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PGP Error 1 Unknown Keys

Created: 06 Dec 2012 • Updated: 18 Dec 2012 | 11 comments
This issue has been solved. See solution.

Hi,

Really struggling with this so any help would be appreciated!

I set-up PGP on another computer & imported all the keys from the older computer. All of these are working apart from one (as in we have both encrypted & decrypted files with the other keys)

I am getting the following error when trying to decrypt a file;

The key in question looks like this in the "All Keys" section of PGP Desktop;

 

I am using PGP version 10.2. The files we are trying to decrypt is an Excel Spreadsheet. Like I mentioned above this is really weird as the other keys I have imported have been working fine.

 

Thank you for any help in advance.

Luke

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Tom Mc's picture

Try double clicking on the error message part stating "one unknownkeys(s)"

This might show the key ID of the key the file was encrypted to.  If you have that key in your keyring, make sure it is set as having Implicit Trust.  If the key ID is not displayed, right key on this key you believe it to be encrypted to, select Key Properties, and set it to Implicit Trust if it does not already have this set.  If it cannot be set to Implicit Trust, it means you do not have the private key part of the key that is needed for decryption.

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luke5790's picture

Hi TomMC,

When I double click on the error I get a box pop up that says "connecting to keyserver.pgp.com". Then I get an error message saying "server open failed". I tried to set the trust level to "Implicit" but this is greyed out - the highest level I can set to is "Trusted" - this is the same for all of my keys.

Tom Mc's picture

If you use the View menu when in PGP Desktop All Keys, and enable the Description column, does it indicate the key as being a key pair?  If it does not, then you do not have the private key.

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luke5790's picture

Hi Tom,

This particular key is described as "RSA public key" in the description column. What does this mean?

Regards,

Luke

Tom Mc's picture

This means that you only have the public key - the private key was apparently not included in the original export.  You can do the export of the key again, but this time, make sure to place the check for including the private key in the export.  Then import the key, and after doing so, set Trust to Implicit.

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luke5790's picture

Hi Tom,

Thanks for the information. I've tried what you suggest but when I go to export the key the "Include Private Keys" tickbox in the bottom left is greyed out - I cannot tick this. I then went to the "PGP Keys" Menu in the top left & under "My Private Keys" there aren't any there apart from my own key. All of my keys are under the "Public Keys" heading. Perhaps this is why it won't work?

Regards,

Luke

Tom Mc's picture

If you are not able to include the private key in the export, you either don't have it, or you are in a PGP Universal managed setting where this is not being allowed.

All keys you have will show in Public Keys.  If you have the private key, it will also show in My Private Keys.

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luke5790's picture

Thanks for the info Tom.

I've been told earlier that I only need a private key to decrypt data - which would make sense as all the files that I receive are encrypted with my own key & that's the only private key I have.

Apparently it's just the other persons public key needed to encrypt data, which is what I have.

Do you think this would suggest that it's the other company not encrypting the spreadsheets correctly? Because if they use my public key to encrypt the spreadsheet - because I have my own private key I should be able to decrypt this?

Regards,

Luke

Tom Mc's picture

If you are able to decrypt other encryptions to your public key, it would appear that they are not encrypting to your key. You might want to send a copy of your public key to the company and ask them to make sure it is the key they are using when encrypting to you.

BTW, your private key is also used for signatures you make.

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SOLUTION
luke5790's picture

Hi Tom,

Thank you for your assistance with this. The other company forwarded the issue on to their IT Department who sent a test spreadsheet back to us & this worked fine - indicating it was a problem at their end afterall.

Thanks again Tom.

Regards,

Luke

Tom Mc's picture

Glad to hear of the successful resolution.

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