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Getting started with PGP in RIPE Database

After installing PGP, the next step is to run it once to create your settings. From the commandline, enter gpg once. It should give a message that the directory and options file are created.

You need a key for all operations with gpg, which you can create with the command gpg --gen-key. This command will ask you the following:

  • what kind of key you want: For most purposes, (1) is suitable.
  • What key size you want: 1024 is the default and reasonable choice. A lower value will decrease the security. On the other hand, a higher value will slow things down.
  • how long the key should be valid: You can choose 0 here for a non-expiring key. For custom needs, a limited duration can be set.
  • Real name: Your name and surname.
  • E-mail address: Your e-mail adress.
  • Comment: Remarks that will be appended after your name in the user-ID that gpg will create.

After entering all those information and confirming that they're correct, you'll be asked for a passphrase. Choose a passphrase that:

  • is long,
  • has special (non alpha-numeric) characters,
  • is something special (not a name),
  • is very hard to guess (not names, birth dates, phone numbers, names, number of children, ...)

Enter it twice and gpg will start generating the key. Moving your mouse or tapping the keyboard during this operation will help gpg to generate the key faster.

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