Enhancing e-mail security with S/MIME (What is MIME? sidebar)

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What is MIME?

If S/MIME is a secure version of MIME, what is MIME and what problems does it solve?

E-mail messages were originally limited to plain text. MIME was created to meet the needs of e-mail users who wanted to send information that was something other than plain text. While it is common now to send file attachments, programs, and pictures by e-mail, doing so was once considered a "wish list" item. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) took up this problem in the early 1990s and devised methods to encode non-text e-mail content as a series of text characters. They used the existing text-based e-mail system to send non-text information, by making the information appear as if it were a text message.

For further information about MIME, here is a good Mime Information Page.