PGP TO GPG key import problems

David Shaw dshaw at
Wed Jun 9 21:16:37 CEST 2004

On Wed, Jun 09, 2004 at 04:03:30PM +0100, Craig Stratton wrote:
> Hi,
> i want to import public and private keys from PGP 5.5.3i into GPG 1.2.1 and
> "seamlessly" carry on sending mail from an automated system.
> I have got an ASC export file with public and private keys in from PGP.
> I have imported using gpg --allow-secret-key-import --import FILE
> However, i have a couple of "issues".
> gpg: WARNING: unsafe permissions on homedir ....
> gpg: WARNING: using insecure memory!
> gpg: please see for more information
> OK, i can see what i need to do for these, but
> gpg: protection algorithm 1 (IDEA) is not supported
> gpg: the IDEA cipher plugin is not present
> gpg: please see for more information
> gpg: no default secret key: unknown cipher algorithm
> gpg: [stdin]: clearsign failed: unknown cipher algorithm
> But what can i do about this ?
> The keys are RSA/IDEA combination. How can i convert them from within gpg to
> use something else ?

Do "gpg --s2k-cipher-algo cast5 --edit-key xxxxxxx" and then "passwd"
to change the passphrase.  It doesn't matter what you change it to,
and can even change it to the same passphrase it has now.  This
reencrypts the key using CAST5 so you won't need IDEA any longer.

> I am sure that the entity that i send the signed mails can accept different
> ciphers, but is that dependent on their version of my public key ?
> If i manage to use a different cipher, will they carry on working fine
> without any intervention required ?

Yes.  The cipher you are having a problem with is the cipher that
encrypts your own secret key (to protect it in case it is stolen).
This has no connection with the ciphers that may be used to encrypt a


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