In this article I'm gonna explain how do I generate and use OpenPGP keys.
1 Install GnuPG
On macOS you can use brew to install GnuPG
brew install gnupg, you will also need
pinentry-mac package if you are going to use it with GUI programs such like Thunderbird with Eng
2 OpenPGP key generation
gpg --full-generate-key, you can also create a key with gpg in batch mode1.
cat >first-last.txt <<EOF %echo Generating a basic OpenPGP key Key-Type: RSA Key-Length: 4096 Key-Usage: cert #Subkey-Type: RSA #Subkey-Length: 4096 Name-Real: First Last #Name-Comment: Name-Email: email@example.com Expire-Date: 30y Passphrase: password %commit %echo done EOF
Create a key in an ephemeral home directory
mkdir -m700 .gnupg ## Set the environment variable ## or pass --homedir .gnupg as an argument export GNUPGHOME=".gnupg" gpg --batch --generate-key first-last.txt
3 Use subkeys
I use encryption and signing subkeys instead of just use one key for everything, because it's safer when you keep your master key elsewhere and use different keys for different purposes. Debian also recommend to use subkeys.2
## adduid, (trust, 5,) save gpg --edit-key firstname.lastname@example.org ## Get keygrip gpg --with-keygrip --list-key <key-id> ## Export and Import the key to the GPG homedir ## where you are gonna use the key, ## remove the master key from there ## and change the password rm .gnupg/private-keys-v1.d/<keygrip>.key gpg --edit-key <key-id> passwd
3.1 Thunderbird and Enigmail
I use Thunderbird with Enigmail to send and receive PGP encrypted emails, you can follow the guide by EFF SSD to set it up. Note you need to install
pinentry-mac the package to use GPG with such GUI programs.
brew install pinentry-mac echo 'pinentry-program /usr/local/bin/pinentry-mac' > ~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf
git config --global gpg.program $(which gpg) git config --global user.name 'First Last' git config --global user.email 'email@example.com' git config --global user.signingkey <signing_subkey_id> git config --global commit.gpgsign true
In case you don't want to sign commits for specific repo, just run
git config commit.gpgsign false in the repo directory.
3.3 pass (the standard unix password manager)
I use pass to manage my passwords, with a different key. pass store passwords in a git repo, you can also store the
$GNUPGHOME in a git repo or just in the same repo.
I have some config like this in my zsh config
PASSWORD_STORE_DIR="$HOME/passwordstore" alias pass="GNUPGHOME=\"$HOME/passwordstore/.gnupg\" PASSWORD_STORE_DIR=\"$HOME/passwordstore\" pass"