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9.4.3. About your key

When your key has been created, you will get a message about the fingerprint. This is a sequence of 40 hexadecimal numbers, which is so long that it is very, very hard to generate the same key twice, on any computer. You can be rather sure that this is a unique sequence. The short form of this key consists of your name, followed by the last 8 hexadecimal numbers.

You can get information about your key as follows:

willy@ubuntu:~$ gpg --list-keys
pub     1024D/BF5C3DBB 2006-08-08
uid                    Willy De Wandel (Willem) <[email protected]>
sub     4096g/A3449CF7 2006-08-08

The key ID of this key is "BF5C3DBB". You can send your key ID and your name to a key server, so that other people can get this info about you and use it to encrypt data for you. Alternatively, you can send your public key directly to the people who need it. The public part of your key is the long series of numbers that you see when using the --export option to the gpg command:

gpg --export -a

However, as far is this guide is concerned, we assume that you only need your key in order to encrypt and decrypt data for yourself. Read the gpg man pages if you want to know more.

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