PGP key generation – increase system entropy

While creating a new PGP key pair using Enigmail, the progress bar seems stuck, and there’s no CPU activity.

The problem – missing entropy for /dev/random. Take a look at the available kernel entropy:

user@host:~# watch -n 0.2 cat /proc/sys/kernel/random/entropy_avail

If the number stays below – say – 300, PGP can’t find enough random data through /dev/random and won’t generate keys. There’s still /dev/urandom, which Engimail/PGP apparently ignores. So in order to generate acceptable levels of entropy for /dev/random and Engimail, I’m installing haveged, a “random number generator feeding Linux’s random device”.

user@host:~# sudo apt install haveged
user@host:~# sudo systemctl enable haveged.service
user@host:~# sudo systemctl start haveged.service

Now my system’s availabe entropy is at 1800, enough for Enigmail to generate my PGP keys.

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