Some people say longer keys are silly. I think they should be supported by gpg.

david at david at
Tue May 22 20:00:18 CEST 2012

Hash: SHA1

On 22/05/12 18:23, Hubert Kario wrote:
> On Tuesday 22 of May 2012 13:34:20 david at wrote:
>> On 22/05/12 09:58, tim.kachao at wrote:
>>> I think it should be okay to dredge up this topic ever couple years. From what I am
>>> reading, links below,  I do not feel comfortable with the key length and
>>> algorithmic security offered by GPG's defaults.
>>> I have not been able to figure out how to get keylengths greater than 3072 for
>>> DSA/elgmal or >4094 rsa, so I conclude that generating them is unsupported by GPG
>>> although GPG can use them.  I have seen many people saying that these types of key
>>> lengths are way more than anyone could reasonably need, but I am skeptical.
>>> I am involved in a local Occupy (bet you thought occupy was kaput eh? well as it
>>> were known it is but that's another story) and frankly we aren't just up against
>>> one intelligence agency, but all intel agencies put together.  An entire global
>>> class of people.  You can argue that they may be uninterested in me, however I
>>> don't buy that argument at all because they have spent (possibly a lot) more than a
>>> thousand dollars at least on me personally at this point I am sure in policing 
>>> costs to try to survielle and intimidate me, after you divide down.
>>> The eviction alone at my occupy cost (probably greatly) in excess of
>>> $16,000 to arrest 8 people, and involved almost 200 cops for 4 hours. There are
>>> also estimates made that in the US 1 in 6 "protestors" is actually a government
>>> agent of one sort or another, dept of defense, homeland security, fbi what have
>>> you.  And that exludes any thugs the bankers put in the crowd as privately hired
>>> types.
>>> Secondly I want my communications to remain unread into the relatively distant
>>> future.  Given the sort of crap the 1% do wrt murdering and maiming vast quantites
>>> of people for a couple extra bucks I would not be the least bit surprised if 20
>>> years from now they "dissapeared" me because I passed our some pamphlets that said
>>> "end class war now".
>>> An enemy is an enemy, and enemies must be smooshed, right?  Why take risks> like
>>> letting an innocent person live if they might concievable scratch your gravy train
>>> at some point in the future? Abductions and bullets aren't that expensive once you
>>> got everything all set up, it's a good investement.
>>> I'm 23 now and I take various modest precautions to ensure that I have the best
>>> chance I can to remain in good health when I am 43. Or 63.  A couple hundred extra
>>> milliseconds of decryption/encryption time per message for a key longer than 3072
>>> or 4092 sounds like a good choice frankly.  Is that not what we are looking at?
>>> And yes I recognize that it would be a lot easier for them to plant spyware on my
>>> computers than break the keys, however they can't plant spyware on everone's
>>> computer. without people noticing  They do slurp up and probably store indefinitely
>>> all text -and many other- communications on the internet (carnivore etc.).  In the
>>> future, data they don't have they can't use.  There is always a substantial 
>>> probability that they will not get my keys with spyware, and I would like
>>> capitalize (If you'll pardon me) on that.
>>> Fourthly a little safety margin never hurt.
>>> I think it should be easier to pick longer keys.  Also info should be included in
>>> the compendium regarding practical aspects of key choice, like a table that shows
>>> how long it takes to encrypt a symmetric key with 2048, 4092 etc.  Or event just a
>>> table in which you select your adversary, then your time horizon, and it tells you
>>> what key lengths are suitable, with due warnings and notes regarding the
>>> possibility of quantum computers, mathematical advances etc.
>>> I understand that no matter how long the keys are it's still only a relatively
>>> small part of the equation.  However I thought it was the norm to pick something
>>> that basically eliminated concern about the encryption being broken, so one could
>>> forget about that part and focus on the rest.of your security worries.
>>> My trust in GPG has been disturbed by this state of affairs.  I thought I could
>>> just trust the defaults but I am finding that they may not really include the
>>> safety margin that people desire. I shudder to think of people who are doing more
>>> serious stuff in the class war than little ol' me (which isn't hard).
>>> Links: 
>>> - < note that this was written in 1998
>>>  this one in particular makes it clear
>>> that it is not unreasonable for someone in my position to choose a 4096 bit key.
>>> wikipedia says the U.S. Government requires
>>> 192 or 256-bit AES keys for highly sensitive data. A 3072 bit RSA or elGamal key is
>>> about equivalent to 128 bit symmetric key, right? And a 256 bit key length
>>> equivalent public key is abut 15,387 bits..  I think if people want to use the same
>>> level of encryption for their data that the government uses shouldn't that be 
>>> supported at least in command line mode? 
>>> good paper on equivalencies in
>>> computation and cost of public key vs. symmetric.
>>> _______________________________________________ Gnupg-users mailing list 
>>> Gnupg-users at
>> Some say that all the power of the universe - and all the time its been in existence
>> will not crack a 2048 bit key with a secure passphrase. So by the time the universe
>> is well and truly over and some poor sod of a government agent is alive and well he
>> will not have cracked yer e-mails or indeed any encrypted data. Can you imagine that
>> power from a computer? No. The mind boggles at the energy it would consume - a
>> million million million ad infinitum suns.
>> But they "key" to all this is them holding your private key - it would be quicker and
>> a lot simpler to crush your balls with a pair of pliers - you will give up your most
>> treasured possession - your passphrase. This is the meaning of brute force attacks on
>> your key.
>> The strength of your passphrase is critical alpha numerics take the whole universe to
>> crack where as a phrase like:
>> "marymary&%/*had*)/+a:+=little$�"KL$Donkey#*hadxxxabad%$*JHGbadIUNG6**leg^ 
>> )andalways@#][a\|little-0UHKTwalkedUKL:@?^wonkey
>> is a good key it will last you forever - if you can stand having your balls crushed.
>> So the best form of security would be to invest in a sturdy steel codpiece and a long
>> passphrase.
>> David
> "everything that could be invented has been invented"
> "640k ought to be enough for anybody"
> Do we really have to repeat the history?
> Regards,

Ah I missed out the foil hat - the invisibility cloak and the light absorbing paint - oh
well - I noticed that no one was in any kind of paranoid rush to send encrypted e-mails :)


- -- 
“See the sanity of the man! No gods, no angels, no demons, no body. Nothing of the
kind.Stern, sane,every brain-cell perfect and complete even at the moment of death. No
delusion.” -
Version: GnuPG v1.4.11 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla -


More information about the Gnupg-users mailing list