What is a key fingerprint?

The fingerprint of a key is a unique sequence of letters and numbers used to identify the key. Just like the fingerprints of two different people, the fingerprints of two different keys can never be identical. The fingerprint is the best way to identify a particular key.

A key has several properties like the name and email of the key owner, key type, key expiration date and so on. When you are searching for a public key and you find multiple keys with the same properties, the only way to identify the key you are looking for is to compare the fingerprints of the two keys with the fingerprint of the key you require.

It is the fingerprint of a key that is verified when you try to login to a remote computer using SSH. While signing a PGP key, you must always check the key fingerprint and verify the key owner's identity to ensure that you are signing the correct key.

Fingerprints on Passwords and Keys

You can look at the fingerprint of a key on Passwords and Keys by checking the properties of the key.

To check the fingerprint of a key:

  1. Select GnuPG keys from the left side panel.

  2. Select the PGP key from the list.

  3. Right click the key and select Properties.

  4. In the new dialog, select the Details tab.

  5. You can see the fingerprint of the key on the left hand side.