What is the default symmetric cipher?

gabriel rosenkoetter gr at eclipsed.net
Mon Feb 23 08:14:16 CET 2004

On Wed, Feb 18, 2004 at 03:46:13PM -0500, Ian Emmons wrote:
> What cipher algorithm is used when the --symmetric option is specified but
> the --cipher-algo option is not?

Did you read the documentation?

From gpg(1):

       -c, --symmetric
                 Encrypt  with  a  symmetric   cipher   using   a
                 passphrase.   The  default symmetric cipher used
                 is CAST5, but may be chosen with  the  --cipher-
                 algo option.

> I expected that the output of the first command would match the output of
> one of the others, and that this would tell me what the default algorithm
> is.

I can see why you might have imagined that, but it doesn't really
make sense. Just using the same passphrase does NOT mean that you'll
use the same initialization vectors. (If that doesn't make sense,
you should read up on the protocols involved.)

gabriel rosenkoetter
gr at eclipsed.net
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