No opportunity to provide secret key

Abby's Avatar


31 Jul, 2020 10:33 PM

Which of our tools is giving you problems? GPG Suite

Attach a screenshot of the version info for all installed components (how to: Screenshot attached

Describe your problem. Add as much detail as possible. I'm trying to decrypt an encrypted file and it's not working as expected. I have the public key needed to open decrypt the file, and the public key is already stored in my keychain. I've also been provided with a secret key that's a short phrase that I'm supposed to type in. The problem that I'm running into is that I can't figure out where to type in the secret key and I'm also not being prompted to provide it.

When I try to decrypt an encrypted file, I expected that since my keychain doesn't have the secret key saved I would be prompted for it. Instead, I'm just getting an error message that says 'The secret key required to decrypt this file is not available'.

What did you expect instead I expect that there will be somewhere that I can type in my secret key, or that there would be some prompt that tells me to provide the secret key, when trying to decrypt an encrypted file.

Describe steps leading to the problem. Download the encrypted file, right click on it in the finder window, click services then 'Open PGP: decrypt file'
Then, instead of decrypting it or prompting me to put in the secret key, I just get a message that says it can't be decrypted because it's missing the secret key.

Are you using any other plugins? None.

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Steve on 01 Aug, 2020 02:33 PM

    Steve's Avatar

    Hi Abby,

    welcome to the GPGTools support platform. Sorry you are having problems using GPG Suite.

    There are a few things to clarify here: A secret key is not a passphrase but a key you create locally on your machine. Also it is never to be shared with anybody. That secret key is protected with a passphrase which again is not to be shared with anybody.

    You create a secret / public key and the public key part is to be shared with others. So e.g. you would share your public key with me (via key servers or directly) then I would encrypt a message with your public key allowing you to decrypt with the matching secret key of yours.

    For file encryption there is also the option to only encrypt with a password (no public keys involved then). In that case when double clicking the encrypted file you would be asked for the password.

    The following two Knowledge Base articles explain how GPG Services is used:

    • KB explaining how to encrypt and sign text or files
    • KB explaining decryption and verification

    Let me know if that made sense.

    All the best,

  2. Steve closed this discussion on 11 Aug, 2020 09:57 PM.

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