Public Key Cryptography Standards

What Does Public Key Cryptography Standards Mean?

Public key cryptography standards (PKCS) are a group of specifications developed with the aim of accelerating the deployment of algorithms featuring two separate keys – one private and one public.


PKCS were first developed by RSA Laboratories with the cooperation of security developers from around the world.

The first published release of PKCS was in 1991 as a result of the cooperation of early adaptors. The standards promote the use of cryptography techniques such as the RSA algorithm and the Schnorr signature.

Techopedia Explains Public Key Cryptography Standards

PKCS are a group of non-vendor dependent standards that are aimed to foster better secure communications through the use of extensive cryptography.

PKCS did not become industry standards initially because RSA retained control over them, but many of the standards were adapted by other working groups.

The standards were developed by RSA with the cooperation of industry partners which included Apple, Microsoft, Lotus, Sun, DEC and MIT.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…