I’ve used PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) since I was in college. It provides for both digital signatures and strong encryption and content without the user having to go make extraordinary effort. The process uses what is known as Public Key Encryption and uses a Web Of Trust to certify individual users.
For years I used the original PGP 2.6.2, 5.x and 6.x products that were available as freeware. After PGP was acquired by a much larger commercial entity, most development has shifted to the open-source community that makes it available as GnuPG aka GPG.
There are several plugins available for common Email Clients such as Thunderbird and Outlook to natively integrate the functions into those applications. Additionally plugins are available for Firefox to enable encryption and signing of WebMail services such as GMail (Google Mail).
My public keys are available online at http://www.giantgeek.com/pgpkeys.asc, http://www.skotfred.com/pgpkeys.asc, or through most of the keyservers.
I look forward to your signed/encrypted emails,
Here’s another, albeit awkward configuration change for Mozilla Firefox for networking.
Enter about:config in the URL of the browser and manipulate the following, I’ve shown the defaults in parethesis to aid in reverting them if you encounter problems.
network.http.proxy.pipelining (def:false – only required if you use proxies that support)
network.http.pipelining.maxrequests=8 (def:4, max is 8)
Previously I discussed the McAfee SiteAdvisor plugin. Another similar project is WOT.
The differences with it are as follows:
- Instead of a centralized service, WOT is democratic. As such, the result is based on the feedback of any user that takes the time to rate a given website.
- WOT is available for Firefox and MSIE.
Since this coexists well within the browser, there’s no reason you can’t use both!
Due to my UNIX background, I’ve found it helpful, for both security and performance reasons to relocate your ‘cache’ or temporary files to a new location (Unix/Linux gurus may prefer /tmp/) here’s the simple process for doing this on a Windows machine using Firefox.
This is useful for several reasons:
* Moving many of your ‘tmp’ files/folders to a single location makes it easier to “clean house”.
* If you move ‘tmp’ to a separate drive or partition (like in UNIX), your primary drive will be less fragmented and may even show increased performance.
Firefox didn’t make this as easy to change as MSIE, but it’s a trivial matter. Find and edit the prefs.js file in your Profile directory and add the following…
Alternately, you can type “about:config” in the URL/address line of the browser and add the String…
browser.cache.disk.parent_directory with a value of “C:\\temp\\Mozilla”
If you want to keep your existing cached files, you can always copy them over from the old location.
For Windows XP with MSIE6/7, the disk cache location is easily changed in the Internet Control Panel, on the General tab, Settings button. Microsoft seems to change that control panel with every new OS/browser version, but it’s generally named similarly on different configurations.
Good luck !