PGP and Nylas

Powerful encryption comes to Nylas N1, the extensible, open source mail app.

Nylas | December 9, 2016

Today we’re thrilled to announce a partnership with Keybase that brings powerful PGP encryption to Nylas N1! 🔑🙌

As part of this release, all Nylas users will receive a free invite to Keybase (allowing you to skip the current waiting queue). Read on for full details, or download N1 to get your invite and start sending encrypted messages.

PGP and Nylas PGP and Nylas
Native PGP encryption in Nylas N1

What is PGP?

PGP was invented in the early 90s and is the gold standard for encrypting email and other private files. PGP is a mathematically secure system that modern-day experts consider uncrackable.

Most people know PGP as the tool Edward Snowden used to send encrypted documents that exposed large-scale government surveillance. PGP is also used in open source projects to sign patches and verify public releases.

PGP popularity is growing. GitHub recently launched support for verifying PGP signatures, and Facebook supports uploading a PGP public key to your profile. If you’ve ever seen a “fingerprint” listed on Twitter, it’s usually for someone’s PGP public key.

Why don’t more people use PGP?

Although PGP has been around for decades, it’s still frustratingly difficult for most people to use. The primary way to encrypt a message requires using command-line tools, and integrations with current mail apps are brittle, outdated, or sometimes not actually secure.

The state of PGP usage is so poor that a handful of researchers even studied why. They found the core issue was user experience, not the underlying cryptography. (It turns out there aren’t many math-focused cryptographers that also know how to create beautiful, intuitive products.)

PGP comes to Nylas

Today’s update of Nylas N1 includes a new plugin for PGP encryption that is fast, beautiful, and open source.

All encryption and decryption is done exclusively client-side using the excellent kbpgp library. Importing your private key(s) is easy with just a few clicks and they are only stored locally. The plugin integrates with Keybase to search your social network for verified public keys. For more details, see our PGP Getting Started Guide.

Don’t have a Keybase account?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Nylas has partnered with Keybase to give invite codes to everyone that signs up for N1. Just activate the PGP plugin and click “Request Keybase Invite” in the preferences.

We recommend uploading your public key to Keybase and verifying yourself on a few social networks. This makes it easy for others to find your public key and send you encrypted messages.

Next steps

Today Nylas N1 can fully encrypt and decrypt messages. Soon we’ll also be launching support for encrypting file attachments and signing messages.

What do you think we should build next? Have any feedback for our team? Let us know on Twitter.

Thanks for reading!

Are you an organization interested in secure communications for your team? Please get in touch about Enterprise PGP.

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