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I have a key in my keyring and I don't know how it got there. Every other key I imported other than this one. How do keys make it into the keyring other than by me importing them?

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Some application you use imported it. For example, your mail client perhaps. But they are still only public keys.

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The key could have been imported for various reasons.

  1. You imported it on your own, by using a CLI call or some graphical user interface.
  2. You accidentally imported it to your personal keyring when adding some private package archive PPA. The Debian/Ubuntu package management heavily relies on OpenPGP signatures.
  3. Some application like mail clients automatically try to download keys when you want to send an encrypted mail, or you receive a signed mail. You might have received a signed mail, maybe on a mailing list, and the mail client loaded the key to be able to verify the signature.
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  • Adding a PPA would result in the key for the PPA being added to the apt keyring, not the user keyring. – dobey Mar 25 '14 at 17:19
  • You're right, I forgot the "accidentally to your personal keyring" part. Syntax is very similar, and I've even found wrong tutorials on this; so I'd definitely regard this as a possibility. – Jens Erat Mar 25 '14 at 17:55

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