how to get private key

John Clizbe JPClizbe at
Thu Jul 3 21:05:12 CEST 2008

Afzal, Naeem M wrote:
> I have general question regarding private key security.
> If a user creates his private public key pair by using some passphrase on a
> system. Can this pair be taken to a different system and decrypt files that were
> generated using its public key? 

Certainly, if one also knows the key's passphrase

BTW, the passphrase is used to secure the private key, not create it

> My guess is no, but needed to confirm with you guys. If it is possible, then
> how it will be done, any command to list private key etc.

It's as simple as copying the keyring files to a new system, though
export/import is the canonical process.

> Also how can we protect where no one can steal this private key from a
> system other than restricting users access to the system?

That is the reason for choosing a strong passphrase for the secret key.

Appropriate file permissions also help, but the passphrase is really all you've
got against a determined attacker especially if they have access to the computer.

John P. Clizbe                      Inet:   John (a)
You can't spell fiasco without SCO. hkp://  or
     mailto:pgp-public-keys at

Q:"Just how do the residents of Haiku, Hawai'i hold conversations?"
A:"An odd melody / island voices on the winds / surplus of vowels"

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