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Who of us didn’t visit ebay, amazon to buy anything or his personal bank account to check it. Do you think that those sites are secure enough to put your personal data like (credit card number or bank account number, etc.,)?
Most of those sites use the Socket Layer (SSL) protocol to secure their Internet applications. SSL allows the data from a client, such as a Web browser, to be encrypted prior to transmission so that someone trying to sniff the data is unable to decipher it.
Many Java application servers and Web servers support the use of keystores for SSL configuration. If you’re building secure Java programs, learning to build a keystore is the first step.
A HTTP-based SSL connection is always initiated by the client using a URL starting with https:// instead of with http://. At the beginning of an SSL session, an SSL handshake is performed. This handshake produces the cryptographic parameters of the session. A simplified overview of how the SSL handshake is processed is shown in the diagram below.
This is in short how it works:
- A browser requests a secure page (usually https://).
- The web server sends its public key with its certificate.
- The browser checks that the certificate was issued by a trusted party (usually a trusted root CA), that the certificate is still valid and that the certificate is related to the site contacted.
- The browser then uses the public key, to encrypt a random symmetric encryption key and sends it to the server with the encrypted URL required as well as other encrypted http data.
- The web server decrypts the symmetric encryption key using its private key and uses the symmetric key to decrypt the URL and http data.
- The web server sends back the requested html document and http data encrypted with the symmetric key.
- The browser decrypts the http data and html document using the symmetric key and displays the information.
The world of SSL has, essentially, three types of certificates: private keys, public keys (also called public certificates or site certificates), and root certificates.
The private key contains the identity information of the server, along with a key value. It should keep this key safe and protected by password because it’s used to negotiate the hash during the handshake. It can be used by someone to decrypt the traffic and get your personal information. It like leaving your house key in the door lock.
The public certificate (public key) is the portion that is presented to a client, it likes your personal passport when you show in the Airport. The public certificate, tightly associated to the private key, is created from the private key using a Certificate Signing Request (CSR). After you create a private key, you create a CSR, which is sent to your Certificate Authority (CA). The CA returns a signed certificate, which has information about the server identity and about the CA.
Root CA Certificate is a CA Certificate which is simply a Self-signed Certificate. This certificate represents a entity which issues certificate and is known as Certificate Authority or the CA such as VeriSign, Thawte, etc.
Companies who will sign certificates for you such as VeriSign, Thawte, Commodo, GetTrust. Also, many companies and institutions act as their own CA, either by building a complete implementation from scratch, or by using an open source option, such as OpenSSL.
When a server and client establish an SSL connection, a certificate is presented to the client; the client should determine whether to trust this certificate, a process called the certificate chain. The client examines the issuer of a certificate, searches its list of trusted root certificates, and compares the issuer on the presented certificate to the subjects of the trusted certificates.
If a match is found, the connection proceeds. If not, the Web browsers may pop up a dialog box, warning you that it cannot trust the certificate and offering the option to trust the certificate.
Java Keytool is a key and certificate management utility. It allows users to manage their own public/private key pairs and certificates. Java Keytool stores the keys and certificates in what is called a keystore. It protects private keys with a password.
Each certificate in a Java keystore is associated with a unique alias. When creating a Java keystore you will first create the .jks file that will initially only contain the private key, then generate a CSR. Then you will import the certificate to the keystore including any root certificates.
Create Keystore, Keys and Certificate Requests
- Generate a Java keystore and key pair
keytool -genkey -alias mydomain -keyalg RSA -keystore keystore.jks -storepass password
- Generate a certificate signing request (CSR) for an existing Java keystore
keytool -certreq -alias mydomain -keystore keystore.jks -storepass password -file mydomain.csr
- Generate a keystore and self-signed certificate
keytool -genkey -keyalg RSA -alias selfsigned -keystore keystore.jks -storepass password -validity 360
- Import a root or intermediate CA certificate to an existing Java keystore
keytool -import -trustcacerts -alias root -file Thawte.crt -keystore keystore.jks -storepass password
keytool -import -trustcacerts -alias mydomain -file mydomain.crt -keystore keystore.jks -storepass password
- Export a certificate from a keystore
keytool -export -alias mydomain -file mydomain.crt -keystore keystore.jks -storepass password
- Check a stand-alone certificate
keytool -printcert -v -file mydomain.crt
- Check which certificates are in a Java keystore
keytool -list -v -keystore keystore.jks -storepass password
- Check a particular keystore entry using an alias
keytool -list -v -keystore keystore.jks -storepass password -alias mydomain
- Delete a certificate from a Java Keytool keystore
keytool -delete -alias mydomain -keystore keystore.jks -storepass password
- Change a Java keystore password
keytool -storepasswd -new new_storepass -keystore keystore.jks -storepass password
- Change a private key password
keytool -keypasswd -alias client -keypass old_password -new new_password -keystore client.jks -storepass password
- Generate new keystore and self-signed certificateusing this command, you will prompt to enter specific information such as user name, organization unit, company and location.
keytool -genkey -alias tomcat -keyalg RSA -keystore /home/ashraf/Desktop/JavaCodeGeek/keystore.jks -validity 360
- You can list the certificate details you just created using this command
keytool -list -keystore /home/ashraf/Desktop/JavaCodeGeek/keystore.jks
- Download Tomcat 7
- Configure Tomcat’s server to support for SSL or https connection. Adding a connector element in Tomcat\conf\server.xml
<Connector port="8443" maxThreads="150" scheme="https" secure="true" SSLEnabled="true" keystoreFile="/home/ashraf/Desktop/JavaCodeGeek/.keystore" keystorePass="password" clientAuth="false" keyAlias="tomcat" sslProtocol="TLS" />
- Start Tomcat and go tohttps://localhost:8443/, you will find the following security issue where the browser will present untrusted error messages. In the case of e-commerce, such error messages result in immediate lack of confidence in the website and organizations risk losing confidence and business from the majority of consumers, that’s normal as your certificate isn’t signed yet by CA such as Thawte or Verisign who will verify the identity of the requester and issue a signed certificate.
- You can click Proceed anyway till you receive you signed certificate.