GnuPG in 2016

Justus Winter justus at
Thu May 19 10:46:13 CEST 2016


this is the plain text version of a new blog entry I wrote up.  If you
have questions or want to comment, please group-reply to this mail.


GnuPG in 2016

  This is an overview of what happened in the first half of 2016 in the
  GnuPG project and community.


  There has been one release of the current stable branch of GnuPG,
  version [2.0.30].  Our development branch GnuPG modern saw two
  releases, [2.1.11], and [2.1.12].

  Among many bugfixes and other improvements GnuPG 2.1.11 added a new
  command `--export-ssh-key' that replaces the `gpgkey2ssh' tool, and we
  now use the CA certificate of `' to secure
  communications with the servers in the pool without further
  configuration.  Furthermore, we now print a warning if a GnuPG
  component is using an older version of our backend daemons.

  2.1.12 brought support for a new experimental "Web Key Directory" key
  location service, read-support for a new private key protection format
  and the new extended private key format, improved Tofu support, use of
  the new libusb 1.0 API, and countless small features and fixes.

  Daniel Genkin, Lev Pachmanov, Itamar Pipman, and Eran Tromer from the
  Tel Aviv University demonstrated a practical way to extract ECDH keys
  via low-bandwidth electromagnetic attacks on PCs[1].  Libgcrypt
  version 1.6.5 and an updated Windows installer for GnuPG 2.1.11 has
  been [released] to mitigate this attack.

  In April we released a new stable version of Libgcrypt, version [1.7].
  It retains full API and ABI compatibiliy to the 1.6 series.  Its main
  features are new algorithms, curves, and performance improvements.

  Andre worked on PGP/MIME support in GpgOL, and the current stable
  version [2.3.1] of Gpg4win includes an option to enable experimental
  support for sending GPG/MIME and S/MIME.  He also worked on Kleopatra,
  removing some dependencies on KDE components and DBUS, and porting it
  to newer KDE frameworks, making it easier to build, maintain and hack.
  A [beta version] of Gpg4win 3.0.0 has been released featuring the
  leaner Kleopatra with newer KDE libraries.  Andre also worked on
  registering file extensions in Windows integrating encryption and
  decryption of files into the desktop environment, and implementing a
  'Show Password' feature for the pinentries.

  Jussi worked on libgcrypt, most notably [adding] an ARM assembly
  implementation of SHA-512, and Intel PCMUL implementations for CRC

  Justus worked on a new [test framework] for GnuPG and related
  projects, a new [extensible storage format] for private keys,
  [implemented] elliptic-curve cryptography in libssh using libgcrypt as
  backend, and triaged and fixed GnuPG bugs.

  Kai evaluated Mailpile.  As the future of Mozilla Thunderbird - and
  with it Enigmails - is uncertain, we decided to explore alternative
  end-user-friendly mail clients with support for GnuPG.

  Gniibe worked on GnuPG and libgcrypt.  He ported GnuPG's `scdaemon' to
  libusb 1.0, and worked with the team from Tel Aviv University to
  protect libgcrypt against the sidechannel attack.  Gniibe also
  maintains GnuPG-related packages in Debian.  He updated both [Poldi]
  and [Scute].  Gniibe designs and sells the FST-1, a small
  microcontroller that depending on the firmware either acts as an
  OpenPGP smart card or a hardware random number generator.  As the
  stock is running low and some components cannot be sourced any longer,
  he is [working] on the successor featuring a simpler design, a button,
  and support for elliptic curve cryptography.







  [beta version]


  [test framework]

  [extensible storage format]






  Werner received the [Award for the Advancement of Free Software] for
  his work on GnuPG.

  [Award for the Advancement of Free Software]


  Andre [asked] how to obtain a key in a format suitable for SSH's
  `authorized_keys' file from an OpenPGP public certificate now that
  `gpgkey2ssh' has been deprecated.  The discussion was [taken to the
  bug tracker], and a solution released with GnuPG 2.1.11.

  Lachlan J. Gunn, Andrew Allison, and Derek Abbott wrote a paper about
  how Tor can be used to detect malicious key servers[2].  The
  [announcement] contains more information including a link to their

  Daniel [reported] that there have been discussions on building a
  Live-CD for securely managing OpenPGP master keys and smart cards over
  at debian-devel, and he asked if anyone knows about such an effort, or
  has comments on his proposal.  The discussion went into all kinds of
  directions, but the consensus was that this is a useful idea.

  Bernhard [wrote] about work being done for the EasyGpg2016 project.
  They produced [user archetypes and stories] that should guide the
  refinement of GnuPG and related tools, and a [key distribution


  [taken to the bug tracker]




  [user archetypes and stories]

  [key distribution concept]


  We received this year until now about 90 donations summing up to 3000
  Euro.  Thanks for that help.  Sure, that is not enough to pay our
  costs, but fortunately we still have enough money in our accounts to
  keep bread, water, and beer on our tables for this year and somewhat
  longer.  We will eventually run a new donation campaign, though.

  It is probably less know that that we offer SEPA payments which can be
  used for recurring donations.  We have not received many payments
  through SEPA yet and thus this method is only semi-automated and the
  cause for delays between a donation and a confirmation mail.  There is
  an obvious way to make us automate this ;-)

  Lastly, let us confirm that we were meanwhile able to clarify our
  perceived problem with the Facebook donation promise.  This was all
  due to an unfortunate misunderstanding between us.  Facebook will keep
  on supporting GnuPG in 2016 with a donation of 50000 USD.

About this news posting

  We try to write a news posting each month (though we must admit that
  we slipped a little in 2016).  However, other work may have a higher
  priority (e.g. security fixes) and thus there is no promise for a
  fixed publication date.  If you have an interesting topic for a news
  posting, please send it to us.  A regular summary of the mailing list
  discussions would make a nice column on this news.


[1] Daniel Genkin, Lev Pachmanov, Itamar Pipman, Eran Tromer, ECDH
key-extraction via low-bandwidth electromagnetic attacks on PCs,
proc. RSA Conference Cryptographers' Track (CT-RSA) 2016, LNCS 9610,
219-235, Springer, 2016, []

[2] Lachlan J. Gunn, Andrew Allison, Derek Abbott, Verifying public
keys without trust: How anonymity can guarantee data integrity, arXiv
preprint arXiv:1602.03316, 2016,

More information about the Gnupg-users mailing list