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A keystore is a repository that stores the cryptographic keys and certificates that are used for various security purposes, such as encrypting sensitive information and for establishing trust between your server and outside parties that connect to your server. The usage of keys and certificates contained in a keystore are explained below.

Key pairs: According to public-key cryptography, a key pair (private key and the corresponding public key) is used for encrypting sensitive information and for authenticating the identity of parties that communicate with your server. For example, information that is encrypted in your server using the public key can only be decrypted using the corresponding private key. Therefore, if any party wants to decrypt this encrypted data, they should have the corresponding private key, which is usually kept as a secret (not publicly shared). 

Digital certificate: When there is a key pair, it is also necessary to have a digital certificate to verify the identity of the keys. Typically, the public key of a key pair is embedded in this digital certificate, which also contains additional information such as the owner, validity, etc. of the keys. For example, if an external party wants to verify the integrity of data or validate the identity of the signer (by validating the digital signature), it is necessary for them to have this digital certificate. 

Trusted certificates: To establish trust, the digital certificate containing the public key should be signed by a trusted certifying authority (CA). You can generate self-signed certificates for the public key (thereby creating your own certifying authority), or you can get the certificates signed by an external CA. Both types of trusted certificates can be effectively used depending on the sensitivity of the information that is protected by the keys. When the certificate is signed by a reputed CA, all the parties who trust this CA also trust the certificates signed by them.

Identity and Trust

The key pair and the CA-signed certificates in a keystore establishes two security functions in your server: The key pair with the digital certificate is an indication of identity and the CA-signed certificate provides trust to the identity. Since the public key is used to encrypt information, the keystore containing the corresponding private key should always be protected, as it can decrypt the sensitive information. Furthermore, the privacy of the private key is important as it represents its own identity and protects the integrity of data. However, the CA-signed digital certificates should be accessible to outside parties that require to decrypt and use the information.

To facilitate this requirement, the certificates must be copied to a separate keystore (called a Truststore), which can then be shared with outside parties. Therefore, in a typical setup, you will have one keystore for identity (containing the private key) that is protected, and a separate keystore for trust (containing CA certificates) that is shared with outside parties.

Setting up keystores in WSO2 SP

WSO2 SP uses keystores mainly for the following purposes:

  • Authenticating the communication over Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)/Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols
  • Communication over Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) when invoking Rest APIs.
  • Protecting sensitive information via Cipher Tool.

Default keystore settings in WSO2 products

WSO2 SP is shipped with the following default keystore files stored in the <SP_HOME>/resources/security/ directory.

  • wso2carbon.jks: This keystore contains a key pair and is used by default in your SP servers for all of the purposes explained above, except protecting sensitive information via Cipher tool. 
  • securevault.jks: This is the default keystore used by the secure vault to protect sensitive information via Cipher tool.
  • client-truststore.jks: This is the default trust store, which contains the trusted certificates of the keystore used in SSL communication.

By default, the following files of each SP profile refer to these keystores:

  • <SP_HOME>/wso2/<PROFILE>/bin/ file 

    This script is run when you start an SP server. It contains the following parameters, and makes references to the two files mentioned above by default.

    ParameterDefault ValueDescription
    keyStore"$CARBON_HOME/resources/security/wso2carbon.jks" \This specifies the path to the keystore to be used when running the SP server on a secure network.
    keyStorePassword"wso2carbon" \The password to access the keystore
    trustStore"$CARBON_HOME/resources/security/client-truststore.jks" \This specifies the path to the trust store to be used when running the server on a secure network.
    trustStorePassword"wso2carbon" \The password to access the trust store.
  • <SP_HOME>/conf/<PROFILE>/deployment.yaml file refers to the above keystore and trust store by default for the following configurations:
    • Listener configurations
      This specifies the key store to be used when WSO2 SP is receiving events via a secure network and the password to access the key store.
    • Databridge configurations
      This specifies the key store to be used when WSO2 SP is publishing events via databrige using a secure network, and the password to access the key store.
    • Secure vault configurations
      This specifies the key store to be used when you are configuring a secure vault to protect sensitive information.

It is recommended to replace this default keystore with a new keystore that has self-signed or CA signed certificates when the products are deployed in production environments. This is because wso2carbon.jks is available with open source WSO2 products, which means anyone can have access to the private key of the default keystore. 

Managing keystores

You can view the default keystores and truststores in the <SP_HOME>/resources/security/ directory. Once you create your own keystore, you can delete the default keystores, but you need to ensure that they are no longer referenced in any SP profile in the <SP_HOME>/wso2/<PROFILE>/bin/ file or the <SP_HOME>/conf/<PROFILE>/deployment.yaml file.

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