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Sending Encrypted Files with Keybase

How do you send a credit card number? A private key? Files with sensitive information? You’ll want to use a product with end-to-end encryption. One of the most popular products in that arena is Keybase. I use Keybase to transfer important, private information and with so many of us working remotely now it’s important to know how to transfer information in a secure manner. 

Recently I needed to complete a task for a customer that involved transferring sensitive information and I wondered what was the best way to do this? I asked a team member who suggested Keybase’s Crypto feature which enables users to send Keybase encrypted files called Saltpacks which can only be decrypted by a designated recipient.

Once I received a file from my customer I tried to decrypt it in Keybase and ran into a roadblock: I couldn’t decrypt it and didn’t know how it worked. One of our engineers hopped on a call with me and we tried to figure it out together - it was confusing and we couldn’t find documentation so we played with it until we figured it out. To keep others from the same frustration that we had when trying to understand how Keybase's Crypto works I’ve written up directions on how to use Keybase’s Crypto feature below. 

Before you begin

  • Make sure you and the person you’re sending both have Keybase accounts. 
  • Make sure that your file(s) are in the format that you want to send them. For example, if you want to send a zip, be sure to zip your files before you begin. Note you can also use Crypto to send an encrypted message which Keybase will then turn into a file that you can download.
  • Verify the identity of your recipient in Keybase by reviewing the profile in app or through the browser at keybase.io/user-handle and ensuring that their identities (such as website, Twitter profile, Reddit, etc.) match up to your expectations.
    For Example, below is my Keybase profile and to the right of my profile picture you can see the various identities one can use to prove they are who they claim to be. keybase-verify-identity.png

Steps to Encrypt 

Encrypting a message or file

        • The Save as TXT button will download a Saltpack to your computer.  04a-encrypt-text-message-save-as-txt-file-ed.png


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      Sending Cryptograms and Saltpacks

      Sending the Cryptogram Text

      Sending the Saltpack

      • To send a Saltpack, send it as an attachment via Keybase's Chat. 
        • Drag and drop the Saltpack into the chat box or use the attachment icon which will open a modal and allow you to add a caption for the attachment. Once complete, click the blue Send button to send your file. send-as-01drag-n-drop-file-ed.png

          The Saltpack will appear as an attachment in the chat history. send-as-02-drag-drop-file-in-chat-ed.png

      Steps to Decrypt Cryptograms and Saltpacks

      Decrypting Cryptogram Text

      Decrypting a Saltpack

      By Kim Koga

      Experienced writer, editor, and solutions engineer. I love to write instructional documentation to help customers achieve their dreams. Github: https://github.com/kakoga

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