A Hearty Mac OS X Welcome to PGP 8.0
The recently formed PGP Corporation, which acquired the encryption utility PGP from Network Associates earlier this year, has now migrated the product to Mac OS X (10.2.1 or later). Basic configurations include PGP 8.0 Personal ($40) and PGP 8.0 Freeware (free, and a 5.2 MB download). The latter, which is what we tried, lacks PGP Disk functionality for creating and working with encrypted disk images, but Apple’s Disk Copy can fill in some of those gaps. Also missing is plug-in integration with mail clients, but this too will hardly be missed, because PGP’s functionality is so readily available at the system level. You can encrypt text via the Services menu (in those applications where the Services menu is active) and through the PGP application’s Dock menu when the PGP application is running. You can also encrypt files directly in the Finder via a contextual menu command. Existing Mac OS 9 keyring files are recognized and used directly. Encryption algorithms include powerful modern standards such as Rijndael and CAST. The interface, which you access through a single application, is intuitive and Mac OS X-like, except that encryption of files and the clipboard is mysteriously accessed through the Mail menu and the PGPmail window, even though these actions aren’t inherently related to mail. The documentation is generally good. Overall, PGP 8.0 is a delightfully clean and pleasant implementation of an essential utility for those wishing to protect their files and communications from prying eyes.