Thunderbird with Enigmail and GPG - Secure Email Client

Mozilla Thunderbird is a free and open source email client for receiving, sending and storing emails. You can manage multiple email accounts through a single program. Enigmail and GnuPG will give you access to authentication, digital signing and encryption to ensure the privacy and security of your email communication.

Downloading Thunderbird, Enigmail and GnuPG

  • Read the brief Hands-on Guide Introduction
  • Click the Thunderbird icon below to open the www.mozilla.com/thunderbird Web page
  • Click the Free Download link to save the installer file, locate the file, and then double click it
  • Click the Enigmail icon below to open enigmail.net/download
  • Right click the Download v1.1.2 for Thunderbird 3.1 link and save its add-on to your Desktop
  • Click the GnuPG icon below to open the ftp://ftp.gnupg.org/gcrypt/binary/ page
  • Scroll down until you find latest file with the name gnupg-w32cli-1.4.X.exe (e.g. gnupg-w32cli-1.4.16.exe), click on it and save the installer file
  • Continue to Section 4.1 in this Thunderbird guide, to begin installing Enigmail and GnuPG
  • After installation, you may delete any installers or add-ons that you saved to your computer

Thunderbird: Enigmail: GnuPG:

Installing Thunderbird

  • Read the brief Hands-on Guide Introduction
  • Click the Thunderbird icon below and 'Open' or 'Run' the installer. If necessary, save the installer first, then find it and doubleclick it
  • Click the Enigmail icon and save the Add-on
  • Click the GnuPG icon and save the installer
  • Continue through the Guide and Install Enigmail and GnuPG when you reach Section 4.1
  • After installation, you may delete any installers or add-ons that you saved to your computer

Thunderbird: Enigmail: GnuPG:

Homepage

Computer Requirements

  • All Windows Versions

Versions used in this guide

  • Thunderbird 3.1.5
  • Enigmail 1.1.2
  • GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG) 2.0.4

License

  • Free and Open-Source Software

Required Reading

Level: 1: Beginner, 2: Average and 3: Intermediate, 4: Experienced, 5: Advanced

Time required to start using this tool: 40 minutes

What you will get in return:

  • The ability to manage different e-mail accounts through a single program
  • The ability to read and compose messages after disconnecting from the Internet
  • The ability to use public key encryption to keep your email private

GNU Linux, Mac OS and other Microsoft Windows Compatible Programs:

The Mozilla Thunderbird email client is available for GNU Linux, Mac OS, Microsoft Windows and other operating systems. Managing multiple email accounts is a complex task from the digital security viewpoint; therefore, we strongly recommend that you use Mozilla Thunderbird for this purpose. The security advantages available in Thunderbird, a cross-platform free and open source program, are even more important when compared to its commercial equivalents like Microsoft Outlook. However, if you would prefer to use a program other than Mozilla Thunderbird, we recommend the following free and open source alternatives:

  • Claws Mail available for GNU Linux and Microsoft Windows;
  • Sylpheed available for for GNU Linux, Mac OS and Microsoft Windows;
  • Alpine available for GNU Linux, Mac OS and Microsoft Windows.

1.1 Things you should know about this tool before you start

Mozilla Thunderbird is a cross-platform, free and open source email client for receiving, sending and storing emails. An email client is a computer application that lets you download and manage your email messages without an Internet browser. You can manage multiple email accounts using a single program. You must have an existing email account before using Thunderbird. You may also create Gmail or RiseUp email accounts if you wish.

Enigmail is an add-on developed for Thunderbird. It lets users access the authentication and encryption features provided by GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG).

GnuPG is a public key encryption program used to generate and manage the key pairs to be used in encrypting and decrypting messages, to keep your email communications private and secure. GnuPG must be installed for Enigmail to work, as will be described later in this chapter.