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Facebook Encrypted Emails: A Deep Dive into PGP Security

PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) is the gold standard in email encryption. This is the technology that Facebook uses to send encrypted emails. But how secure is it? Let’s explore the intricacies of PGP encryption and answer the question: ‘Is it possible to break the encryption and decrypt Facebook emails?’


The encryption of Facebook emails relies heavily on a technology known as PGP (Pretty Good Privacy). This PGP encryption is widely recognized for its strong security features. But how impregnable is it? This article will delve into the complex workings of PGP encryption, highlighting the feasibility of bruteforcing PGP-encrypted emails.

Understanding PGP Encryption

PGP encryption is a data encryption and decryption program that provides cryptographic privacy and authentication for data communication. It is often used for encrypting and decrypting texts, emails, files, directories, and disk partitions, and to increase the security of email communications.

The Role of Keys in PGP

In the realm of PGP encryption, two keys play a crucial role. Firstly, the content of the email is encrypted using a symmetric key. This key is randomly generated by the sender. Secondly, the symmetric key is encrypted using the recipient’s public key. If an attacker manages to bruteforce either of these keys, they can decrypt the email.

The Process of Bruteforcing

Bruteforcing is a cryptanalytic attack that can be used to break a cipher. It involves checking all possible keys until the correct key is found. In the worst case, this would involve traversing the entire key space. The key spaces in PGP are astronomically large, making bruteforcing a herculean task.

Factors Influencing Bruteforce Duration

Asking “how long will it take to bruteforce a PGP key?” is akin to asking “how long will humanity endure?”. There are elements we can control today, like key size, cipher used, and entropy source. Some we can make educated guesses about, like the total compute resources available to an individual or an organization. And some are just wild cards, like the future of quantum computing or cryptanalysis breakthroughs.

Role of Asymmetric Key

In the context of PGP encryption, the asymmetric (public) key used to wrap the symmetric key is often the weakest link. Public keys aren’t rotated often, making them more susceptible to being generated weakly or with an outdated random number generator. This could potentially make bruteforcing the public key a more feasible task.

Impact of Quantum Computing

Quantum computing is a potential game-changer for PGP encryption. If realized, quantum computing could halve the effective key length, making a 128-bit key as insecure as a 64-bit key. However, a 256-bit key would still offer a high level of security with an effective entropy of 128 bits.

The Math Behind Bruteforcing

Assuming a brute-forcing rig can try 2^30 keys per second and the rig is made of 2^10 such processors, an attacker can try 2^40 keys per second. Given these assumptions, bruteforcing a 128-bit key could take more than the expected lifetime of the universe.

Strength of RSA Modulus Size

The NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) recommends RSA keys of specific sizes according to the security strength required. This is because RSA’s security relies on the efficiency of factoring. The General Number Field Sieve (GNFS) is one of the fastest classical factoring algorithms and can be used to approximate the security offered by RSA.


PGP encryption, as used in Facebook encrypted emails, offers robust security. Although theoretically possible, bruteforcing a PGP-encrypted email is practically infeasible given our current technology and understanding of cryptography. As we tread into the realm of quantum computing, the landscape of cryptography and encryption may change dramatically. But for now, you can rest assured that your PGP-encrypted emails are safe from prying eyes.

If you’re interested in how to decrypt Facebook emails or more about PGP Encrypted Mail, stay tuned for more deep dives into these fascinating topics!