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Introduction to Public Key Technology and the Federal PKI Infrastructure



D. Richard Kuhn, Vincent C. Hu, William Polk, Shu-jen H. Chang


This publication was developed to assist agency decision-makers in determining if a PKI is appropriate for their agency, and how PKI services can be deployed most effectively within a Federal agency. It is intended to provide an overview of PKI functions and their applications. Additional documentation will be required to fully analyze the costs and benefits of PKI systems for agency use, and to develop plans for their implementation. This document provides a starting point and references to more comprehensive publications.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 800-32
Report Number


certificates, digital signatures, PKI, public key infrastructure


Kuhn, D. , Hu, V. , Polk, W. and Chang, S. (2001), Introduction to Public Key Technology and the Federal PKI Infrastructure, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 26, 2024)


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Created February 25, 2001, Updated October 12, 2021