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I'm using Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS. I've been using it for over a year, updating every couple of months with no problems. Today I updated and I got these strange public key errors. I have no idea what this means nor where to start.

Here are the errors:

Err:9 http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/deb stable Release.gpg                 
The following signatures couldn't be verified because the public key is not available: NO_PUBKEY 6494C6D6997C215E
Fetched 308 kB in 1s (159 kB/s)                                                
Reading package lists... Done
W: An error occurred during the signature verification. The repository is not updated and the previous index files will be used. GPG error:      http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/deb stable Release: The following signatures couldn't be verified because the public key is not available: NO_PUBKEY 6494C6D6997C215E
W: Failed to fetch http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/deb/dists/stable/Release.gpg  The following signatures couldn't be verified because the public key is not available: NO_PUBKEY 6494C6D6997C215E
W: Some index files failed to download. They have been ignored, or old ones used instead.

I already tried researching on-line but have found the explanations to be extremely confusing. Please help me understand:

1) What these errors mean.

2) How to fix them.

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2 Answers 2

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Import the new repository key:

    wget -q -O - https://dl-ssl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub | sudo apt-key add -

    sudo apt update

You should be good to go.

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Packages in repositories are signed with cryptographic keys to ensure that the files you're downloading were created by the person you think they were (the package maintainers). This is to prevent an attacker from compromising a mirror and replacing legitimate packages with malware and getting that installed on a bunch of computers.

It appears that you've added Google's Chrome repository to your system. They seem to have a lot of problems maintaining it, and at my previous job people frequently ran into this error until Google fixed the mirror (and then it would break again, and so on). In general, your system will be more stable if you only install software from the official Ubuntu repositories. Especially given how bad Google seems to be at maintaining their mirrors, I'd highly recommend:

  1. Uninstalling Chrome.
  2. Removing that repository.
  3. Installing chromium-browser, which is the open-source code base that Google Chrome is based on. There are only a few differences.
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  • Worked like a charm.
    – MadHatter
    Sep 3, 2017 at 23:55

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