Tech Note #82: Hints for Using PGP
1998 Bionic Buffalo Corporation; All Rights Reserved.
28 October 1998
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When PGP is installed, the installation program usually registers the file name endings such
as .pgp or .sig. However, the installation usually does not set the content types for PGP files.
To fix this, the browser must be configured to recognize the content types of PGP files.
If your server or browser are not set up correctly, consult their documentation for configuration
instructions. Usually, searching the documentation for the phrases “MIME type” or “content
type” will find the instructions.
There are three ways to encode encrypted information in internet mail:
Include the information in the body of the mail.
Use PGP MIME encoding.
Use S/MIME encoding.
In the first method, the mail software does not know or care what is in the message. A PGP
message sent this way begins with text which looks approximately like the following:
-----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----
Version: PGP for Personal Privacy 5.5.3
and ends like this:
-----END PGP MESSAGE-----
Some mailers (such as Qualcomm’s Eudora) have a button to extract such messages from the
body of the mail, and send them to the PGP program for decryption. With other mailers, you
can use select, copy, and paste to get the message into PGP.
The original standard for encoding PGP messages into mail was PGP MIME. Qualcomm’s
Eudora and Microsoft’s Outlook will recognize a PGP MIME message, and know to send it to
the PGP program for interpretation. Other mailers (including Netscape) don’t recognize the
PGP MIME format, and show the message as two parts: an “encrypted” part and a part with
content type “application/octet-stream”. The second part is the message itself. The best way we
know how to deal with this is to save the second part as a file with extension .asc, and then open
the file separately using PGP.