This article was written by guest tech blogger Peter Selmeczy.
The terms PGP, OpenPGP, and GPG are often used interchangeably. While they are similar, and based around each other, they are in-fact different entities altogether.
In this article we’ll compare OpenPGP vs PGP vs GPG so you’ll know the difference in the future.
However, in short, all three are computer programs developed to protect digital communication and file transfers.
PGP is the acronym for Pretty Good Privacy. It was developed by Phil Zimmerman and Associates LLC for PGP Inc in 1991 with the aim of encrypting digital files. It was initially created as freeware under the Gnu Public License, however, it quickly become private intellectual property. It was acquired by Symantec Corporation in 2010, and they continue to develop it today.
PGP was one of the first mainstream encryption tools and it used a combination of methods to achieve its results; compression, hashing, public-key cryptography, and symmetric-key cryptography. More specifically, PGP uses the RSA algorithm
As the name would suggest OpenPGP is an open-source version of PGP. Having created PGP, Zimmerman wanted to create an open-source standard to help vendors create PGP compatible tools without exorbitant fees. He achieved this in 1997, when he submitted the OpenPFP standard to the Internet Engineer Task Force.
Unlike PGP, it uses the NIST AES (Advanced Encryption Standard). As expected, all data is available online so that it can be audited by the public.
GPG (alternatively GnuPG, GNU Privacy Guard) is an OpenPGP client program developed by the Free Software foundations. It can be considered as an upgrade of PGP. Similarly, it uses NIST AES. It’s also open source and can be inspected on the OpenPGP Alliance site at any time.
The GPG Project provides the tools and libraries to allow users to interface with a GUI or command line to integrate encryption with email, files, and operating systems.. GPG can open and decrypt files encrypted by PGP or Open PGP, meaning it works well with other products.
OpenPGP vs PGP vs GPG – In Short
In short here are the main difference between PGP, OpenPGP and GPG
- PGP = Pretty Good Privacy, GPG = Gnu Privacy Guard
- PGP is the original encryption tool, OpenPGP is it’s open source version and GPG is an upgrade
- PGP uses RSA encryption and IDEA encryption, OpenPGP and GPG uses the NIST AES standard