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How to understand the `gpg failed to sign the data` problem in git

Problem

You have installed GPG, then tried to commit and suddenly you see this error message after it:

error: gpg failed to sign the data
fatal: failed to write commit object

Debug

For understanding what's going on, first check what git is doing, so add GIT_TRACE=1 at the beginning of the command you used before (git commit or git rebase):

GIT_TRACE=1 git commit

With that you can see what GPG is doing: Probably you will see something like this

10:37:22.346480 run-command.c:637       trace: run_command: gpg --status-fd=2 -bsau <your GPG key>

(Check if your GPG key is correct)

Execute that gpg command again in the command line:

gpg --status-fd=2 -bsau <your GPG key>

👆🏻 With this now you could see what happened in detail!

Solutions

We can have many problems, but I list what I found:

  1. It could be that the GPG key was expired: https://stackoverflow.com/a/47561300/532912

  2. Another thing could be that the secret key was not set properly (In my case the message said gpg: signing failed: No secret key as it can be see in the image below). image It means that is not finding the key that was set. You would need to set up the GPG key in Git (again):

    • List the secret keys available in GPG.
    gpg --list-secret-keys --keyid-format=long
    • Copy your key
    • Set your key for your user in git
    git config --global user.signingkey <your key>
  3. Another popular solution that could help was shared here by @NirajanMahara: https://gist.github.com/paolocarrasco/18ca8fe6e63490ae1be23e84a7039374?permalink_comment_id=3767413#gistcomment-3767413

  4. You can see in the thread of this gist other ways to find the solution to other problems. I recommend to read the Github guide for signing commits with GPG.

Hope it helps!

@ferdogan-nex
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ferdogan-nex commented Jun 12, 2023

This one worked for me. Thanks.

update: I just realised it didn't work.

@thyarles
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This one worked for me. Thanks.

Which one?

@klubi
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klubi commented Jun 12, 2023

I'm running into similar issue, but It may be a layer deeper. When I run gpg --status-fd=2 -bsau ... I get

[GNUPG:] PINENTRY_LAUNCHED 106 curses 1.1.0 - - -
gpg: signing failed: Inappropriate ioctl for device
[GNUPG:] FAILURE sign 83918950
gpg: signing failed: Inappropriate ioctl for device

I'm running that in jenkins, and I assume Jenkins is awaiting for passphrase input, but I can't seem to figure out how to sent it to it...

In case anyone runs into same issue, I ended up with below steps to import gpg key to Jenkins and use it to sign commits.

def call(String key_secret, String key_pass_secret, String key_id_secret, String key_grip_secret) {

    withCredentials([file(credentialsId: key_secret, variable: 'GPG_KEY'), 
    string(credentialsId: key_pass_secret, variable: 'GPG_KEY_PASS'),
    string(credentialsId: key_id_secret, variable: 'GPG_KEY_ID'),
    string(credentialsId: key_grip_secret, variable: 'GPG_KEY_GRIP')]) {
        sh """
            gpg --batch --passphrase $GPG_KEY_PASS --import $GPG_KEY
            echo allow-preset-passphrase > /root/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf
            gpgconf --kill gpg-agent
            gpg-connect-agent -v
            \$(gpgconf --list-dirs libexecdir)/gpg-preset-passphrase --preset --passphrase $GPG_KEY_PASS $GPG_KEY_GRIP
            git config --global commit.gpgsign true
            git config --global user.signingkey $GPG_KEY_ID
            git config --global user.email "<REDACTED>"
            git config --global user.name "<REDACTED>”
        """
        }
}

to get key_grip run gpg —with-keygrip -K

All those shenanigans are caused by lack of tty in Jenkins thus there is no way to interactively input passphrase, so gpg-agent has to receive it as preset.
Killing and connecting back to agent is meant to solve two issues: updates to config, and race condition between agent startup and trying to exec proceeding command.

@ferdogan-nex
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This one worked for me. Thanks.

Which one?

Never mind, it actually didn't work. I still have the same issue.

@ferdogan-nex
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I got my issue solved. It was due to git version. Apparently git needs to be above 2.34 for code signing using SSH.

@empeje
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empeje commented Jun 22, 2023

5. then use export GPG_TTY=$(tty)

It also helped to to set it permanently in ~/.profile on Ubuntu (to do so, append export GPG_TTY=$(tty) to the ~/.profile file).

This save my life 🔥

@gregorywaynepower
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On Windows 10 machine, I aligned my Local Git instance's username and email to my Github username and email.

The linchpin was taking the second line of gpg --list-secret-keys --keyid-format=LONG (the one below sec) and put that longer code as my user.signingkey for my git config.

@wushingmushine
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wushingmushine commented Jul 4, 2023

I haven't seen this one yet in thread so in case anyone else encounters it in a small terminal window:

With the same initial error and trace log I ran gpg --status-fd=2 -bsau <your GPG key> but it hung indefinitely with no output.
So I tried echo "test" | gpg --clearsign and got this error:

> echo "test" | gpg --clearsign                                          
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA512

test
gpg: signing failed: Screen or window too small
gpg: [stdin]: clear-sign failed: Screen or window too small

So turns out you can get this error if your terminal window is too small because the key passphrase box cannot pop up

Thanks @paolocarrasco and @truemiller for the pointers!

@ferpieklo
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I'm on Windows using the terminal and Gpg4Win (instead of Git Bash), and this helped me solve the gpg: signing failed: No secret key issue.

Make sure that git config gpg.program points to the gpg.exe file from the package by doing the following:

  1. Run where.exe gpg.
  2. If the output returns several executables, locate the one from Gpg4Win (by default, the path is C:\Program FIles (x86)\GnuPG\bin\gpg.exe.
  3. Run git config --global gpg.program <path/to/gpg/from/Gpg4Win>

(source here)

@psavarmattas
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psavarmattas commented Aug 4, 2023

Thanks so much for this @NirajanMahara . This worked like a charm!

@joespinelli7
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Thank you! Guided me perfectly through my issue and resolved within minutes :)

@Ahmedntc
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I you're on WSL2, maybe this can help:

  • Add those lines to ~/.gnupg/gpg.conf
    use-agent 
    pinentry-mode loopback
    
  • Add this line to ~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf
    allow-loopback-pinentry
    

Tried pretty much everything and this was what worked for me, thank you!

@meerilahi
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Thanks
@gauravk-io

@gbdubs
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gbdubs commented Sep 3, 2023

Thank you!

@OverRevvv
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Thank you @gauravk-io , I did what you did and resolved the error.

@luiguip
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luiguip commented Sep 20, 2023

I you're on WSL2, maybe this can help:

* Add those lines to `~/.gnupg/gpg.conf`
  ```
  use-agent 
  pinentry-mode loopback
  ```

* Add this line to `~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf`
  ```
  allow-loopback-pinentry
  ```

Thanks, worked on WSL2.

@wlopez30
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echo "test" | gpg --clearsign

I haven't seen this one yet in thread so in case anyone else encounters it in a small terminal window:

With the same initial error and trace log I ran gpg --status-fd=2 -bsau <your GPG key> but it hung indefinitely with no output. So I tried echo "test" | gpg --clearsign and got this error:

> echo "test" | gpg --clearsign                                          
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA512

test
gpg: signing failed: Screen or window too small
gpg: [stdin]: clear-sign failed: Screen or window too small

So turns out you can get this error if your terminal window is too small because the key passphrase box cannot pop up

Thanks @paolocarrasco and @truemiller for the pointers!

Yup. This was it for me.
Thank you!

@Carlos-vargs
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omg I just need to run export GPG_TTY=$(tty)

  1. then use export GPG_TTY=$(tty)

I tried everything and found that comment, you saved me bro

@rosangelysreyes
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Thank you! It worked for me following each step ❤️

@lehaiquantb
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On MacOS, I have to install pinentry-mac to enter passphrase

brew install pinentry-mac
echo "pinentry-program $(which pinentry-mac)" >> ~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf
killall gpg-agent

@after-ephemera
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Thank you for this!

@sudoAlphaX
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I'm on Windows using the terminal and Gpg4Win (instead of Git Bash), and this helped me solve the gpg: signing failed: No secret key issue.

Make sure that git config gpg.program points to the gpg.exe file from the package by doing the following:

1. Run `where.exe gpg`.

2. If the output returns several executables, locate the one from Gpg4Win (by default, the path is C:\Program FIles (x86)\GnuPG\bin\gpg.exe.

3. Run `git config --global gpg.program <path/to/gpg/from/Gpg4Win>`

(source here)

This worked for me. Thank you very much.

@babud08
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babud08 commented Oct 25, 2023

I tried this method and still I'm getting this error while commit my changes.

$ git commit -S -m "workflow files commit"
error: cannot spawn gpg2: No such file or directory
error: gpg failed to sign the data
fatal: failed to write commit object

@sudoAlphaX
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@babud08 i think you have to set git global config for gpg.program

Find your gpg.exe path by using:
where gpg

and use Git Bash to configure the path
git config --global gpg.program <path>

@szympajka
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Thank you!

@jrgleason
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gpg --status-fd=2 -bsau F93581548CDBCCB7
[GNUPG:] KEY_CONSIDERED E4C9A7533D31D43B288E162FF93581548CDBCCB7 2
[GNUPG:] BEGIN_SIGNING H10

and it just hangs there.

@shellheim
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Dude, I just misspelled user.signingkey as user.signkey

@joshjud
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joshjud commented Nov 10, 2023

Thank you! My key was wrong. Working now.

@SirPhemmiey
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What worked for me was setting up program.

  1. first determine the location of your gpg installation. You can use which gpg.
  2. copy the result in the previous step and run the command
git config --global gpg.program "<paste the installation location here>"

@juni37
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juni37 commented Nov 24, 2023

On MacOS, I have to install pinentry-mac to enter passphrase

brew install pinentry-mac
echo "pinentry-program $(which pinentry-mac)" >> ~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf
killall gpg-agent

THANK YOU!!! I had to do this and now it's working for me. HUGE KUDOS TO YOU!!

@DimitarNestorov
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On my Mac all I had to do was

killall gpg-agent

@bm-synth
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I you're on WSL2, maybe this can help:

* Add those lines to `~/.gnupg/gpg.conf`

use-agent
pinentry-mode loopback


* Add this line to `~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf`

allow-loopback-pinentry

Thanks, worked on WSL2.

Thank you @luiguip , that was the fix for me!

@Muneer94
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Even after trying the above methods if the problem didn't get resolved, you can restart gpg-agent

systemctl --user status gpg-agent
systemctl --user restart gpg-agent

@naezith
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naezith commented Dec 5, 2023

On MacOS, I have to install pinentry-mac to enter passphrase

brew install pinentry-mac
echo "pinentry-program $(which pinentry-mac)" >> ~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf
killall gpg-agent

This is the true solution 👍

@theBeardA
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On MacOS, I have to install pinentry-mac to enter passphrase

brew install pinentry-mac
echo "pinentry-program $(which pinentry-mac)" >> ~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf
killall gpg-agent

this works like a charm 🚀

@Pablo-pixtm-365
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Pablo-pixtm-365 commented Dec 13, 2023

I tried differents solutions:

1.- Change the path in "git config --global gpg.program"
2.- See if there were any misspelled variables
3.- echo "test" | gpg --clearsign

But they didn't work.

Finally the solution was run:

git config --global gpg.program gpg

if you use gpg2, change gpg for gpg2

I hope this solution works for you

@scotteg
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scotteg commented Dec 25, 2023

After upgrading my OSX to Monterey it stoped to work without reason. The GIT_TRACE didn't help to much because everything was correctly set. In the end I reinstalled the GPG Sutie via brew with the command brew reinstall --cask gpg-suite and it fixed the issue.

Doing this resolved my issue. Thanks!

@JorgeNachtigall
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I you're on WSL2, maybe this can help:

  • Add those lines to ~/.gnupg/gpg.conf
    use-agent 
    pinentry-mode loopback
    
  • Add this line to ~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf
    allow-loopback-pinentry
    

GOAT, it worked

@EfrainOlivaresEv
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🙏
Saved me lots more time after spending a bunch of time debugging ...

@EvieePy
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EvieePy commented Jan 3, 2024

After spending hours debugging this, the problem was that I was using single quotes for this command, E.g:
git config --global gpg.program 'C:\Program Files (x86)\GnuPG\bin\gpg.exe'

Instead of double quotes, like so:
git config --global gpg.program "C:\Program Files (x86)\GnuPG\bin\gpg.exe"

Thanks for the help though!

@SelinaRaynor
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Thanks for helping me out :)

@syedamanat
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syedamanat commented Jan 10, 2024

On MacOS, I have to install pinentry-mac to enter passphrase

brew install pinentry-mac
echo "pinentry-program $(which pinentry-mac)" >> ~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf
killall gpg-agent

Thanks for this!

10th-Jan-2024; Still works (mac m1)

@Jphn
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Jphn commented Jan 11, 2024

Thanks man, it worked for me!

@adriguerra
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My issue was that I had added the PGP key with my email, while my commits on the repo were signed with my GitHub-provided noreply email address.

To solve this issue, I had to run gpg --edit-key [your key] followed by gpg> adduid to add the second email address.

https://docs.github.com/en/authentication/managing-commit-signature-verification/associating-an-email-with-your-gpg-key

@HimangshuDe
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HimangshuDe commented Feb 17, 2024

Hello Devs,
Since I am a newcomer to git and GitHub. I have also faced the same problem. Let me state that in detail below.

Problems I have faced:

  1. I have installed git and have generated ssh-key from there and added it to my GitHub account. It worked.

  2. I have installed GPG program for adding GPG key into my account and added to git thereafter. I did all the necessary steps. Added that into my account. Worked fine.

  3. Now whenever I commit any changes, I get that error.

Solution: [Worked in my case]

Since I am on Windows system. I did the following steps that resolved my problem.

  1. Run "Windows Powershell" in admin mode.

  2. Then I set the Execution Policy to AllSigned through this command Set-ExecutionPolicy AllSigned. After that press A and hit Enter.
    Screenshot 2024-02-17 220040

  3. Then I regenerated the GPG key and added that to git and also in my GitHub account.

  4. I went ahead and did the commit, it worked fine!
    Screenshot 2024-02-17 215713

My System Details:

  1. Windows 10 Pro v22H2 [Activated]
  2. Intel i5-3570K CPU Quad Core (Ivy Bridge codename)
  3. 8GB installed DDR3 RAM

Hope you may find this useful!

Regards!
Happy Coding

@usoro007
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@NirajanMahara
You saved the day and allowed me to get some rest! Thank you!

@danielfromCL
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Thanks for the help, worked for me! 🙌

@BakiVernes
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GOAT 🐐

@Impa10r
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Impa10r commented Mar 24, 2024

gpg --status-fd=2 -bsau F93581548CDBCCB7
[GNUPG:] KEY_CONSIDERED E4C9A7533D31D43B288E162FF93581548CDBCCB7 2
[GNUPG:] BEGIN_SIGNING H10

and it just hangs there.

Hello, did you find the solution? It obviously waits for the password. I am on Ubuntu and I had the same problem when creating the key, used some tricks from here. But now am stuck when trying to use the key for the first time. Can't believe this is so hard to do.

@hu-qi
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hu-qi commented Mar 24, 2024

I tried differents solutions:我尝试了不同的解决方案:

1.- Change the path in "git config --global gpg.program"1.- 更改“git config --global gpg.program”中的路径 2.- See if there were any misspelled variables 2.- 查看是否有任何拼写错误的变量 3.- echo "test" | gpg --clearsign 3.- 回显“测试” | gpg--clearsign

But they didn't work.但他们没有工作。

Finally the solution was run:最后运行解决方案:

git config --global gpg.program gpg

if you use gpg2, change gpg for gpg2如果您使用gpg2,请将gpg更改为gpg2

I hope this solution works for you我希望这个解决方案适合您

Thanks, It worked for me!

@zrajeev
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zrajeev commented Mar 25, 2024

On MacOS, I have to install pinentry-mac to enter passphrase

brew install pinentry-mac
echo "pinentry-program $(which pinentry-mac)" >> ~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf
killall gpg-agent

This is the true solution 👍

@bdangeb6tp
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bdangeb6tp commented Mar 27, 2024

What worked for me was slightly different than brew install pinentry-mac

I instead used reinstall since it was already installed.

brew reinstall pinentry-mac
echo "pinentry-program $(which pinentry-mac)" >> ~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf
killall gpg-agent

@JordanUnderwood12
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I was also having a similar problem, but now everything is good.

@Fuseteam
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Fuseteam commented Apr 10, 2024

gpg --status-fd=2 -bsau F93581548CDBCCB7
[GNUPG:] KEY_CONSIDERED E4C9A7533D31D43B288E162FF93581548CDBCCB7 2
[GNUPG:] BEGIN_SIGNING H10

and it just hangs there.

Hello, did you find the solution? It obviously waits for the password. I am on Ubuntu and I had the same problem when creating the key, used some tricks from here. But now am stuck when trying to use the key for the first time. Can't believe this is so hard to do.

i also ran into this, i managed to workaround it using this @NirajanMahara steps at https://gist.github.com/paolocarrasco/18ca8fe6e63490ae1be23e84a7039374?permalink_comment_id=3767413#gistcomment-3767413; by doing that it prompts for the password, after which it just works. i suppose there should be a way to configure gpg to prompt for a password properly

@saadazghour
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saadazghour commented Apr 10, 2024

I'm on Ubuntu, Thanks @NirajanMahara ,It's worked for me 👍

@MuhanguziDavid
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On MacOS, I have to install pinentry-mac to enter passphrase

brew install pinentry-mac
echo "pinentry-program $(which pinentry-mac)" >> ~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf
killall gpg-agent

Thank you!

@robrakaric
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My issue was that I had added the PGP key with my email, while my commits on the repo were signed with my GitHub-provided noreply email address.

To solve this issue, I had to run gpg --edit-key [your key] followed by gpg> adduid to add the second email address.

https://docs.github.com/en/authentication/managing-commit-signature-verification/associating-an-email-with-your-gpg-key

This worked for me! Thanks

@bitsector
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On MacOS, I have to install pinentry-mac to enter passphrase

brew install pinentry-mac
echo "pinentry-program $(which pinentry-mac)" >> ~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf
killall gpg-agent

This is the true solution 👍

This worked for me as well. Thanks @bdangeb6tp !!

@shink
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shink commented May 20, 2024

@NirajanMahara Thanks so much! It works for me.

@ksuderman
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After upgrading my OSX to Monterey it stoped to work without reason. The GIT_TRACE didn't help to much because everything was correctly set. In the end I reinstalled the GPG Sutie via brew with the command brew reinstall --cask gpg-suite and it fixed the issue.

Thanks @tmoreira2020 after trying all the other solutions Google led me to, this is the one that worked for me.

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