Public/Private Keys - Consequences

Robert J. Hansen rjh at
Mon Oct 22 12:17:42 CEST 2007

christopher dubois wrote:
> Sorry I don't know much about this as I am just beginning, but what are the
> dangers if you submit your key to a keyserver and make at available to the
> public?

Short answer: "dwarfed by the benefits" is the best answer.

Long answer: there's a marginal risk of increased spam.  Most people
agree that it will increase the amount of spam you get, but most also
agree that you are unlikely to notice it unless you're _really_ paying

> What if someone has your private key, what can they do with it?

If they have your private key and your passphrase, then they can do
anything you can do.  If they have one or the other, they're out of luck.

If you want a more detailed answer than this, I'd recommend reading some
documentation on how OpenPGP works.  E.g.:

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