"GnuPG is a complete and free implementation of the OpenPGP standard as defined by RFC4880 (also known as PGP). GnuPG allows you to encrypt and sign your data and communications; it features a versatile key management system, along with access modules for all kinds of public key directories. GnuPG, also known as GPG, is a command line tool with features for easy integration with other applications [...]"
GPG (GnuPG, open source) is different from PGP (proprietary). It primarily uses private/public keys to handle all encryption/decryption/sign/verify actions (you can also use symmetric, but isn't so fun).
gpg --full-gen-key # For older versions (including Windows and MacOS) you can use --gen-key if the parameter above fails
Time to list the GPG keys generated and saved at your profile:
gpg --list-secret-keys --keyid-format LONG <EMAIL USED TO GENERATE THE KEY> # The output will look like this (this example shows two keys): # # gpg: checking the trustdb # gpg: marginals needed: 3 completes needed: 1 trust model: pgp # gpg: depth: 0 valid: 2 signed: 0 trust: 0-, 0q, 0n, 0m, 0f, 2u # gpg: next trustdb check due at 2024-11-15 # /home/user/.gnupg/pubring.kbx # ------------------------------ # sec rsa3072/CXXXXXXXXC540 2022-01-01 [SC] [expires: 2024-01-01] # 4285ECCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCB4C48AFCXXXXXXXXC540 # uid [ultimate] Your name <firstname.lastname@example.org> # ssb rsa3072/F3DC33A661677229 2022-01-01 [E] [expires: 2024-01-01] # # sec rsa4096/84YYYYYYYYYYE 2022-01-01 [SC] # 78C4E82E42C7AA5535B1233320ED984YYYYYYYYYYE # uid [ultimate] Your name <email@example.com> # ssb rsa4096/A7CCCCCCCCCC5214 2022-01-01 [E]
ID, refered at the next commands, is the string after the
/ (E.g. CXXXXXXXXC540)
Likely you will have to sent your PUBLIC key to someone, or store it at some system for the purposes listed later. To export as text, use the export parameter:
gpg --armor --export <ID> # The output looks like this (always copy the key including the BEGIN and END lines): # # -----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK----- # # mQINBGN0XVIBEACgiLew1ciXwpKyLZqVMGJ/c70y7RyyrloQswm9rPdrJTIprDpk # [a bunch of characters here] # =R8RB # -----END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----
Remember: The Public key can be shared with any other person, the Private key should NEVER be kept secret.
You can also export it to a
.gpg file, useful to skip the copy/pasting step:
gpg --armor --output <FILENAME>.gpg --export <ID>
You may sign just a few commits, using the
git commit -S -m "Your regular commit message"
Or all commits, using the global config:
git config --global commit.gpgsign true # Now all following commits will include the signature
If you find problems with the signature, try using
gpg2instead. Set for all repositories using
git config --global gpg.program gpg2
Gitlab will show the verify sign along with commits, check their details at Gitlab documentation
You can find users GPG public key using the url
Github will show the verify sign along with commits, check their details at Github documentation
When encrypting or verifying the signature of a file you should ask their PUBLIC key, then import at your profile:
# Add the key received key to a file, or use the generated `.gpg` file gpg --import recipient-pubkey.gpg
The encryption works using recipient public key. Only the recipient can decrypt it using their private key. Note that you can only encrypt ONE file at a time, you may generate a text file or any other format, including
Make sure to import the recipient public key before running the command
gpg --output encrypted-file.txt.gpg --encrypt --recipient firstname.lastname@example.org file.txt
To decrypt, your peer must simply execute:
gpg --output file.txt --decrypt encrypted-file.txt.gpg
The command above will use the private key in order to decrypt the file.
To generate a signed file is basically the same process of encryption, but use the
--sign command. The sign will use your private key to sign (you can think as "encrypt") the file.
gpg --sign somefile.txt
It will generate a file with
.gpg extension, containing the file and your signature.
To verify the integrity use the
--verify. This command will use your public key to check the file.
gpg --verify somefile.txt.sig
You can also see the contents of the file using
gpg --output file.txt --decrypt signed-file.txt.gpg
Remember that this decrypt is executed using the public key of the sender, so the file contents are not hidden from anyone who has your public key (likely anyone, its public right?!).
You can use GPG also to sign or encrypt your emails. Thunderbird its the perfect tool to handle it, check Thunderbird documentation on how to configure the client.
Note that most webmails (including Gmail) do not provide a client that can handle GPG. Your private key should never leave the safe place (your laptop). You can use Thunderbird to send/receive end-to-end encrypted emails via IMAP/SMTP/POP for supported providers.
If you have multiple keys you can set your default key creating/updating the file
# First list all keys gpg --list-signatures # Create file using vim/nano/anyother editor # ~/.gnupg/gpg.conf # and include the contents # default-key YOURIDHERE
If you don't set the default one, the first generated is usually the default.