Use of composed characters and altgr utf-8 symbols on passwords.

Neal H. Walfield neal at
Fri Jun 5 18:06:09 CEST 2015

Hi Pedro,

Reviewing the mailing list archive, I saw that your issue got no
responses.  I've open an issue on the bug tracker so that it is not
lost [1].  If you have any additional information, please provide it.  I
wonder if the problem is an encoding issue.  Are you using the same
encoding on both computers?


:) Neal


At Thu, 30 Apr 2015 16:37:21 +0100,
Pedro Coelho wrote:
> I have an issue that I've detected today and searched the entire
> mailing list and did not find an answer.
> I hope I'm not wasting anyone's time.
> I use OpenSuSE 13.1 64bits as my main distribution on Linux.
> I encrypt on that same computer some files and my passphrase always
> used both composed characters as well as altgr symbols.
> Meaning utf-8 characters.
> In this particular case I used symmetric encryption on a file, like
> this:
> gpg -c --s2k-mode 3 --s2k-count 65011712 --s2k-cipher-algo AES256 -
> -cert-digest-algo SHA512 file.txt
> All is ok to decrypt the file when I use OpenSuSE KDE desktop even on
> other computers I have.
> What I have noticed tho is a strange behavior that should be of some
> concern.
> When trying to decrypt the exact same file on Other distros I always
> get the Bad Key message! 
> Once the Same file is encrypted with a passphrase with no composed
> characters And No altgr characters everything is ok! the file is
> decrypted with no problem.
> I've done some testing and used Centos 6 CLI mode only, Centos 7 with
> x, Ubuntu (several versions) , Kali Linux, Tails ... you name it.
> Worst.
> On my computer I switched to a new session with LXDE as the desktop
> and ... the result was the same! 
> The file I could decrypt in my KDE session I was not able to decrypt
> on the same computer o on the LXDE session.
> Same old bad key error.
> Of course this may be realted to the way those chars are "interpreted"
> between different environments. Or could this be a gpg bug?
> Also I must alert you good folks that this is for me of Paramount
> importance since increasing the character space of a passwrod is
> Hugely important to increase the security.
> It's also a big big hurdle if I can not have inter-environment
> compatibility.
> It really really is annoying ... and higly curtails a lot of the power
> contained in gnupg ..
> Can anyone try to explain why this happening ?
> Best regards,
> Pedro
> [2  <text/plain; us-ascii (7bit)>]
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