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Decrypting p7b email




I have something called a PEC email account in Italy. This is encrypted, certified email and it's useful for State/government documents and communication because unlike normal email it carries the same legal weight as a postal letter or something written and signed.

I have received an email the text of which says "I am sending you the document protocol", and attached there's a file called [date_of_file].pdf.p7b and another file called signature.xml.

So this would appear to be an encypted PDF document (I'd thought a p7b file was actually a certificate of some type) and the second XML file might be needed in some way.

The PEC portal doesn't know what to do with this. It can't open it or preview it.

The footer of the email says I should refer to an Italian website about encrypted email for information on how to view it but I can't find anything like that on there.

If I download the encrypted PDF file and try it in Adobe Reader I get an error that it hasn't been signed properly.

If I drag the document into emClient it doesn't know what to do with it and just opens a new message window with the file as an attachment.

I downloaded a piece of software called p7m viewer which claims to be able to open these. If I try, it just crashes and closes.

Does anyone have any idea how I can view the file?


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11 hours ago, MrPin said:

I'm no expert Marco, but it sounds a bit like PGP, where you decrypt it using the public key, which is probably the XML file.

That's what I'd have thought. But the XML file is human readable in full, and contains no key as such.

I am wondering if the private key itself is part of the PEC email account and the reason I'm having trouble opening the file is because I'm using the Webmail interface.

It can't be meant to be this difficult :)

I shall have a try at adding the email account to emClient and seeing if that manages to decrypt the attachment.

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