GnuPG: Encrypting e-mail and files

GnuPG is a free program for encrypting and signing e-mail traffic and files. There are different versions of the program for almost all operating systems.

The use of GnuPG for encrypting e-mail traffic is based on using a keypair consisting of a public and a private key. As the name suggests, the public key is public and it can be distributed freely. By using the public key, anyone can encrypt an e-mail message so that only the recipient can open it with their own private key. No-one else can read the message. In the same way, a message can be signed using your private key so that others can be sure that the message is authentic by using the public key.

The private key is secret and should never be revealed to others.

Our instructions about GnuPG: 

Read the instructions on how to encrypt files with 7-Zip


    • ​​​​​​Linux

    For Linux computers, GnuPG is available via the package manager for all common Linux distribution versions and in many cases it is installed by default, as it is used very widely for authenticity verification of package management and update distribution.

    • Windows PC at home

    GnuPG is available for personal computers as a packaged version on the GPG4Win project website. The basic package contains some optional utility programs, such as a graphical user interface, for ease of use.

    • Macintosh computer at home

    The distribution package adapted for OS X is called GPG Suite, available on the GPG Tools project website. Like GPG4Win, GPG Suite also includes utility programs for ease of use.

    • Other operating systems

    As the GnuPG source code is freely available, it is, in principle, possible to use it on almost any operating system for which a C compiler is available. Additional information regarding uncommon operating systems can be found on the GnuPG project website.

    Give feedback

    The instructions site of the University of Helsinki's IT Helpdesk helps you with IT-related issues related to your work. Let us know how we can improve our instructions. We greatly appreciate your feedback!

    How would you improve these instructions?
    Back to top