Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2015/262

A look at the PGP ecosystem through the key server data

Hanno Böck

Abstract: PGP-based encryption systems use a network of key servers to share public keys. These key server operate on an add only basis, thus the data gives us access to PGP public keys from over 20 years of PGP usage. Analyzing this data allows searching for cryptographic weaknesses in large scale.

I created a parser script that puts the raw cryptographic data of the PGP keys into a database. Doing this allows large scale searches for well-known vulnerabilities. DSA signatures with a duplicate $k$ value due to bad random numbers allow the calculation of the private key. Similarly analyzing RSA keys for shared prime factors allows factoring the modulus and thus also regenerating the private key.

A small number of breakable keys due to these weaknesses were found.

Category / Keywords: public-key cryptography / pgp, dsa, rsa, rng, keyserver

Date: received 19 Mar 2015

Contact author: hanno at hboeck de

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Version: 20150322:083515 (All versions of this report)

Short URL:

Discussion forum: Show discussion | Start new discussion

[ Cryptology ePrint archive ]