Ok so I do some stuff for a client of ours that requires me to decrypt some of their suppliers messages, the thing is, something weird happened the other day and I can only decrypt some files with an old decryption script, but for certain files I get the error:

"Message is encrypted. Cannot decrypt message. It can only be decrypted by: 2048 bits, Key ID 98627E12, Created 2000-03-02 "Other Guy ""

as you can see, the key is ancient and I was still 9years old when it was created, so I have know idea who this "Other Guy" is. . .and I can't understand why I'm able to decrypt some of the supplier's files with the decryption script, but for others it fails.

PS: the supplier only uses one public key, so this should work for all the files, any advice?


The error text tells that you're missing the private (which matching public key was used to encrypt the message).

Anyway, I guess you anonymized the message (no problem with that) and messed up with the key id, there are no nine digit PGP key IDs.

You will not be able to decrypt the message without the private key. Ask the sender why he used that public key / to hand over the matching private key or resend encrypted to the key you own.

  • that's the funny thing; they only have one public key, which they encrypt all (of about 8) files that they send each week with that one public key from the client, and even though that is so, and I am able to decrypt the other files with the private key, these few files always yield this error, my question was; howcome that is so? – pythonian29033 Oct 4 '13 at 19:47
  • I'm just realizing you're using a horrible old version of PGP. If you do not have access to a newer version, try using GnuPG, which is an free software implementation of OpenPGP (the standard PGP is using, too). Either there's a problem with encryption, transmission or decryption. If they only have one public key, this may not happen. :) – Jens Erat Oct 4 '13 at 21:35
  • yup, actually our client, I've asked management to talk to them about regenerating key pairs and passphrases every set period, instead of holding things forever, lmfu. it's not our call though, we got the good stuff – pythonian29033 Oct 5 '13 at 7:07
  • also, they've got an AIX server, we use ubuntu. . . – pythonian29033 Oct 5 '13 at 7:08
  • funny thing, I just looked at the code of my script again shortly after this and the correct private key and passphrase was being used, turns out the error was that before sending us the files, the supplier had transported the file in ASCII format and this messed with the encrypted file's content – pythonian29033 Oct 22 '13 at 8:32

Ok so after two weeks of searching and trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, it turned out that I was doing everything right;

the Supplier's guys encrypted the file and then moved the file from one machine to another in ASCII format. This altered the content of the encrypted file.

after transporting the file again in BINARY format, the decryption was successful.

I had previously received an error saying that the file was corrupt and that the file could not be decrypted.

This was the first case in which I received such an error, but according to the supplier, that was the cause of the problem.

Thanks for your help everyone

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.