phrases to be aware of!)

Encryption is ubiquitous in contemporary digital life. Do you use WhatsApp? The software encrypts your communications from beginning to finish. Are you trying to access your online banking? You’re using encryption. Inquiring with the barista about the Wi-Fi password? Encryption is your friend when it comes to keeping your data protected. The key is the password.

Encryption may also be used to send secure emails from your Android smartphone.

OpenKeychain is an open source software for Android that implements the OpenPGP encryption protocol. The open source implementation of the PGP encryption standard is known as OpenPGP. It may be found in hundreds, if not thousands, of apps.

Asymmetric encryption is used in the majority of current encryption. To secure your data, asymmetric encryption employs a key scheme.

You have a public key that anybody may get. Someone who has your public key can encrypt and send you a message. It can only be opened by you. This is due to the fact that you have a private key. Your private key and public key are cryptographically connected.

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However, you must not share your private key with anybody. Otherwise, someone may impersonate you and read your correspondence.

Encrypting Emails With OpenKeychain

OpenKeychain simplifies the usage of OpenPGP encryption. You’re going to do the following:

  1. OpenKeychain to be downloaded and installed.
  2. Set up your OpenKeychain user account.
  3. Share your public key
  4. Encrypt your first message

You’ll also discover how to decode incoming messages. Here’s how to configure it on your smartphone.

1. Download and Install OpenKeychain

To begin, go to the Google Play Store and install OpenKeychain.

2. Configure Your OpenKeychain User Account

Next, follow these steps to get set up:

  1. Start the OpenKeychain app. You’ll be sent to the basic setup screen. Choose Create My Key from this menu.
  2. Fill in the name you wish to be associated with the key. You don’t have to enter your full name; a nickname will suffice. Next, provide an email address to be associated with the key. For example, I’m linking this key to my MakeUseOf work account.
  3. The actual key generation takes place on the last page. Confirm your name and email address, then uncheck the Publish on keyservers box before clicking Create Key.

According to the app, establishing a key may take some time. However, in my experience, OpenKeychain creates your encryption key quite quickly. (At least, it is for me; your results may vary!)

You may now access the key hub for your OpenKeychain user account. You may use a link or QR code to share your key, encrypt and transfer files or messages, publish your key on a keyserver, and more from this page.

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3. Share Your Public Key

Following that, you must share your public key with your receiver. Otherwise, if you send them a message, they won’t be able to decode it. There are various methods to share a key using OpenKeychain, but I’ll show you the two simplest.

  1. To begin, go to your key account page and choose the three-dot Settings menu icon in the top-right corner, followed by Advanced. Navigate to the Share tab. You’ll see your shared QR code here. If you and the receiver are in the same physical place, they can scan your QR code with their encryption software to instantly import your key.
  2. If they are unable to scan your code or if you are not physically there, you may utilize the tried-and-true Android share feature. Select Share with on the same page, under Key. You may now share your key on your Android smartphone utilizing a variety of methods.

To import your key, the receiver must have OpenKeychain or another encryption key management program. The key may be imported by the other person into any compatible app, mobile or desktop. I could, for example, send my OpenKeychain public key to my desktop and then import it into Gpg4win’s Kleopatra key and certificate management tool.

4. Encrypt Your First Message

Once your receiver has imported your public key, they will be able to send you a secure message. (Alternatively, you may utilize an end-to-end encrypted secure instant messaging application.) You may even encrypt a private message for them when they provide you their public key.

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You’ll see two symbols under your name on your OpenKeychain key identification page. The first is a folder with a little padlock, and the second is a message with a small padlock. The first is used to encrypt data, while the second is used to encrypt communications.

Open the message screen and start typing. When you’re finished, use either:

  • To copy and encrypt the message content for copying into another app, use the direct copy icon.
  • The share icon encrypts the message content when it is shared with another app.

Both symbols may be found in the top-right area of the message screen.

Decrypting Emails With OpenKeychain

You understand how to send encrypted emails. But what if one appears in your inbox?

OpenKeychain makes decryption simple. Make careful to select everything in the PGP message contents. When prompted, choose Share > Decrypt with OpenKeychain. The contents of the communication are immediately imported into OpenKeychain. The message contents will be revealed if the sender uses your public key to encrypt the message!

Do you want to encrypt more of your online communication? Check out some simple techniques to encrypt your everyday life.

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