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I am getting this error:

W: There is no public key available for the following key IDs:
1397BC53640DB551
W: Failed to fetch http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/trusty/Release
   Unable to find expected entry 'universe/binary-amd64/Packages' in Release file (Wrong sources.list entry or malformed file)

/etc/apt/sources.list contains only this, after trying the available solutions:

deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu trusty main universe restricted multiverse

Have tried following Unable to find expected entry 'restricted/binary-amd64/Packages' in Release file and other questions to no avail. How hard is it to fix this mess up?

Will an upgrade to version 16 have any chance of circumventing the issue? I am currently on version 14.04 LTS. Prior upgrades have been painful.

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You can use apt-key to download the key from the Ubuntu keyserver, and save it as a trusted key:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys 1397BC53640DB551

When you do this, you are telling your computer that the person who owns the private version of this key is trusted, just like you trust Ubuntu to keep your system secure. Be sure to only add keys of people you know can be trusted to not only provide good builds, but keep their keys safe.


There is no public key available for the following key IDs: 1397BC53640DB551

I normally see this whenever my apt has software sources (ie: /etc/apt/sources.list or /etc/apt/sources.list.d/foo) which have packages for which I do not have the public key. This means that someone has signed software and is available via apt that I have not set up as a trusted source.

If you Google '1397BC53640DB551' you'll find a few other people having similar issues. However, when I check Ubuntu's keyserver, I don't even see that key. This makes me think that performing the apt-key adv command, you didn't actually import anything (which is fine, I just don't want you worried).


I would recommend that you try to reset your sources.list. Ubuntu 14.04 is still maintained until 2019.

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  • This made no difference, and I now hope others will comment on whether you might be some hacker :( as I doubt how a missing key is related to the original error message.
    – matanster
    May 27, 2016 at 21:30
  • I understand your concern. I'm going to be updating my answer to help you understand why I asked you to do this.
    – earthmeLon
    May 27, 2016 at 21:31
  • Now I am certainly more clueless about what is going on.
    – matanster
    May 27, 2016 at 21:31
  • Thanks, but it made no difference running that and then `sudo apt-get update'
    – matanster
    May 27, 2016 at 21:32
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    I would recommend that you try to reset your sources.list.
    – earthmeLon
    May 27, 2016 at 21:39

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