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What is PEM?


PEM is the draft Internet Privacy-Enhanced Mail standard, designed, proposed, but not yet officially adopted, by the Internet Activities Board to provide secure electronic mail over the Internet. Designed to work with RFC 822 e-mail formats, PEM includes encryption, authentication, and key management, and allows use of both public-key and secret-key cryptosystems. Multiple cryptographic tools are supported; for each mail message, the specific encryption algorithm, digital signature algorithm, hash function, and so on are specified in the header. PEM explicitly supports only a few cryptographic algorithms; others may be added later. DES in CBC mode is currently the only message encryption algorithm supported, and both RSA and DES are supported for key management. Public-key management in PEM is based on X.509 certificates.

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