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Cannot Decrypt Message in PGP

Created: 19 Feb 2013 • Updated: 25 Feb 2013 | 3 comments
louiesulit326's picture
This issue has been solved. See solution.

I am currently supporting a client and as per probing, this was the error message encountered: Message/File was encrypted to the following public key(s): Username/username@myorg.com (KeyType/Size) OR X Unknown Key(s) It is not possible to decrypt this message because your keyring does not contain usable private key(s) corresponding to any of the above public key(s

 

Now, i have tried searching for solutions in Enterprise Support and below is what i have found:

 

1. If your key's icon is just a single key, or you cannot locate your key at all, then PGP Desktop does not have your keypair. In this case, you should consider the following common scenarios and refer to the appropriate knowledge base answer(s) for more assistance:

 

  • You attempted to transfer your keypair from another computer, but you only exported the public key. If you suspect that this might be the problem in your case, please refer to our frequently asked question:     How Do I Export/Backup My Keypair?

     

  • Your keypair exists on keyrings that have not been added to PGP Desktop yet (e.g. keyrings transferred from another computer). If you suspect that this might be the problem in your case, refer to our tutorial answer HOW TO: Add Existing Keyrings to PGP Desktop.

     

  • You have deleted or lost your keypair, or the keyrings containing your keypair. If you suspect that this might be the problem in your case, please refer to the most appropriate answer(s) below.

 

The issue here is that the file was encrypted in a different country using the client's public key (old), however, the private key on client's laptop seem to have been deleted. Now, client went back to his home country and was trying to decrypt the file sent to him then encountered the error above. On item three (you have deleted or lost your keypair...), backup on client's laptop does not have the keypair for that public key (old). I have created a new key (adminkey) on his PGP desktop and signed all existing keys (for verification). Is there a way for the encrypted file to be opened using the newly signed public key (old signed by adminkey) without having to send the public key to the one encrypting the file and ask them to send the file back to the client? (It's a bit of hassle for the client because of the large number of encrypted files already containing the previous public key).

 

Appreciate your help. Thank you!

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Tom Mc's picture

There is no way to decrypt the file unless you can somehow obtain the missing private key.  There is no way to either recreate the missing private key, or use any other private key for this.

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SOLUTION
louiesulit326's picture

Thank you for the reply Tom!

I actually thought of that, i was just wondering if there's a possibility to open the file using a recreated private key. Anyway, my thoughts have been verified. Thank you very much for answering my query Tom.

Tom Mc's picture

Glad to be of help!  There is an exception to what I said, that I'm guessing does not apply to your situation, but I should mention it just in case it may apply now or in the future:  Key Reconstruction.  This is something that must have been enabled when the key was originally generated, and needs to be done on that computer.

When you consider your issue resolved, please click Mark As Solution on the most helpful response.

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