We can't emphasise enough that it is vital to protect the data on your PC. Not only by locking all the doors and windows when you go out or to bed, or by not leaving your notebook in a cab (MoD workers take note) but by other means too.

In an era when stories of stolen notebooks and identity theft are commonplace, you must protect your vital data with encryption and other security measures. PGP Desktop 9.0 - the PGP stands for Pretty Good Privacy - supplies most of the tools you'll need.

PGP's new $70 inc VAT (about £40) suite includes a file shredder, a free space cleaner and an array of encryption tools.

Easy does it

PGP Desktop 9.0 makes encrypting email messages far easier than any of its predecessors did. No plug-ins are necessary. You simply compose your message in your email application (any client that supports the POP3, SMTP, Imap or Mapi protocols) and the software automatically detects and encrypts the outgoing message. If the recipient doesn't have PGP Desktop installed, you can opt to send the message unencrypted.

This version of PGP Desktop also introduces protection for instant messages. It can act as a proxy for AOL Instant Messenger, establishing a channel for encrypted communications between two PGP Desktop users. As long as both have PGP Desktop 9.0 running, the encryption will occur invisibly.

Desktop 9.0: Specs

  • Windows 2000 Professional/XP/Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later
  • Windows 2000 Professional/XP/Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later


This reasonably priced encryption software effectively guards your personal data. It suffers a little from having a busy interface, but if you keep vital information on your notebook or desktop PC, you'll benefit from the rich set of useful file security tools in PGP Desktop 9.0.

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