Prying eyes privacy

Ted Roden uses ROT13 to protect his secrets from prying eyes, which
comes in pretty handy when you’re keeping gift lists on a shared
computer.

My boyfriend would probably be stumped by that for all of two seconds.
See, my significant other is a geek, and can spot ROT13 a mile away. I
wouldn’t be surprised if he could decode them in his head, as we used
to do cryptograms over meals. Morse is also easy to recognize and
break. If he were really determined to find out my secrets, that
wouldn’t help at all.

Nothing but strong encryption will do. Fortunately, Emacs makes this
very easy. I keep sensitive account information in a text file called
“numbers.gpg”. Following the instructions on
http://www.emacswiki.org/cgi-bin/wiki/AutoEncryption , I’ve set up
automatic GnuPG encryption for files ending in .gpg. When I open the
file, I’m prompted for my passphrase. When I save the file, the data
is encrypted again.

If I want to encrypt just bits of a file, like the way I sometimes do
encrypted sections in blog entries, I select the region and use M-x
pgg-encrypt-region. This replaces the text with something like this:

-----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (GNU/Linux)

hQEOAzQ6c9jHW5SMEAP/dJi8sc9wEqfODOxULzCJYtEY0CKqCIJmlP6jMUFcXmzk
o/C2HSEl0wQ39r6+D85EH4AhMrFCDLuW70S+etcbeJKF03PKrb5PjdShQdO3v4vu
0YokWEIZWdF4a/5bI+lcNz+YMv14ScsFjSLPRwz+OPXOX+rTQH/wxvYC5dLwUS8D
/2/ermrKuis0RCTpYy7LXIARNB5Sji8gMqVuidmRh9UFwyukRIJZPcgZt9nXGlZe
3HXvuWTh8Y36gsCa1iY/tN23yJel94d22hIzWdnqsWo31IsuLqquQ59mdgZjTu5a
Wpvd8AFEy69J2WKdFEInYc2tjf/KtYFYb4mXDnv/exFC0kkByzM4+TBzCUGuC5Dj
I0lwZnGOMTPvkW88Uru6gxfFEasQnMQeoDABOkMA+8PrX6ALSZJeNZG60Lallhu8
Vmh+u9aBWcYO7DKP
=++8d
-----END PGP MESSAGE-----

Granted, my secret key is on the hard disk, but I use a strong
password for that one.

All of this is overkill for holiday shopping lists, of course, as my
boyfriend would never think of snooping in my files anyway. But hey,
it’s always a good idea to keep some parts of your life hush-hush. If
I were _really_ paranoid, I’d think about something like OrdoEmacs in
Cryptonomicon. (Of _course_ it had to be OrdoEmacs. OrdoVi would just
be an abomination. ;) )

Ah, Emacs. You try doing _that_ in Microsoft Word! ;)

On Technorati:

Random Emacs symbol: eshell-deferrable-commands – Variable: *A list of functions which might return an ansychronous process.

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