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OpenPGP Key Creation

Here we discuss how to create and back up a digital key. For background information on OpenPGP keys, see the overview page.

Before proceeding, you need to have obtained the software to manage digital keys. In particular, look at the newer GUI frond-ends for OpenPGP keys as these make creating and managing a key much easier.

The following guide walks through creating a key using the gpg command line interface.

Making your key

Note: To make sure that your installation of gpg is fully initialized run gpg --list-keys. If you see any messages about initialization (e.g. directory xxx created), run it again until you don't see initialization messages.

The command gpg --gen-key will make a new key for you. You will be prompted for the following:

Once the command completes, you will have a new key pair on your "keyring" (your keyring will be a set of files in a directory on your machine). Note that you have a pair of keys. A public one, and a private (sometimes called secret) one. The public one can be made public, and the private one you should keep private.

Now, please, back up your new key!.

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