GnuPG – Public / Private Key Method – Encryption / Decryption (With Digital Signature)

GnuPG – Public / Private Key Method – Encryption / Decryption (No Digital Signature)


<When You Encounter This Error Don’t Panic>

GPG key generation: Not enough random bytes available.

Not enough random bytes available

Generating keys with GnuPG


Anyone who wants to create a new key set via GnuPG (GPG) may run into this error:

We need to generate a lot of random bytes. It is a good idea to perform
some other action (type on the keyboard, move the mouse, utilize the
disks) during the prime generation; this gives the random number
generator a better chance to gain enough entropy.
Not enough random bytes available.  Please do some other work to give
the OS a chance to collect more entropy! (Need 142 more bytes)

The problem is caused by the lack of entropy (or random system noise). While trying to get more, you might keep running into this message. In our case running a find on the disk, while making sha1sums and putting that into files, was actually not enough.

To check the available entropy, check the kernel parameters:

cat /proc/sys/kernel/random/entropy_avail

To solve it, run the rngd command: rngd -f -r /dev/urandom

Debian / Ubuntu: apt-get install rng-tools

Red Hat / CentOS: yum install -y rng-utils

Checking the available entropy again revealed in our case a stunning 3100, almost 100 times more than before. GnuPG is now happy again and can finish creating the keys.

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