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R 6dcb562591 optionally use rfc1751 words 3 years ago optionally use rfc1751 words 3 years ago optionally use rfc1751 words 3 years ago

Paperkey Words

Paperkey can be used to create a plain text paper backup of your PGP/GPG private key.
However, if you don’t trust the available printer, it’s a pain to actually create the physical copy of your key, because you have to write down a lot of hex numbers.

paperkeywords can be used to transform those hex numbers into words (using PGP word list) and back again for recovery.

Backup and recover

To create a backup, run paperkey as usual and pipe the output through paperkeywords like this:

> gpg --export-secret-keys my-key | paperkey | python > paperkeywords.txt

Now you can start the tedious but secure job of writing down the content of paperkeywords.txt.

To restore your private key, you need your public key (without ascii armor). Then you can run this:

> cat paperkeywords | python -d | paperkey --pubring pubkey.gpg | gpg --import

That’s it. You recovered your private key.

Shorter Words

If you don’t like the amount of words you have to write, you can use the -r or --rfc1751 command line option. With this option paperkeyword will use the RFC1751 word list (or rather the first 512 words thereof) instead of the PGP word list.

When restoring your public key, you must apply the -r option again, obviously.