Have you read these articles?

Encrypted Email Provider Lavabit Shuts Down, Blames US Gov’t – Slashdot.

 Silent Circle Preemptively Shuts Down Encrypted Email Service To Prevent NSA Spying РTechCrunch.

Encrypting your email isn’t terribly difficult, and ensures that the contents are encrypted end-to-end from sender all the way to recipient. SSL only protects the contents while in transit, from your PC to your mail server. Your email may still be transferred unencrypted (plain text) from mail server to mail server, and will typically be stored in plaintext on the mail servers storage.

Your first step really should be to read a public key (asymmetric) encryption primer, I found several with a Google search. At it’s most basic, you create both a private and public key (referred to as a key pair). Your public key, you can freely give to the world. Your private key, you keep confidential. As added security, you should use a strong passphrase on your private key. The advantage with asymmetric encryption is that any parties wishing to send secure messages don’t need to agree on a secret key (symmetric encryption) beforehand, which can be an issue when you don’t have a secure way to share the secret with each other!

Now if someone needs to send you a secure message, they can use your public key to encrypt the contents, which can only be decrypted by your private key. When you respond, you encrypt the message with the recipients public key, and it can only be decrypted with their private key.

The authenticity of a message can also be verified, encrypted or not by “signing” the message. You do this by placing a digital fingerprint on your message using your private key, that can be only be verified with your public key (which everyone already has). The can verify the sender, and verify that the contents of the message were not modified while in transit.

I’m using GPGTools¬†for OSX, and Windows has Gpg4win. Linux will have command line utilities, although plenty of front-ends are available.

I’ve provided my public key below!

—–BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK—–
Version: GnuPG/MacGPG2 v2.0.20 (Darwin)
Comment: GPGTools – https://gpgtools.org
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=+SSg
—–END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK—–


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