Chapter 13. Encryption with KGpg


13.1. Generating a New Key Pair
13.2. Exporting the Public Key
13.3. Importing Keys
13.4. The Key Server Dialog
13.5. Text and File Encryption
13.6. For More Information


KGpg is an important component of the encryption infrastructure on your system. With the help of this program, generate and manage all needed keys. Use its editor function for the quick creation and encryption of files or use the applet in your panel to encrypt or decrypt by dragging and dropping. Other programs, such as your mail program (Kontact or Evolution), access the key data to process signed or encrypted contents. This chapter covers the basic functions needed for daily work with encrypted files.

13.1. Generating a New Key Pair

To be able to exchange encrypted messages with other users, first generate your own key pair. One part of it—the public key—is distributed to your communication partners, who can use it to encrypt the files or e-mail messages they send. The other part of the key pair—the private key—is used to decrypt the encrypted contents.

[Important]Private Key versus Public Key

The public key is intended for the public and should be distributed to all your communication partners. However, only you should have access to the private key. Do not grant other users access to this data.

Start KGpg from the main menu by selecting Utilities+KGpg or enter kgpg on the command line. When you start the program for the first time, an assistant appears to guide you through the configuration. Follow the instructions up to the point where you are prompted to create a key. Enter a name, an e-mail address, and, optionally, a comment. If you do not like the default settings provided, also set the expiration time for the key, the key size, and the encryption algorithm used. See Figure 13.1, “KGpg: Creating a Key” (↑Applications).

When you start kgpg in later sessions, only a small icon with a padlock appears in the system tray. Click that icon to display the main kgpg window on your desktop.

Figure 13.1. KGpg: Creating a Key

KGpg: Creating a Key

Confirm your settings with OK. The next dialog prompts you to enter a password twice. The program then generates the key pair and displays a summary. It is a good idea to save or print a revocation certificate right away. Such a certificate is needed if you forget the password for your private key so need to revoke it. After you confirm with OK, KGpg displays its main window. See Figure 13.2, “The Key Manager” (↑Applications).

Figure 13.2. The Key Manager

The Key Manager