What Is PEM (Privacy Enhanced Mail) Encoding?

This section describes the PEM (Privacy Enhanced Mail) Encoding - An encoding schema defined in RFC 1421-1424, 1993, specification to encode an email with encryptions into a text message of printable characters.

What Is PEM? PEM (Privacy Enhanced Mail) is an encoding schema defined in RFC 1421-1424, 1993, specification to encode an email with encryptions into a text message of printable characters.

A PEM encoded email has 5 elements in this order:

Here is an example of PEM encoded email message:

-----BEGIN PRIVACY-ENHANCED MESSAGE-----
Proc-Type: 4,ENCRYPTED
Content-Domain: RFC822
DEK-Info: DES-CBC,BFF968AA74691AC1
Originator-Certificate:
 MIIBlTCCAScCAWUwDQYJKoZIhvcNAQECBQAwUTELMAkGA1UEBhMCVVMxIDAeBgNV
 BAoTF1JTQSBEYXRhIFNlY3VyaXR5LCBJbmMuMQ8wDQYDVQQLEwZCZXRhIDExDzAN
 BgNVBAsTBk5PVEFSWTAeFw05MTA5MDQxODM4MTdaFw05MzA5MDMxODM4MTZaMEUx
 CzAJBgNVBAYTAlVTMSAwHgYDVQQKExdSU0EgRGF0YSBTZWN1cml0eSwgSW5jLjEU
 MBIGA1UEAxMLVGVzdCBVc2VyIDEwWTAKBgRVCAEBAgICAANLADBIAkEAwHZHl7i+
 yJcqDtjJCowzTdBJrdAiLAnSC+CnnjOJELyuQiBgkGrgIh3j8/x0fM+YrsyF1u3F
 LZPVtzlndhYFJQIDAQABMA0GCSqGSIb3DQEBAgUAA1kACKr0PqphJYw1j+YPtcIq
 iWlFPuN5jJ79Khfg7ASFxskYkEMjRNZV/HZDZQEhtVaU7Jxfzs2wfX5byMp2X3U/
 5XUXGx7qusDgHQGs7Jk9W8CW1fuSWUgN4w==
Key-Info: RSA,
 I3rRIGXUGWAF8js5wCzRTkdhO34PTHdRZY9Tuvm03M+NM7fx6qc5udixps2Lng0+
 wGrtiUm/ovtKdinz6ZQ/aQ==
Issuer-Certificate:
 MIIB3DCCAUgCAQowDQYJKoZIhvcNAQECBQAwTzELMAkGA1UEBhMCVVMxIDAeBgNV
 BAoTF1JTQSBEYXRhIFNlY3VyaXR5LCBJbmMuMQ8wDQYDVQQLEwZCZXRhIDExDTAL
 BgNVBAsTBFRMQ0EwHhcNOTEwOTAxMDgwMDAwWhcNOTIwOTAxMDc1OTU5WjBRMQsw
 CQYDVQQGEwJVUzEgMB4GA1UEChMXUlNBIERhdGEgU2VjdXJpdHksIEluYy4xDzAN
 BgNVBAsTBkJldGEgMTEPMA0GA1UECxMGTk9UQVJZMHAwCgYEVQgBAQICArwDYgAw
 XwJYCsnp6lQCxYykNlODwutF/jMJ3kL+3PjYyHOwk+/9rLg6X65B/LD4bJHtO5XW
 cqAz/7R7XhjYCm0PcqbdzoACZtIlETrKrcJiDYoP+DkZ8k1gCk7hQHpbIwIDAQAB
 MA0GCSqGSIb3DQEBAgUAA38AAICPv4f9Gx/tY4+p+4DB7MV+tKZnvBoy8zgoMGOx
 dD2jMZ/3HsyWKWgSF0eH/AJB3qr9zosG47pyMnTf3aSy2nBO7CMxpUWRBcXUpE+x
 EREZd9++32ofGBIXaialnOgVUn0OzSYgugiQ077nJLDUj0hQehCizEs5wUJ35a5h
MIC-Info: RSA-MD5,RSA,
 UdFJR8u/TIGhfH65ieewe2lOW4tooa3vZCvVNGBZirf/7nrgzWDABz8w9NsXSexv
 AjRFbHoNPzBuxwmOAFeA0HJszL4yBvhG
Recipient-ID-Asymmetric:
 MFExCzAJBgNVBAYTAlVTMSAwHgYDVQQKExdSU0EgRGF0YSBTZWN1cml0eSwgSW5j
 LjEPMA0GA1UECxMGQmV0YSAxMQ8wDQYDVQQLEwZOT1RBUlk=,
 66
Key-Info: RSA,
 O6BS1ww9CTyHPtS3bMLD+L0hejdvX6Qv1HK2ds2sQPEaXhX8EhvVphHYTjwekdWv
 7x0Z3Jx2vTAhOYHMcqqCjA==

qeWlj/YJ2Uf5ng9yznPbtD0mYloSwIuV9FRYx+gzY+8iXd/NQrXHfi6/MhPfPF3d
jIqCJAxvld2xgqQimUzoS1a4r7kQQ5c/Iua4LqKeq3ciFzEv/MbZhA==
-----END PRIVACY-ENHANCED MESSAGE-----

As you can see those streams of printable characters, Base64 encoding is used wherever is needed to convert a byte stream into a text stream.

For more details of PEM encoding, read these RFCs:

Last update: 2013.

Table of Contents

 About This Book

 Cryptography Terminology

 Cryptography Basic Concepts

 Introduction to AES (Advanced Encryption Standard)

 Introduction to DES Algorithm

 DES Algorithm - Illustrated with Java Programs

 DES Algorithm Java Implementation

 DES Algorithm - Java Implementation in JDK JCE

 DES Encryption Operation Modes

 DES in Stream Cipher Modes

 PHP Implementation of DES - mcrypt

 Blowfish - 8-Byte Block Cipher

 Secret Key Generation and Management

 Cipher - Secret Key Encryption and Decryption

 Introduction of RSA Algorithm

 RSA Implementation using java.math.BigInteger Class

 Introduction of DSA (Digital Signature Algorithm)

 Java Default Implementation of DSA

 Private key and Public Key Pair Generation

 PKCS#8/X.509 Private/Public Encoding Standards

 Cipher - Public Key Encryption and Decryption

 MD5 Mesasge Digest Algorithm

 SHA1 Mesasge Digest Algorithm

 OpenSSL Introduction and Installation

 OpenSSL Generating and Managing RSA Keys

 OpenSSL Managing Certificates

 OpenSSL Generating and Signing CSR

 OpenSSL Validating Certificate Path

 "keytool" and "keystore" from JDK

 "OpenSSL" Signing CSR Generated by "keytool"

 Migrating Keys from "keystore" to "OpenSSL" Key Files

Certificate X.509 Standard and DER/PEM Formats

 X.509 Certificate Standard

 What Is DER (Distinguished Encoding Rules) Encoding?

What Is PEM (Privacy Enhanced Mail) Encoding?

 Certificate in PEM Format

 "keytool" Exporting Certificates in DER and PEM

 "OpenSSL" Viewing Certificates in DER and PEM

 "OpenSSL" Generating Certificates in DER and PEM

 "keytool" Viewing Certificates in DER and PEM

 "keytool" Importing Certificates in DER and PEM

 Migrating Keys from "OpenSSL" Key Files to "keystore"

 Using Certificates in IE (Internet Explorer)

 Using Certificates in Firefox

 Using Certificates in Google Chrome

 Outdated Tutorials

 References

 PDF Printing Version