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All 8 posts   Subject: PGP private key problem   Please login to post   Down

09-10-04 06:37
No 530608
      PGP private key problem     

I recently tried to decrypt some old personal files that I once encrypted using PGPfreeware.  At the time, I was inexperienced at using PGP and was practicing on many of my files.  Now that I'm trying to decrypt the files, I keep getting some window that tells me that I don't have a private key to go along with the public one, and that my password is useless.  All of the encrypted files along with the public key (and what I thought was the private key as well) were saved to a CD-R before my hard drive was wiped and the computer's operating system reinstalled.  This was quite a few years back.  I don't know if I have the private key somewhere on disk.  I would have thought it would be with the rest of my files that I had saved.  Am I screwed?  And, if so, what can I do to avoid this problem in the future?

(Minister of Propaganda)
09-10-04 10:59
No 530621
User Picture 
      you're screwed     

Am I screwed?

If you lost your private key, yes.

And, if so, what can I do to avoid this problem in the future?

Don't loose your private key.

Milk rots your brain.
09-10-04 15:38
No 530651
      Okay, what about this . . .     

I tried to retrace my steps by using the same old PGPfreeware software to generate a new key pair.  A bogus name, bogus email address, and an simple password was used just for the sake of this little investigation of mine. 

The keypair was saved to diskette.  On it are the two key pairs:  "pubring" (the public key) and "secring" (the private key).  No where else on the computer is a copy of the keypair saved.  So where is the main key pair located?  

Anyway, the "bogus" key pair that I created has a "DH/DSS key pair", "User ID", "DSS exportable signature", and a "Never" (indicating, I guess, when the key pair is set to expire).  However, the old key pair in question--that I used to encrypt the files that now can't be decrypted--indicates "DH/DSS public key" (NOT DH/DSS key pair!) with everything else being the same as the "bogus" key pair: "User ID", "DSS exportable signature", and "Never".

If I backed up all of my files in my "My Documents" folder to CD-RW (like I did a few years back; it was a CD-RW on which the encrypted files were saved, NOT CD-R like I wrote in my last post) and if someone mean came across the information and couldn't crack the password necessary to decrypt the PGP protected files on disk, could that mean-someone somehow transform my "key pair" into a "public key" by way of some kind of "private key" deletion?  And if not, how did my "key pair"--from the time it was created, to the time it was saved to CD-RW, to the time that I attempted to recover my encrypted files--turn into just a "public key"?  Granted, I probably lost the COPY of my private key (maybe not, I have to look around) but that doesn't explain how my "key pair" got transformed into a simple "public key".

(Stoni's sexual toy)
09-10-04 19:28
No 530681
User Picture 

It's much more likely that you simply forgot to save the private key. Or safely hid it inside one of the encrypted files.

BUSH/CHENEY 2004! After all, it ain't my country!
(Hive Bee)
09-10-04 19:49
No 530687
User Picture 
      Search for key files     

You should be looking for keyring files (.pkr and .skr) and ascii key files (.asc).

On PGP 6.5.8, you have to check the box when exporting the ascii key file to include your private keys. Maybe you didn't do this.

Are you, or have you ever been a Liberal? YES / NO
09-11-04 02:21
No 530758
      Simplest Method of Saving PGP Keys     

In my humble opinion, the simplest way to save one's pgp keys is to copy the entire PGP Keyrings folder wink

Chemistry is our Covalent Bond
09-11-04 20:42
No 530914
      In my humble opinion, the simplest way to save     

In my humble opinion, the simplest way to save one's pgp keys is to copy the entire PGP Keyrings folder

That's exactly my point.  The "PGP Keyrings" folder in question would have been in my "My Documents" folder and a copy of it should be on the CD-RW that I mentioned before.  Only the "Public Key" folder is available.

Straight up:  If some got into my CD-RW and deleted my "private keyrings" folder, could that account for my problem?
(Hive Bee)
09-21-04 20:12
No 532556
User Picture 
      i would think it odd of someone to just delete     

i would think it odd of someone to just delete your private key folder, as it seems mailicious and not particularly productive (quite unlike just stealing the key).

word to the wise: double-check that your keys work after exporting them.

torture for sure, too pure to inure, a chaffeur charlatan orangutan

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