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Date: Fri, 9 Nov 2012 00:08:40 +0100
From: sngh <>
Subject: Noob: trying to recover own gpg/pgp passphrase with limited set of characters

Good day list-mates,

I am reading through the great many documentation of john, to recover
my (year) 200x-created gpg/pgp private key-rings pass-phrase.

I kinda think I remember my pass-phrase being like either a
combination of a few words and year numbers and a single exclamation
mark as "special" character. Until now, running for a few days, I am
out of luck.

Just asking a few things to get things straight.
I was trying to extract the unique distinct ascii characters from the
few words that I am thinking about that my pass-phrase could be made
of, so I found that I needed to feed a colon : and the words (=passes
as clear-text) into the john.pot file each on a line. I added the
years (four character num only) as well that I think about.
(found out about it here: )

Additionally maybe my pass-phrase is rather the kind of the first
letters of the words contained in a sentence, such as "this is my
great gpg pass-phrase 200x!" = timggp200x! or similar.

my real pass-phrase (converted hash to john format) is in a file secinfo.txt


I am wondering does that say how many characters my password might
have, or anything helpful at all? I got that conversion by a
self-compiled jtr-unstable-jumbo

at the moment I am running two jtr instances just to try to understand jtr:
one shows

Loaded 1 password hash (OpenPGP / GnuPG Secret Key [32/64])
Warning: only 44 characters available

thats with --incremental=mystuff01 secinfo.txt

and john.conf has
File = $JOHN/mycharset01.chr
Minlen = 0
MaxLen = 8
Extra = abdefhilnorstuw!125690

the chr file I created of my john.pot file that I filled manually with
starting that colon : at the beginning of each line and adding a few
words and stuff I thought that I might have used back then.

the other session is an incremental
its rec file has:


when started it shows as well:
./run/john  --restore=gpgsecringincremental
Loaded 1 password hash (OpenPGP / GnuPG Secret Key [32/64])

the progress for both is still 0.00% :/

Questions would be, can I further optimize the outcome of this
endeavor, or should I just dump the gpg private keyring altogether? :(

Also, currently I am running this on a cpu (multi-core though), but
its only outputting like 8 to 9k checks a second or so on a single
john instance. Maybe I could have access to a gpu gfx card or even a
few to speed things up, but I havent messed with opencl(? I think the
gpg/pgp john coding stuff runs as an opencl engine) on Linux (AMDATI
gfx card) as of yet, I could have easier ways to have gfx cards for
opencl on Windows, wonder if I can compile john for opencl/gpu for the
Windows platform?

Also, what does the 32/64 (bits of the platform? key properties or
calculation method of john?) at the john output during start mean?

Also what about this default 8characters max that a password can have,
I suppose my password for example made up of two familiar words in my
friends and family realm, would add up to much more than just 8chars,
the pass might me rather 12chars or so. Even if I did that word
letters sentence thingy and the one special character additionally, I
suppose I am beyond eight characters as password length.

If I would go for the opencl/gpu stuff, whats an easy way to split up
the password ranges for a few concurrent runs of this task on multiple
machines with gpu, that could cut the time-frame in half or by four or
so depending to what I might have available.

Any further hints?
Thanks. Regards.

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