by | Sep 8, 2020

PGP vs. OpenPGP: Encryption & Automation Solutions 

OpenPGP is a standard that defines formats for encryption keys and messages.

PGP™ is a trademarked term used by Symantec Corporation for their OpenPGP-compliant products, such as Symantec PGP Command Line.

Many commercial products like McAfee E-Business Server and free products like Diplomat OpenPGP Community Edition comply with the OpenPGP standard.

OpenPGP-compliant products are compatible such that:

  • Keys created by an OpenPGP-compliant application can be imported and used by other OpenPGP-compliant applications. More on how to use PGP keys »
  • Files encrypted or signed by an OpenPGP-compliant application can be decrypted or verified by other OpenPGP-compliant applications.
  • Additional file transformations covered by the OpenPGP standard, such as ASCII-armoring, canonicalization, and compression, are also compatible between OpenPGP-compliant applications.

PGP™ is a standard for encrypting data. Because Coviant Software uses PGP to encrypt the files it sends and receives, we get a lot of questions about it. Here are the most frequently asked questions we get about PGP and their corresponding answers.

FAQs & Explanations


What does PGP mean?

PGP stands for “pretty good privacy.”

What is PGP?

PGP is a widely adopted standard for encrypting data such that it can only be viewed by the intended recipient, and for verifying the sender of the data.

How long has PGP been around?

PGP was invented in 1991–more than three decades ago! It was standardized as “OpenPGP” in 2007, allowing any company or individual to freely use the technology.  The terms “OpenPGP” and “PGP” can be used interchangeably when referring to the encryption standard.

Is it illegal to have PGP?

Historically, cryptography using keys of larger than 40 bits had been treated by the United States as munitions, and was illegal to “export” outside of the U.S. The law changed in 2000, however, and now PGP can be used with all countries of the world except those embargoed countries with which all trade is prohibited.

What can I use instead of PGP?

Because OpenPGP is an open, standard format for data encryption, there are many tools out there which can be used to do required PGP operations. Tools like Diplomat MFT make using PGP point-and-click easy, so there’s no need to use more complicated encryption processes.

Contact Us

If you are currently using PGP encryption or are considering it in the future, drop us an email to or call 210-985-0985.