Certificate in PEM Format

This section describes what is certificate PEM (Privacy Enhanced Mail) format - A format uses PEM idea to convert a certificate in DER format to a message of printable characters. The conversion uses the Base64 encoding.

As you can see from the previous section, when applications generate X.509 certificates, they usually write them as DER files. Since DER files are binary files, they can not be included directly into emails.

In order to transfer certificate DER files easily in emails, the PEM encoding idea described in previous section was borrowed to encode a DER file into a text message of printable characters with the help of Base64 encoding. The result is a certificate file in PEM format with 3 elements in this order:

Here is an example of PEM encoded certificate:

-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----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-----END CERTIFICATE-----

Because PEM uses printable characters only, PEM is used as the most popular encoding format to store X.509 certificates to transfer them through emails.

PEM encoded certificate files are supported by almost all applications. "OpenSSL" and "keytool" support PEM encoded certificate files with no problem. See other sections below for test notes.

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