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PGP, or Pretty Good Privacy, provides
much the same functionality as S/MIME, but with message data digital
certificate formats designed from the ground up, rather than being based
on existing standards. PGP uses the Public-Private key encryption
method. By implementing PGP without relying on controlled/patented
algorithms, so that it could be distributed anywhere without license
fees or patent issues, the developers hoped that the idea of using privacy-enhanced
email would really catch on.
As in S/MIME, 3DES is used for symmetric
encryption of message data, and SHA-1 for hashing. Unlike with S/MIME,
individual users are responsible for exchanging their public keys with
each other and deciding that they trust the public key they received
as being proof of the other partys identity before messages can
be sent. Key exchange is usually accomplished via a network of public
PGP provides private, authenticated email communication through the use of public key encryption, as does S/MIME.
Unlike with S/MIME, users are responsible for exchanging public keys with each other and determining that they trust the public keys they receive.
Back in the days when encryption code was considered munitions and eligible for export only under certain circumstances (read: only when the US government possessed the means to easily defeat it), the primary developer of PGP, Phil Zimmerman, got into a bit of legal trouble for exporting PGP code.
To show you how obscure some laws related to computer security can be, the same code in printed book form, courtesy of MIT, instead of on floppy or CD was ruled eligible for export (at least for a short time).
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CertiGuide for Security+ (http://www.CertiGuide.com/secplus/) on CertiGuide.com
Version 1.0 - Version Date: November 15, 2004
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