Recommended key size for life long key

Ingo Klöcker kloecker at
Sat Aug 31 19:41:33 CEST 2013

On Saturday 31 August 2013 11:46:31 Ole Tange wrote:
> The FAQ
> ize recommends a key size of 1024 bits.
> Reading I am puzzled why GnuPG
> recommends that.
> Why not recommend a key size that will not be broken for the rest of
> your natural life? (Assuming the acceleration of advances in key
> breaking remains the same as it has done historically, thus no attack
> is found that completely destroys the algorithm used).
> I just generated a 10kbit RSA key. It took 10 minutes which is long to
> sit actively waiting, but not very long if you are made aware it will
> take this long and just leave it in the background while doing other
> work; and to me 10 minutes (or even 10 hours) is a tiny investment if
> that means that I do not loose the signatures on my key by changing
> key every 5 years.

Now try sending a message signed with this key to yourself. And then try 
verifying the signature on this message. And then imagine doing the same 
on a mobile phone with a processor that is 10 times slower than that of 
your PC. I'm pretty sure that this will make you realize that a 10kbit 
RSA key is a PITA for everybody, for you when you sign messages or other 
people's keys and for others when they need to verify your signatures.

Once you've realized this you might understand the recommendation in the 
FAQ. BTW, the FAQ recommends creating a 1024 bit DSA key; IIRC this is 
more or less equivalent to a 2048 bit RSA key.

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