GnuPG - Encryption process issues.

Daniel Kahn Gillmor dkg at
Fri May 27 17:32:19 CEST 2016

On Tue 2016-05-24 16:09:21 -0400, Carlos Alberto Moreno Torres wrote:

> In recent days, Human Resources Department had some issues while using the
> Encryption Program GnuPG in payroll activities, this issue caused a delay
> since files where encrypted but information was in blank (like if
> encryption process did not finish.)
> As part of remediation process, we found out that it could only work with
> Root Permissions but not with the current user. We want to confirm how does
> the encryption process works and if you can share any thoughts of what
> might could happen. If you require more information, please do not hesitate
> to ask me.

It sounds to me like the installation of gnupg that you are using is
misconfigured.  GnuPG depends heavily on a "keyring" -- a collection of
public key material (and sometimes private key material, if decryption
or signing is needed), which it maintains in the .gnupg directory within
the running user's home directory (found by the environment variable

If you've started with a normal user account, but have then run gnupg as
root (e.g. using "su") without resetting $HOME to root's actual homedir
(usually /root on the systems i use), then it's possible that you've
created ~/.gnupg with the wrong permissions.

Or, it's possible that the .gnupg directory is *only* available within
root's homedir.

Does your non-privileged user have a ~/.gnupg directory?  if so, does it
have read and write access to it?

What error messages do you get from invoking gpg directly?


More information about the Gnupg-users mailing list