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Using PGP

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If you are using PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), that gives cryptographic privacy and authentication for online communication, then follow the steps outlined below.

  1. Register with SPEEDE
    • If you have not registered for SPEEDE, please register before proceeding.
  2. Obtain and install a copy of the PGP software.
  3. Generate your public and private keys.
    • Download the SPEEDE Key File Generation Guide (pdf)
    • For command-line PGP, generally, the command is pgp -kg. There must be a space before the hyphen.
    • We strongly recommend that you choose a large key size. Larger keys are more secure.
    • We strongly recommend that you choose a good pass phrase, using the same criteria you would use for adopting any other password.
  4. Extract your public key and send it to the server.
    • Extract your key with ASCII armor or Asciified, as it is referred to in some versions.
    • For command-line PGP, the command is pgp -kxa. PGP will prompt you for your userID and a file to save your key in. Or you can enter pgp -kxa userID filename. The “-a” option means ASCII output.
  5. Before sending your file, check that it contains an ASCII-armored key.
    • Open the file in a text editor like BBEdit, SimpleText, or HomeSite. If the editor cannot open the file, you do not have an ASCII file.
    • If the file does not begin with “—–BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK—–” and end with “—–END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK—–,” you do not have an ASCII-armored file.
  6. Email your key file to the SPEEDE Support team.
  7. Add SPEEDE’s public key to your public key ring.
    • Please incorporate the Clearinghouse SPEEDE public PGP key into your PGP key ring and use it to encrypt files you send to us and decrypt files you receive from us.
    • Access the Clearinghouse SPEEDE public PGP key.
  8. Encrypt your file with the server’s public key before you send it to SPEEDE.
    • For command-line PGP, the command is pgp -seat filename Server’s-userID. The options mean:
      • -s = sign
      • -e = encrypt
      • -a = ASCIIfy the output file
      • -t = use recipient’s textline conventions
    • Whatever PGP version you are using, use these same options. They may be worded somewhat differently in different versions.
    • If you have progressed correctly, the encrypted file should begin with “—–BEGIN PGP MESSAGE—–” and end with “—–END PGP MESSAGE—–.”
    • The userID on the server’s public key is “SPEEDE-support@studentclearinghouse.org.”
    • The Clearinghouse highly recommends using the signature option. The signature allows the server to 1) verify that the file has not been altered and 2) authenticate that the file was sent by you and not someone else.
  9. Send the encrypted file to the SPEEDE server.
    • Encrypted files are sent via FTP.
    • Since the server leverages some of the header information, the file must be ASCII-armored.
  10. When you receive an encrypted file from the server, decrypt it before processing.
    • For command-line PGP, the command is pgp filename. You can use the option “-o outputfilename” to specify a file name for saving the decrypted file.
  11. Process the file according to your institution’s internal process(es).

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