I can view a session key to the encrypted data using option gpg --show-session-key <file>.
Knowing the session key, how can i decrypt the data without using my private key?

1 Answer 1


To encrypt a file for a recipient:

$ gpg -ea -r [email protected] < file > file.gpg

To get the session key for an encrypted file when you have the private key of the recipient:

$ gpg --show-session-key < file.gpg
gpg: session key: `9:901D6ED579AFF935F9F157A5198BCE48B50AD87345DEADBA06F42C5D018C78CC'

To use this session key to decrypt the file, without needing the private key:

$ gpg --override-session-key 9:901D6ED579AFF935F9F157A5198BCE48B50AD87345DEADBA06F42C5D018C78CC -d < file.gpg

This information was obtained by simply having a look at the man page for gpg:

   Display the session key used for one message. 
   See --override-session-key for the counterpart of this option
--override-session-key string
  Don't use the public key but the session key string.
  • Oh, yea. I saw this option, but i didn't read the description to the end because the word "override" confused me. I thought that i understood a meaning of this option just after reading it. Thank you!
    – Reputet
    Feb 20, 2016 at 21:27

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