Problems with gpg & kgpg encryption (symmetric)

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Problems with gpg & kgpg encryption (symmetric)

Postby marshall » 02 Dec 2019 17:20

gpg and kgpg have stopped working for me. Under SolydK I have used kgpg with symmetric encryption for several years. It has always performed quite well.

With SolydK 10 (Sep 2019), however, it has deteriorated. At this point, I can encrypt a file using kgpg, or gpg on the command line, click on the newly created file with the .gpg extension, and watch it decrypt without asking for a password. That's worrisome.

The files are encrypted; that is, if I open a newly encrypted text file with Kate, only random symbols appear.

Clicking on kgpg from the applications menu does not bring up the kgpg applet. It tries for a few seconds and then dies so I can't examine or adjust settings.

kgpg-encrypted files created with earlier versions of SolydK still require passwords to open initially. After that, however, no password is requested.

I have learned from the Internet that there are configuration settings for keeping passwords active for specified periods. Unfortunately I can't find the online discussion. It's probably not relevant; the gpg.conf file is from 2015.

I'll appreciate any help offered. Thanks.

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Re: Problems with gpg & kgpg encryption (symmetric)

Postby ilu » 02 Dec 2019 17:26

I'm not using gpg. So to recreate what you were doing I'd need to know exactly what you were doing. Please post the commands. And please also post your gpg.conf. We had changes to gpg.conf just some months ago so I'm wondering why it's from 2015. Is this an old system or a new SolydK10 install?

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Re: Problems with gpg & kgpg encryption (symmetric)

Postby marshall » 02 Dec 2019 22:48

Thanks for the quick reply. Here are commands and clicks I have used recently for gpg and kgpg.

With gpg:

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~$ gpg --symmetric --cipher-algo AES256 Test_2019-11-30.txt
With kgpg:
- Right-click on file: Actions > Encrypt File
- Options: Uncheck ASCII armored encryption, Check Symmetrical encryption > OK
- Passphrase: Enter Passphrase, Password [entered]. "Save in Password Manager" box NOT checked. > OK
- Passphrase: Please re-enter this passphrase, Password [entered]. "Save in Password Manager" box NOT checked. > OK

I have a new install, SolydK 10 (Sep 2019). I saved my old Home directory which has been updated without being freshly installed, I believe, since I bought this rig in 2015.

And here are the contents of gpg.conf (8/1/15). Unfortunately I don't remember how to paste long quotes in self-contained windows within the post:

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# Options for GnuPG
# Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003,
#           2010 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
# This file is free software; as a special exception the author gives
# unlimited permission to copy and/or distribute it, with or without
# modifications, as long as this notice is preserved.
# This file is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but
# WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law; without even the
# Unless you specify which option file to use (with the command line
# option "--options filename"), GnuPG uses the file ~/.gnupg/gpg.conf
# by default.
# An options file can contain any long options which are available in
# GnuPG. If the first non white space character of a line is a '#',
# this line is ignored.  Empty lines are also ignored.
# See the man page for a list of options.

# Uncomment the following option to get rid of the copyright notice


# If you have more than 1 secret key in your keyring, you may want to
# uncomment the following option and set your preferred keyid.

#default-key 621CC013

# If you do not pass a recipient to gpg, it will ask for one.  Using
# this option you can encrypt to a default key.  Key validation will
# not be done in this case.  The second form uses the default key as
# default recipient.

#default-recipient some-user-id

# Use --encrypt-to to add the specified key as a recipient to all
# messages.  This is useful, for example, when sending mail through a
# mail client that does not automatically encrypt mail to your key.
# In the example, this option allows you to read your local copy of
# encrypted mail that you've sent to others.

#encrypt-to some-key-id

# By default GnuPG creates version 4 signatures for data files as
# specified by OpenPGP.  Some earlier (PGP 6, PGP 7) versions of PGP
# require the older version 3 signatures.  Setting this option forces
# GnuPG to create version 3 signatures.


# Because some mailers change lines starting with "From " to ">From "
# it is good to handle such lines in a special way when creating
# cleartext signatures; all other PGP versions do it this way too.


# If you do not use the Latin-1 (ISO-8859-1) charset, you should tell
# GnuPG which is the native character set.  Please check the man page
# for supported character sets.  This character set is only used for
# metadata and not for the actual message which does not undergo any
# translation.  Note that future version of GnuPG will change to UTF-8
# as default character set.  In most cases this option is not required
# as GnuPG is able to figure out the correct charset at runtime.

#charset utf-8

# Group names may be defined like this:
#   group mynames = paige 0x12345678 joe patti
# Any time "mynames" is a recipient (-r or --recipient), it will be
# expanded to the names "paige", "joe", and "patti", and the key ID
# "0x12345678".  Note there is only one level of expansion - you
# cannot make an group that points to another group.  Note also that
# if there are spaces in the recipient name, this will appear as two
# recipients.  In these cases it is better to use the key ID.

#group mynames = paige 0x12345678 joe patti

# Lock the file only once for the lifetime of a process.  If you do
# not define this, the lock will be obtained and released every time
# it is needed, which is usually preferable.


# GnuPG can send and receive keys to and from a keyserver.  These
# servers can be HKP, email, or LDAP (if GnuPG is built with LDAP
# support).
# Example HKP keyserver:
#      hkp://
#      hkp://
# Example email keyserver:
# Example LDAP keyservers:
#      ldap://
# Regular URL syntax applies, and you can set an alternate port
# through the usual method:
#      hkp://
# Most users just set the name and type of their preferred keyserver.
# Note that most servers (with the notable exception of
# ldap:// synchronize changes with each other.  Note
# also that a single server name may actually point to multiple
# servers via DNS round-robin.  hkp:// is an example of
# such a "server", which spreads the load over a number of physical
# servers.  To see the IP address of the server actually used, you may use
# the "--keyserver-options debug".

keyserver hkp://
#keyserver ldap://

# Common options for keyserver functions:
# include-disabled : when searching, include keys marked as "disabled"
#                    on the keyserver (not all keyservers support this).
# no-include-revoked : when searching, do not include keys marked as
#                      "revoked" on the keyserver.
# verbose : show more information as the keys are fetched.
#           Can be used more than once to increase the amount
#           of information shown.
# use-temp-files : use temporary files instead of a pipe to talk to the
#                  keyserver.  Some platforms (Win32 for one) always
#                  have this on.
# keep-temp-files : do not delete temporary files after using them
#                   (really only useful for debugging)
# http-proxy="proxy" : set the proxy to use for HTTP and HKP keyservers.
#                      This overrides the "http_proxy" environment variable,
#                      if any.
# auto-key-retrieve : automatically fetch keys as needed from the keyserver
#                     when verifying signatures or when importing keys that
#                     have been revoked by a revocation key that is not
#                     present on the keyring.
# no-include-attributes : do not include attribute IDs (aka "photo IDs")
#                         when sending keys to the keyserver.

#keyserver-options auto-key-retrieve

# Display photo user IDs in key listings

# list-options show-photos

# Display photo user IDs when a signature from a key with a photo is
# verified

# verify-options show-photos

# Use this program to display photo user IDs
# %i is expanded to a temporary file that contains the photo.
# %I is the same as %i, but the file isn't deleted afterwards by GnuPG.
# %k is expanded to the key ID of the key.
# %K is expanded to the long OpenPGP key ID of the key.
# %t is expanded to the extension of the image (e.g. "jpg").
# %T is expanded to the MIME type of the image (e.g. "image/jpeg").
# %f is expanded to the fingerprint of the key.
# %% is %, of course.
# If %i or %I are not present, then the photo is supplied to the
# viewer on standard input.  If your platform supports it, standard
# input is the best way to do this as it avoids the time and effort in
# generating and then cleaning up a secure temp file.
# If no photo-viewer is provided, GnuPG will look for xloadimage, eog,
# or display (ImageMagick).  On Mac OS X and Windows, the default is
# to use your regular JPEG image viewer.
# Some other viewers:
# photo-viewer "qiv %i"
# photo-viewer "ee %i"
# This one saves a copy of the photo ID in your home directory:
# photo-viewer "cat > ~/photoid-for-key-%k.%t"
# Use your MIME handler to view photos:
# photo-viewer "metamail -q -d -b -c %T -s 'KeyID 0x%k' -f GnuPG"

# Passphrase agent
# We support the old experimental passphrase agent protocol as well as
# the new Assuan based one (currently available in the "newpg" package
# at  To make use of the agent,
# you have to run an agent as daemon and use the option
# use-agent
# which tries to use the agent but will fallback to the regular mode
# if there is a problem connecting to the agent.  The normal way to
# locate the agent is by looking at the environment variable
# GPG_AGENT_INFO which should have been set during gpg-agent startup.
# In certain situations the use of this variable is not possible, thus
# the option
# --gpg-agent-info=<path>:<pid>:1
# may be used to override it.

# Automatic key location
# GnuPG can automatically locate and retrieve keys as needed using the
# auto-key-locate option.  This happens when encrypting to an email
# address (in the "" form), and there are no
# keys on the local keyring.  This option takes the
# following arguments, in the order they are to be tried:
# cert = locate a key using DNS CERT, as specified in RFC-4398.
#        GnuPG can handle both the PGP (key) and IPGP (URL + fingerprint)
#        CERT methods.
# pka = locate a key using DNS PKA.
# ldap = locate a key using the PGP Universal method of checking
#        "ldap://keys.(thedomain)".  For example, encrypting to
# will check ldap://
# keyserver = locate a key using whatever keyserver is defined using
#             the keyserver option.
# You may also list arbitrary keyservers here by URL.
# Try CERT, then PKA, then LDAP, then hkp://
#auto-key-locate cert pka ldap hkp://

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Re: Problems with gpg & kgpg encryption (symmetric)

Postby ilu » 04 Dec 2019 16:22

There's a button for code above the edit window or you could manually insert code tags in these brackets <>.

Your gpg.conf is obviously old. There's nothing in it anyway. Except this line: keyserver hkp:// which has to go for security reasons, you should remove/out-comment it. There's a topic about it on this forum. Reusing an old /home is problematic, if settings have to be changed for security reasons.

The present gpg.conf looks like this (but there's not much in it either):

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# Set the remote key server
#keyserver hkps://

# Use the GPG agent for key management and decryption

# Specify the hash algorithms to be used for new keys as available
default-preference-list SHA512 SHA384 SHA256 SHA224 AES256 AES192 AES CAST5 ZLIB BZIP2 ZIP Uncompressed

# Set the list of personal digest preferences. Use gpg2 --version to get a list of available algorithms.
personal-digest-preferences SHA512

# Use SHA512 as the hash when making key signatures
cert-digest-algo SHA512

# Set the default key for signing
#default-key  [keyname]

# Use the default key as default recipient if option --recipient is not used
I tried your command and the test file got encrypted. I did not check "save password". I can decrypt it and I get asked for the password.

Code: Select all

$ gpg --symmetric --cipher-algo AES256 test.txt
$ gpg -o original_file.txt -d test.txt.gpg
Double-clicking the encrypted file does not decrypt it but just opens mousepad (=kate) - which obviously can't read the file. My system doesn't know which application is supposed to open gpg files. You must have something installed that automatically handles these files, probably kgpg. This might help ... =10&page=1.

I'm on a fresh install of SolydX, I can't test anything that requires KDE.

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Arjen Balfoort
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Re: Problems with gpg & kgpg encryption (symmetric)

Postby Arjen Balfoort » 05 Dec 2019 09:30

I did it on SolydK 10 and right after encryption I could open the gpg without a password. However, after a reboot I had to provide a password to open the gpg file.

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Re: Problems with gpg & kgpg encryption (symmetric)

Postby marshall » 07 Dec 2019 15:08

Thank you very much for the responses.

Probably my best course of action is to do another install, this time without keeping the Home directory, and hope for the best. Performance in several areas hasn't been as stable as usual during the several years I've used SolydK so the reload is worth the effort.

In the meantime my workaround for gpg and kgpg has been to encrypt and decrypt using a bootable USB. The process is still a bit flaky. For example, as with the installed version, I receive messages saying "Decryption of this file failed" but on the second or third try the decrypted files appear on my hard drive regardless.

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