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o(444T4oMS Sans SerifSymbol SystemTimes New RomanBook AntiquaTimes New RomanMessage Sentry 1.7
Text Encryption Software
Issues of privacy and security rear their ugly heads all too often in our modern day lives. Certainly, there is something unsettling about the thought that someone is prying into our private, computer-supported affairs. Many of my acquaintances and colleagues have expressed this concern and have suggested that there is a need for a user friendly, text encryption programto keep files and their contents private.
Message Sentry was designed to meet this end. Message Sentry allows users to encrypt text files for "safe" e-mailing and for secure storage at home or in the office.
Uses (File Storage and E-Mail)
Message Sentry can be used for numerous tasks: You can create a secure file with your credit card and PIN numbers. Confidential memos can be "locked-up". E-mail messages can be stored in safety. Instructors can encrypt their test and quiz questions. Whenever security is a concern, Message Sentry can be used. The process is really quite simple:
If Message Sentry was used to create the text file, simply use the ENCRYPT option to encrypt it. There will be a prompt for a Code Word to secure the file. Give the Code Word careful thought. It must be remembered to decrypt the file.
If a word processor was used to create the file, save the output as a text file. If the file has already been saved, reload it and save it as a text file. Almost all word processing programs have a "save as text" option. Next, OPEN the file with Message Sentry and ENCRYPT it. It's true the document's formatting (bold, underline, etc.) will be lost when it's saved as a text file, but that shouldn't be an issue if the document is being archived. And the document can always be reformatted whenever the need arises.
There are two ways of using Message Sentry to secure e-mail. (Remember, of course, the receiving party needs to have a copy of Message Sentry and know the Code Word to use either method.)
Method I
A file can be encrypted and sent as an attachment using any e-mail program.
Method II
A message is created and encrypted (ENCRYPT) on screen in Message Sentry's editor. Next, SELECT ALL then COPY are chosen from Message Sentry's drop down EDIT menu or the pop-up menu, which is invoked by a right mouse click. The next step is to EXIT Message Sentry and start the e-mail program. Choose paste when in the message creation portion of the e-mail editor. The pasted text will look like gibberish, but that's okay. Do not alter (or add to) the text! Send the message as you normally would.
Upon receiving an ecrypted message, copy the encrypted (gibberish) text while in the e-mail program. Be sure to copy only the encrypted text and all of the encrypted text. Next, start Message Sentry and paste the text into the editor using PASTE from the pop-up menu or the EDIT drop down menu. The message can be decrypted on screen (DECRYPT) or named and saved (SAVE) for later decryption.
Method II Summary:
Encrypting E-Mail Decrypting E-Mail
1. Create Message in MS 1. Select & Copy all and only
2. SELECT ALL & COPY in MS encrypted text in EP Editor
3. EXIT MS (Save Message if Desired) 2. Exit EP
4. Start EP 3. Start MS
5. Paste Message into EP Editor 4. Choose PASTE
6. Send Message 5. DECRYPT or SAVE
MS = Message Sentry; EP = E-Mail Program
Although longer winded, Method II is a simple process (merely a copy and paste exercise) and allows integration with any existing e-mail program. Once you have tried it, you'll realize how simple it really is. (Field test the method by sending yourself an encrypted message.)
Simplicity
Message Sentry is much simpler to use than other encryption programs. If you are the least bit conversant with word processing programs and Windows 95, you'll be able to use Message Sentry right "out of the box."
Code Words
NOTE: Code Words are tremendously important. If you forget themForget It! Your document is irretrievable. If you use an assortment of Code Words, you'll probably want to name your files to give you a hint as to the requisite Code Words. For example, all memo files might have an "mo" beginning and use the same code word. All messages from William Shakespeare might begin with "ws" etc. I suggest giving encrypted files an "enc" extension as a further aid in identification.
Message Sentry uses case sensitive Code Words, meaning it recognizes a difference between capital letters and "small" letters. Thus, if you used "Shark" as a Code Word when you encrypted a text file, "shark" will not decrypt it. You must enter "Shark" to decrypt it.
Mechanics
Message Sentry can be sized vertically and horizontally by dragging the margins; it can also be maximized and minimized.
There's one item that I thought was obvious, but I have found it is not: If you want to turn an encrypted file into an unencrypted file, simply use the DECRYPT option to decrypt it and then use the SAVE option to save it.
With the release of Version 1.7, Message Sentry's encyption process has changed. You will need to maintain a copy of Version 1.0 to 1.6 to decrypt "early" files. Of course, early files can always be decrypted and then "re-encrypted" with Version 1.7 to make all files compatible. I'm sorry for this inconvenience, but the change drastically improves performance and data integrity. Hopefully, this is the only time such a major change will be necessitated.
Command Summary
ENCRYPT (with disk icon) - Encrypt editor contents to file.
ENCRYPT (with screen icon) - Encrypt editor contents to screen.
DECRYPT (with disk icon) - Decrypt an encrypted file.
DECRYPT (with screen icon) - Decrypt editor contents.
OPEN - Open an encrypted or unencrypted text file.
SAVE - Save an encrypted or unencrypted text file.
FIND - Search for an instance of text in an unencrypted text file.
REPLACE - Replace one instance of text with another.
PRINT - Print editor contents.
PRINTER - Set-up printer.
CLEAR - Clear editor contents.
EXIT - Exit Message Sentry.
FULL SCREEN EDITOR - Hides Button Bar for full width editing.
BUTTON BAR EDITOR - Button Bar visible for quick command access.
MASK CODE - Disguise Code Word entry to deter "eavesdroppers".
Bugs and Suggestions
Report any bugs and relay any suggestions to one of the addresses below, preferably the e-mail address. Your past suggestions have been invaluable and have been incorporated as Message Sentry has evolved and improved.
Freeware
Message Sentry is freeware. Use it in good health.
Requirements
Message Sentry requires a 386 (or "greater") processor and Windows 95.
Dr. Michael E. Steele
School of Communication Studies
Nanyang Technological University
Singapore 639798
email address: tmsteele@ntuvax.ntu.ac.sg
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