Invalid Marker Packet issue using PGP to encrypt using GnuPG certificate

Michael E. Strout Michael.Strout at
Tue Apr 13 00:07:03 CEST 2010

Both Files begin with A8 03 50 47 50

Michael Everett Strout
Systems Administrator & Software Engineer
ClearStructure Financial Technology, LLC
Michael.Strout at
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-----Original Message-----
From: David Shaw [mailto:dshaw at]
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2010 18:01
To: Michael E. Strout
Cc: gnupg-users at
Subject: Re: Invalid Marker Packet issue using PGP to encrypt using GnuPG certificate

On Apr 12, 2010, at 12:45 PM, Michael E. Strout wrote:

> Hi all,
>                 We're using GnuPG to both create an asynchronous key pair, the public key of which we provide to clients, and to decrypt the files encrypted with that certificate after its been transfered.  One particular client is uploading files which return an "Invalid Marker Packet" error when I try to decrypt them.
> I've tried installing the newest versions of gpg, but it doesn't matter whether I'm using 1.4.9 or 2.0.12, I get an "invalid marker packet" error.
> I've opened up an older upload which I was able to decrypt and the most recent upload in a hex editor and can see that the bytes following the PGP in the marker packet are different,
>  i.e. the one in the old file is 50 47 50 c1 c0 4c which reads as P G P 193 192 76 or PGP 12697676 or PGPÁÀL
> While the one in the new file is 50 47 50 C1 C1 4E  which reads as P G P 193 193 78 or PGP 12697934 or PGPÁÁN

The only valid marker packet contains exactly 3 bytes: P, G, and P.  Given that the following byte is C1, it looks like that's the beginning of the next packet, rather than part of the marker packet.  C1 would be the encrypted session key packet, which makes sense at that point in the document.

Can you tell me a few bytes from *before* the P, G, P?  Perhaps the length is wrong.


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