urgent: import public PGP Key which is my secret Key

J. Ottosson j-001 at ottosson.nu
Wed Oct 20 22:10:05 CEST 2010

On 20 Oct 2010 at 12:21, rakia ben sassi wrote:

> Hi,
> I have an encrypted document (with my key) which I should decrypt.
> After the generation of my key (and saving it in my email as .asc file),
> my computer is formated and new reinstalled. Now GnuPG find my key as
> public and I can't use it for decryption!
> This key has 2 IDs; one is for a public key an the other is for the subkey
> which is secret. The document which I have is encrypted with the subkey.
> When I try a decryption, I receive: "gpg: secret key not available"
> How can I import my own secret key?
> Do you have a solution for me please? It's very important !!!
> I'm using Ubuntu 10.4 and GnuPG.
> thanks for help!

It indeed sound like you did an export of the public key only. In that case 
you're sort of f*cked.

However, there are at least theoretical chances of recovering your secret key, 
but somewhat slim. You could use a forensic tool such as EnCase to try to find 
the key (via the secret keyring) even after formatting the drive, should those 
sectors not be overwritten.

Since you most likely don't have that particular tool at hand you could probably 
find some other data recovery type of tool for that purpose. Use google. Some 
more capable tools may be offered with trial period perhaps.

EnCase could possibly be found at nasty pirate bay type of sites too, but 
obviously I wouldn't dream of suggesting such a thing to you.

But I'm quite sure there are some capable tools available the right way too, do 
a search. Possibly even some of the data recovery tools from Sandisk etc could 
be used if you're lucky.

The first thing to do though is to immediately stop using that disk, so that 
you're not writing over those sectors with new data. Chances are you already 
have done that, but if you're lucky..


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