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What happened to the Secure Viewer in PGP Desktop 10.2?

Created: 08 Sep 2012 | 5 comments
MMW's picture

I've just graduated from PGP Desktop 10.0 to 10.2 (64-bit) and am still in the 30-day trial period. It seems that in 10.2 the secure-viewer option has disappeared when encrypting a file: Secure <file> with key -> Back -> Back -> PGP Zip Advanvced Options -> BUT now, the check box "Require PGP Secure Viewer when decrypting" ain't there any more! The secure viewer has been a most useful feature of PGP since the year dot - if I only want to view an encrypted file, secure viewing is much preferable over the alternative sequence of (1) decrypting the file, (2) opening the decrypted file in Notepad, (3) closing Notepad, and (4) shredding the decrypted file. So, whats happened to 'PGP Secure Viewer in 10.2??

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Alex_CST's picture

Not sure what version you are on, I am on 10.2.1 and can load PGP Viewer no problems.  It's not part of pgp desktop itself, its a separate program in the start menu

Please mark posts as solutions if they solve your problem!

elster99's picture

I wish I had noticed this question earlier, but what the hey. I don't think that Alec gets the question. PGP-Secure-Viewer was an encryption setting, not an application, it was not the application PGP-Viewer. PSV when used would make any message display in a special anti-copying font and did not allow the user to print or save the in the clear document. I also would like to have this feature back.
Ifi I sent a copy of a bank account # & Pin to a family member I do not trust that they fully understand IT security, and there is a high risk that they would save such a document on their hard drive in plan text (malicious hacker smiles in the background), so the PGP-Secure-Viewer was a nice encryption feature that I also cannot find anymore.

dfinkelstein's picture

The SecureViewer was originally developed to help defeat Tempest attacks on CRT monitors ( and those attacks (and the techniques we used to mitigate the attacks) aren't really relevant to LCD monitors.

The use case you are describing is interesting, and I see how that can be a useful workflow for viewing files.  I will talk with Product Management about bringing it back so regular PGP files can be viewed inside PGP Viewer.


David Finkelstein

Symantec R&D

elster99's picture

That would be rather nice. I really kind of miss that feature. I used it rather often because I keep a folder full of encrypted files for each username & password I have, I avoid using the same username & password for everything (hacked once and your totally hacked). It is amazing how many UN & PW 's a person can end up with in just a couple of years, and it can become next to impossible to remember all of them. Most people just use one password for everything. So that feature was useful when you wanted to look quickly at a password file and continue on.

MMW's picture

Hello David,

Thank you for your reply. As for elster99, the use case I mentioned makes up >90% of my PGP usage. I only keep a text file that is encrypted in the ordinary way so I have something to edit once every blue moon. Until the current update, I would then first encrypt the text file in secure-viewer mode and secondly encrypt and shred the text file in ordinary mode. On a day-to-day basis I would only use the secure-viewer version.

Was there a technical reason or other reason to abandon that feature? What did Product Mgt say? Any chance of getting it back anytime soon?