#103 ✓released
Luke Le

If you delete the only subkey of a key the key can't be used to decrypt anymore

Reported by Luke Le | November 29th, 2011 @ 01:54 AM | in 1.2b1 (closed)

If you have only one subkey for a key and delete that one, the key can no longer be used to decrypt stuff.

gpg fails with error

gpg: verschlüsselt mit RSA Schlüssel, ID 517A21E1
gpg: Entschlüsselung fehlgeschlagen: Geheimer Schlüssel ist nicht vorhanden

Should definitely show a warning message.

Comments and changes to this ticket

  • Ben F

    Ben F December 25th, 2011 @ 07:54 AM


    I noted in the Discussion area that GPG Keychain Access doesn't identify the capabilities of individual subkeys, either in the main window (when a key is expanded to show its contexts) or in the Key Inspector. You observed there that a lot of users don't even know what subkeys are.

    Perhaps if the function of subkeys, as indicated in the key flags, were identified in Keychain Access, accidental erasure of encryption subkeys might be rarer.

    However, there is also something to be said for warning messages when a user tries to delete a subkey, and for better error messages when one tries to use a key with no encryption subkey to encrypt (in the case of a public key) or decrypt (in the case of a secret key). A similar error message might be issued if a user tries to sign a key with a secret key that lacks a master (sub)key.

    --Ben F

  • Luke Le

    Luke Le December 25th, 2011 @ 03:56 PM

    I agree, it would be nice to see the purpose of the subkey, but the more important matter here is, that users can't destroy their keys functionality by simply clicking the wrong button.
    There are a lot of places where error messages are still missing, and we'll have to address them one by one

  • Ben F

    Ben F August 13th, 2012 @ 04:45 PM

    I see that subkey capabilities are now displayed. Thanks for adding this feature!

  • Mento

    Mento February 9th, 2014 @ 11:28 PM

    • State changed from “new” to “fixed”
    • Assigned user set to “Mento”
    • Importance set to “Low”
  • steve

    steve February 10th, 2014 @ 12:04 AM

    • State changed from “fixed” to “verified”
    • Milestone set to 1.2b1


  • steve

    steve June 18th, 2015 @ 01:38 PM

    • State changed from “verified” to “released”

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