Private Key

From gWebs Support Wiki

A Private Key

A private key is a string of code used to decrypt messages and create digital signatures. A private key is also sometimes referred to as a secret key.

Protecting a private key is very important. Private keys can be used for identity verification purposes. Therefore, if your private key is compromised, other people can impersonate you. Private keys are also used to decrypt incoming messages. If someone were to gain access to your private key, they would be able to compromise the security of all incoming encrypted information by using your private key to decrypt it.

Backing up a private key is also very important - without your private key, no one can open email that has been encrypted for you. Not even you, so make sure you back up your private key, and do it securely.

Key Length

Generally speaking, the longer the key, the more secure it is. According to Microsoft, the minimum length of private keys recommended for use is 512 bits. However, to protect valuable information or highly confidential communications, it is recommended that users utilize private keys longer than 512 bits when the option is available.

Some tech experts caution that the longer the public and private keys, the more computer processing power is needed to encrypt and decrypt the data. In today's computing environment, computers are powerful enough that this has become a trivial consideration.

MailCloak supports public and private keys up to 4096 bits.

Uses

Private keys can be used for two functions: decrypting messages and creating digital signatures.

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