Simple Steps to Data Encryption

A Practical Guide to Secure Computing


  • Peter Loshin,, Arlington, MA, USA

Everyone wants privacy and security online, something that most computer users have more or less given up on as far as their personal data is concerned. There is no shortage of good encryption software, and no shortage of books, articles and essays that purport to be about how to use it. Yet there is precious little for ordinary users who want just enough information about encryption to use it safely and securely and appropriately--WITHOUT having to become experts in cryptography.

Data encryption is a powerful tool, if used properly. Encryption turns ordinary, readable data into what looks like gibberish, but gibberish that only the end user can turn back into readable data again. The difficulty of encryption has much to do with deciding what kinds of threats one needs to protect against and then using the proper tool in the correct way. It's kind of like a manual transmission in a car: learning to drive with one is easy; learning to build one is hard.

The goal of this title is to present just enough for an average reader to begin protecting his or her data, immediately. Books and articles currently available about encryption start out with statistics and reports on the costs of data loss, and quickly get bogged down in cryptographic theory and jargon followed by attempts to comprehensively list all the latest and greatest tools and techniques. After step-by-step walkthroughs of the download and install process, there's precious little room left for what most readers really want: how to encrypt a thumb drive or email message, or digitally sign a data file.

There are terabytes of content that explain how cryptography works, why it's important, and all the different pieces of software that can be used to do it; there is precious little content available that couples concrete threats to data with explicit responses to those threats. This title fills that niche.

By reading this title readers will be provided with a step by step hands-on guide that includes:

  • Simple descriptions of actual threat scenarios
  • Simple, step-by-step instructions for securing data
  • How to use open source, time-proven and peer-reviewed cryptographic software
  • Easy to follow tips for safer computing
  • Unbiased and platform-independent coverage of encryption tools and techniques

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Book information

  • Published: April 2013
  • Imprint: SYNGRESS
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-411483-8


"The book focuses primarily on GnuPrivacy Guard (GnuPG) and how to use it to protect data in motion. But it also teaches about cryptography and encryption…Simple Steps to Data Encryption offers a nice introduction to the topic in an approachable and easy to digest manner."--Data and Technology Today blog, July 2, 2013
"Computer security specialist Loshin explains how to protect data in motion through the Internet using Gnu Privacy Guard (GnuPG) encryption software, and more briefly how to protect data at rest by using full disk encryption on modern operating systems."--Reference and Research Book News, August 2013
"It's a practical, hands-on guide about how to use GnuPG, a command line tool that allows you to protect your data and communications."--Help Net Security online, August 22, 2013
"Simple Steps to Data Encryption contains just under 100 pages, but those pages are easy to read and contain a lot of useful information…[it] offers a nice introduction to the topic in an approachable and easy to digest manner."--Data and Technology Today blog, July 2, 2013
"…[in Practical Anonymity] Loshin does a decent job of presenting the topic, including why Tor is important, and who it could most benefit… the book [Simple Steps to Data Encryption] starts with an overview of how to use GnuPG (Gnu Privacy Guard).", September 30, 2013

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Managing Keys

Chapter 2: Data Integrity

Chapter 3: Data Encryption

Chapter 4: Encrypting Drives

Chapter 5: Tips and Pointers