Click Here To Hide Tor


Ok, so by now I am assuming you have Tails running. Let’s learn how to use PGP within Tails. First thing you are going to want to do is create your own personal key, which consists of your public key that you can give out to people or post in your profiles online. As mentioned before, this is the key people use to encrypt messages to send to you. Your personal key also consists of your private key which you can use to decrypt messages that are encrypted using your PGP public key.

If you look up to the top right area, you will see a list of icons, and one o them looks like a clipboard. You need to click on that clipboard and click Manage Keys

Next click File -> New
Select PGP Key and click Continue
Fill out your full name (I suggest you use your online name, not your real name)
Optionally fill out an email and a comment as well.
Next, click Advanced Key Options.
Make sure Encryption type is set to RSA and set key strength to 4096.
Once you have done this, click Create and it will generate your key.

Once you have done this, you can view your personal key by clicking the tab My Personal Keys. You have now created your personal key! To find your PGP public key, you right click on your personal key and click Copy and it will copy your PGP public key to your clipboard, in which you can paste anywhere you wish. A PGP public key will look something like this.



Next, you are going to want to save the private key on a secondary USB drive or SD card. If you are running Tails from a USB drive, then you must use a separate drive to store your key on. If you are running Virtual Box, you want to right click on the icon in the bottom right corner that looks like a USB drive, and select your separate drive that you will be using to store your keys on. Again, never store your private keys on your hard drive, keep them OFF your computer.

To save your private key, you are going to right click on your personal key and click Properties. I know you probably saw where it says Export, but this is not what you want to do. Clicking export will ONLY export your public key and will not save your private key. If you lose your private key, you can never recover it even if you create another personal key using the exact same password. Each private key is unique to the time it was created and if lost, is lost forever. So once you have clicked Properties, go over to the tab Details and click Export Complete Key.

Once you have done this, you have saved your personal key for future use once you restart Tails. Remembering that Tails is not installed on your hard drive, so every time you restart Tails you lose all your keys. By saving your keys onto a USB drive or SD card, you can import your keys for use every time you restart it.

Next you are going to want to learn how to encrypt and decrypt messages using your key. Well, luckily for me, Tails has already made a tutorial on how to do this, so I will refer you to their webpage. But before I do that, I need to mention that you need to find somebody else’s PGP public key, or you can practice by using your own. Needless to say, the way you import other people’s keys into what’s called your key ring is by loading them into a text file. You do this with the program called gedit Text Editor.

Click Applications -> Accessories -> gedit Text Editor and enter in someone’s public key and hit save. Next you can return to your key program from the clipboard icon and click File -> Import and select that file. It will import that person’s public key into your key ring. To add future public keys to your key ring, I suggest reopening the same file and just adding the next key below the previous key and each time you open that file it will load all keys within that file. This way you can keep all the PGP public keys together in one file and save it on your SD card or USB drive for future use.

Finally you can use the following 2 pages to learn how to encrypt and decrypt messages using PGP.

Until next time. Have fun with your new found ability to communicate in PGP!


  1. Thank you! For some reason in Tails I just couldn’t figure out how to export my public key…

  2. Even if you are using Tails with persistence is it still a good idea to export your complete key to another usb or sd drive as a back up ? For instance if you are using your key as 2FA for something but lose your Tails drive wouldn’t you be screwed if you didn’t export your keys ? In that case would you be able to just create a new Tails and import you saved keys ?

  3. i cannot find my public pgp key in is no where to be found.ive been trying for hrs.there is no way to copy it to clipboard and i can only find my private key.helppppp

  4. Walter I thought the same too until I realized you just select it, and goto edit and hit copy . This copies the public key block txt to you need to publish to your clipboard.

  5. When I go into my keys and passwords via the clipboard to create a new PGP key, fill out the details and click create, I get a pop-up screen saying “Enter the passphrase for your new key twice”. Why is this happening? I tried some googling but couldn’t find anything. Am I missing something?

  6. K. All this is great you have a computer or laptop running Windows or some Virtual system whatever.i don’t have a computer or laptop in which to do all the things I used to do when I had such. I have to do everything, we surfing the web, email, shopping online on an IPAD AIR running IOS 8.4 I can’t use TAILS or PGP (that I aware of) nor create virtual environments encrypt things securely. I have TOR and work with that to “view” the DarkNet BUT I can’t do anything else productively because NO ONE will do business with you unless you use PGP. What can I do? Where do I begin to port things over to an IPAD that the world.does on a computer. You guys I’m ripping my hair out over this and suggestions/help would be SO appreciated. Thank you.

  7. Tails is so fucking shit, while using it, it destroyed my second usb that i use for my key. Now i have no pgp key and everything on the usb is wiped. WTF????
    All i dont was insert it while using tails and now its unusable

  8. where can i decrypt my key that alpha gives, the site i used crashed

  9. As a news bird I had never found any icon in top right area that looks like clipboard. Keeping click everywhere but still can’t “manage keys”. Can anyone help me?

  10. If u store ur pgp private key on another usb then won’t that not have fde? And where should you store your fde pass? If you installed tails on the other usb for fde then where would u put the fde pass on that usb?

  11. could you please go over *restoring* the private key from USB to Passwords and Keys in a new Tails session?

  12. the best way to install tails on a usb is to first make a TAILS boot USB, than make another boot USB within your first TAILS with the TAILS Installer. That way with the second TAILS USB, you can have persistence. Some people may argue that persistence may be an OPSEC risk but no more than storing your private key on another USB. This way you can use this TAILS USB permanently on any PC or laptop with internet and keep your keys as well as your electrum wallet and so forth without any risk of losing them. Even with persistence, memory will be erased off the PC or laptop you are using TAILS on and all your data will be kept secure as long as you keep your TAILS password secure as well as not losing your TAILS USB.

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