Signature Thursday: Geany a GUI text editor for GPG tasks

Last signature Thursday I offered information on getting started with GPG. Tuesday I offered some homework on getting comfortable with basic GPG key management tasks that are worth doing before establishing a keypair you can depend on. Today I offer a simple GUI Text editor you can use for GPG related tasks.

A mentioned in the title we are going to be playing with Geany.1 Geany is a text editor with some features of an Integrated Development Environment that we don't really care about for this purpose. What we want Geany for is its plugin GeanyPG, which allows you to sign, encrypt, and decrypt using your installed GNU Privacy Guard instance. Geany also has a spell check program that when used with GeanyPG essentially allows it to function as a crypto word processor. My setup looks a little something like this.

Screen shot of geany as a crypto word processor

My Geany Workspace with the GPG options revealed from the dropdown menu

Now how do you get something like this? Well first you have to install it. Most linux and BSD systems will have Geany hiding out in their repositories somewhere. Binaries for Windows are also available as is the source if you want to build Geany yourself, which is what I would recommend seeing as you are using Geany for security related tasks.

Once you have done that you want to install the Geany Plugins package. Once again you can do this from a repository, source, or Windows binary.

After doing that you can start Geany up and then go to the tools menu and select the plugin manager option which will look like this:

screenshot of geany plugin manager

The Geany Plugin Manager

You want to check the boxes for GeanyPG and Spell Check. You may be wondering what allof these extra buttons on the tool bar are doing. Well, if you just want to use Geany as a Word Processor that generates Ciphertext, they aren't doing much. Just right-click on the tool bar and go to toolbar preferences2 then click the customize toolbar button. From there you can move whatever buttons you don't find useful off of there.

Once you've made it this far type some text and practice signing and encrypting it. Just make sure you aren't signing anything that resembles a contract if you don't want to be held to it.

geany signed message screenshot

A message composed then signed in Geany

Any thoughts, suggestions, or corrections?

  1. I'll start with a word of caution. Generally the more paranoid you are and the more you have to protect, the less software you are going to want to run on the systems you depend on for your security. That would mean using vi and accomplishing most tasks from the command line. It would also mean air gapping machines and such. Generally though it is better to use something like GPG than not use it because you aren't doing it the rightest way, and so this guide. 

  2. or hide it entirely if you prefer  

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