Keysigning party

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Next keysigning party: 2014-02-08, 12:00-16:00, Boelter Hall 4760

A keysigning party is an event for helping people verify each others' PGP keys and strengthening the web of trust.

  • take control of your privacy
  • meet other interesting members of the privacy-aware community
  • learn about cryptography technologies widely used in industry
  • eat pizza

LUG@UCLA's keysigning party uses a slightly modified version of the Sassaman-Efficient method.



  1. If you haven't already, generate your PGP keypair: $ gpg --gen-key
    WARNING: make sure you understand the implications of holding a private key:
    • DO NOT generate it on a computer you don't own and have full control over.
    • DO NOT store your private key on Dropbox, Sky Drive, or any other cloud storage service.
    • DO use a very strong passphrase (multiple words, aka "phrase")
  2. If you haven't already, sync your public key with the pgp keyservers: $ gpg --send-keys <your key ID>
    WARNING: this is irreversible. Make sure you are prepared to protect your private key and you are using a very strong passphrase.
  3. Go to RSVP page:
    • If you don't remember your fingerprint, use this command: $ gpg --fingerprint <your name>

II. Preparation

  1. 24 hours before the party, we will make available the final keylist and keylist checksum which you should download:
    $ wget
    $ wget
  2. Make sure your key fingerprint is on the list next to your name.
  3. Locally verify the checksum: $ sha1sum --check keylist.txt.sha1
  4. Append the checksum to the bottom of keylist.txt: $ cat keylist.txt.sha1 >>keylist.txt
  5. Print keylist.txt and keep safe.
    • For your convenience, here is a printable version. Be sure to verify the contents before printing.

III. The Party

  1. Bring the following:
    • printed copy of keylist.txt
    • One or more forms of ID (e.g. drivers license + Bruin card)
  2. make sure the keylist.txt checksum at the bottom of your printout matches the checksum projected onto the wall.
  3. Together, we will iterate over the keylist and each participant will make a statement that their fingerprint is correct. Put a check mark next to each person that has stated that their fingerprint is correct.
  4. When we finish going through the list, break formation and individually go to each person on your keylist to verify their identity. Add a second check mark next to each person that you verify. This indicates that you really believe they own that key.
  5. Keep your keylist printout safe.
  6. Don't forget to eat pizza!

IV. After the Party

  1. Retrieve your annotated keylist printout.
  2. Import the key of every person on the list with two check marks: $ gpg --recv-keys <key ID 1> <key ID 2> ... <key ID N>
  3. For every key with two check marks, indicate your level of trust and sign the key:
    $ gpg --edit-key <their key ID>
    gpg> trust
     1 = Don't know
     2 = I do NOT trust
     3 = I trust marginally
     4 = I trust fully
    Your decision? 3
    gpg> sign
  4. Send all your new key signatures to the keyservers: $ gpg --send-keys <key ID 1> <key ID 2> ... <key ID N>
    This strengthens the web of trust!


Q: How do I install GnuPG (gpg)?
A: Most open source operating systems will include GnuPG by default. If GnuPG is not installed, and isn't provided by your operating system vendor, you should seriously consider switching to a better operating system. Come to LUG during Tutoring hours or attend our next Installfest and we will help you install GNU/Linux on your computer.

Q: Can't I just generate my PGP keypair on SEASNet lnxsrv?
A: NO! You must protect your private key. Generate it on your personal computer running an open source operating system. Virtual machines don't count.