PGP: Creating, Sharing and Importing Keys

Posted March 12, 2013 More

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In order to use keys to encrypt and sign archives, you must have a PGP key. When you installed or first used PGP Desktop, you probably generated your own private key that is associated with your e-mail address. If you did not, or need to create a new one, you can do this from the PGP Desktop menu.

Key Generation

Step 1

On the File menu, choose, New PGP Key…, to open up the PGP Key Generation Assistant.

Step 2

Follow the directions on each page until your key is successfully created.

Sharing the Public Half of your Key

In order to use keys when encrypting files, you must share the public half of your key with the Mass-DAC data manger and you must also have the Mass-DAC data manager’s public key. These two halves, when combined with the private keys is what allows the archive to be open and files extracted.


Step 1

Open the PGP Desktop and click on PGP Keys in the left navigation pane. This will show all your keys in the main desktop window.

Step 2

There are several options to export your public key. The simplest method is to select your key that needs to be shared; the one with two little keys next to your name. Then click on Email this Key in the left navigation pane. This will open up your email client and automatically attach the public half of your key; the file will have an *.asc extension.

Alternatively, you could right click on your key, and the drop down menu will have several options, Send To…Mail Recipient, Copy Public Key, and Export…, all of which will create the *.asc file that can be emailed to people you need to share signed and encrypted files with.


Importing and Signing an Imported Key

You will need to import Mass-DAC public keys into your PGP key ring. The simplest way to import a key from an email attachment.

Step 1

Double click the *.asc file. PGP Desktop will recognize the file format and opens the Select key(s) dialog box.


Step 2:

If asked, specify to open the file.

Step 3

Select the public key(s) you want to add to your key ring and click Import.

Step 4

The new public key will be listed in the PGP Keys window. You may notice that when first imported, the Verified column may have a gray dot instead of a green dot. If it does, you may right click the imported key, and choose Sign… from the drop down menu. In the next dialog box, choose the key and then click the OK button.




Category: Data