More base PGP work

Signed-off-by: Konstantin Ryabitsev <>
Konstantin Ryabitsev 5 years ago
parent 526b138907
commit c51f664e8e
No known key found for this signature in database
GPG Key ID: 34BAB80AF9F247B8

@ -49,7 +49,18 @@ Remember, these are only guidelines. If you feel these priority levels do not
reflect your project's commitment to security, you should adjust them as you
see fit.
## PGP and Free Software development
## Basic PGP concepts and tools
### Checklist
- [ ] Understand the role of PGP in Free Software Development _(ESSENTIAL)_
- [ ] Understand the basics of Public Key Cryptography _(ESSENTIAL)_
- [ ] Understand PGP Encryption vs. Signatures _(ESSENTIAL)_
- [ ] Understand PGP key identities _(ESSENTIAL)_
- [ ] Understand PGP key validity _(ESSENTIAL)_
- [ ] Install GnuPG utilities (version 2.x) _(ESSENTIAL)_
### Considerations
The Free Software community has long relied on PGP for assuring the
authenticity and integrity of software products it produced. You may not be
@ -64,6 +75,9 @@ environment:
released software archives, so that downstream projects can verify the
integrity of downloaded releases before integrating them into their own
distributed downloads.
- Free Software projects routinely rely on PGP signatures within the code
itself in order to track provenance and verify integrity of code commits
by project developers.
This is very similar to developer certificates/code signing mechanisms used by
programmers working on proprietary platforms. In fact, the core concepts
@ -72,15 +86,19 @@ the technical aspects of the implementation and the way they delegate trust.
PGP does not rely on centralized Certification Authorities, but instead lets
each user assign their own trust to each certificate.
### Extremely Basic Overview of PGP
Our goal is to get your project on board using PGP for code provenance and
integrity tracking, following best practices and observing basic security
### Extremely Basic Overview of PGP operations
You do not need to know the exact details of how PGP works -- understanding
the core concepts is enough to be able to use it successfully. PGP relies on
Public Key Cryptography to convert plain text into encrypted text. This
process requires two distinct keys:
the core concepts is enough to be able to use it successfully for our
purposes. PGP relies on Public Key Cryptography to convert plain text into
encrypted text. This process requires two distinct keys:
- A public key that is known to everyone
- A private key that is only known to the owner
- A public key that is _known to everyone_
- A private key that is _only known to the owner_
#### Encryption
@ -119,3 +137,114 @@ Frequently, encrypted messages are also signed with the sender's own PGP key.
This should be the default whenever using encrypted messaging, as encryption
without authentication is not very meaningful (unless you are a whistleblower
or a secret agent).
### Understanding Key Identities
Each PGP key must have one or multiple Identities associated with it. Usually,
an "Identity" is the person's full name and email address in the following
Alice Engineer <>
Sometimes it will also contain a comment in brackets, to tell the end-user
more about that particular key:
Bob Designer (obsolete 1024-bit key) <>
Since people can be associated with multiple professional and personal
entities, they can have multiple identities on the same key:
Alice Engineer <>
Alice Engineer <>
Alice Engineer <>
When multiple identities are used, one of them would be marked as the "primary
identity" to make searching easier.
### Understanding Key Validity
To be able to use someone else's public key for encryption or verification,
you need to be sure that it actually belongs to the right person (Alice) and
not to an impostor (Eve). In PGP, this certainty is called "key validity:"
- **Validity: full** -- means we are pretty sure this key belongs to Alice
- **Validity: marginal** -- means we are *somewhat* sure this key belongs to
- **Validity: uknown** -- means there is no assurance at all that this key
belongs to Alice
#### Web of Trust (WoT) vs. Trust on First Use (TOFU)
PGP uses a trust delegation mechanism known as the "Web of Trust." At its
core, this is an attempt to replace the need for centralized Certification
Authorities of the HTTPS/TLS world. Instead of various software makers
dictating who should be your trusted certification authorities, PGP leaves
this responsibility to each user.
Unfortunately, very few people understand how the Web of Trust works, and even
fewer bother to keep it going. It remains an important aspect of the OpenPGP
specification, but recent versions of GnuPG (2.2 and above) have implemented
an alternative mechanism called "Trust on First Use" (TOFU).
You can think of TOFU as "the SSH-like approach to trust." With SSH, the first
time you connect to a remote system, its key fingerprint is recorded and
remembered. If the key changes in the future, the SSH client will alert you
and refuse to connect, forcing you to make a decision on whether you choose to
trust the changed key or not.
Similarly, the first time you import someone's PGP key, it is assumed to be
trusted. If at any point in the future GnuPG comes across another key with the
same identity, both the previously imported key and the new key will be marked
as invalid and you will need to manually figure out which one to trust.
In this guide, we will be using the TOFU trust model.
### Installing OpenPGP software
First, it is important to understand the distinction between PGP, OpenPGP,
GnuPG and gpg:
- **PGP** ("Pretty Good Privacy") is the name of the original commercial software
- **OpenPGP** is the IETF standard compatible with the original PGP tool
- **GnuPG** ("Gnu Privacy Guard") is free software that implements the OpenPGP
- The command-line tool for GnuPG is called "**gpg**"
Today, the term "PGP" is almost always used to mean "the OpenPGP standard,"
not the original commercial software, and therefore "PGP" and "OpenPGP" are
interchangeable. The terms "GnuPG" and "gpg" should only be used when
referring to the tools, not to the output they produce or OpenPGP features
they implement. For example:
- PGP (not GnuPG or GPG) key
- PGP (not GnuPG or GPG) signature
- PGP (not GnuPG or GPG) keyserver
Understanding this should protect you from an inevitable pedantic "actually"
from other PGP users you come across.
#### Installing GnuPG
If you are using Linux, you should already have GnuPG installed. On a Mac,
you should install [GPG-Suite]( For all other platforms,
you'll need to do your own research to find the correct places to download and
install GnuPG.
##### GnuPG 1 vs. 2
Both GnuPG v.1 and GnuPG v.2 implement the same standard, but they provide
incompatible libraries and command-line tools, so many distributions ship both
the legacy version 1 and the latest version 2. You need to make sure you are
always using GnuPG v.2.
First, run:
gpg --version | head -1
If you see `gpg (GnuPG) 1.4.x`, then you are using GnuPG v.1. Try the `gpg2`
gpg2 --version | head -1
If you see `gpg (GnuPG) 2.x.x`, then you are good to go. This guide will
assume you have the version 2.2 of GnuPG (or later).