GnuPG Defaults

Kevin Hilton kevhilton at
Wed Sep 17 06:51:25 CEST 2008

On Tue, Sep 16, 2008 at 11:50 PM, Robert J. Hansen <rjh at> wrote:
> Kevin Hilton wrote:
>> I'm sure its probably contained in one of the RFC's, however when was
>> DSA signing keys and ElGamal Encryption keys, along with the AES-256
>> cipher and SHA1 digest chosen as the defaults for key generation?  Any
>> particular reasons these were chosen as the defaults?
> DSA-1024 is a MUST in the RFC, and therefore is interoperable with every
> conforming OpenPGP implementation.  Likewise with SHA-1.
> AES is a SHOULD, and is interoperable with the great majority of OpenPGP
> applications (PGP 7.1+).
> As DSA-2048 and DSA-3072 support becomes more commonplace (read: as
> people migrate away from older versions of PGP and GnuPG, a process that
> takes astonishingly long), you can expect to see the defaults change.  I
> don't know too many people who are still enthusiastic about DSA-1024,
> although it's still considered infeasible to break it.

Im slighly confused.  I thought in terms of GnuPG - AES256 was the
default cipher as of version 1.48.  I thought 3DES was still the
standard cipher according to the OpenGPG spec.  I dont use PGP,
however it would seem that you were implying 3DES is still the default
cipher type in this product?

Any knowledge on why ElGamal was chosen over RSA as the default
session key cipher?

Kevin Hilton

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