Man Pages

certutil(1) - phpMan certutil(1) - phpMan

Command: man perldoc info search(apropos)  

CERTUTIL(1)                   NSS Security Tools                   CERTUTIL(1)

       certutil - Manage keys and certificate in both NSS databases and other NSS tokens

       certutil [options] [[arguments]]

       This documentation is still work in progress. Please contribute to the initial review in Mozilla NSS bug

       The Certificate Database Tool, certutil, is a command-line utility that can create and modify certificate and
       key databases. It can specifically list, generate, modify, or delete certificates, create or change the
       password, generate new public and private key pairs, display the contents of the key database, or delete key
       pairs within the key database.

       Certificate issuance, part of the key and certificate management process, requires that keys and certificates
       be created in the key database. This document discusses certificate and key database management. For
       information on the security module database management, see the modutil manpage.

       Running certutil always requires one and only one command option to specify the type of certificate operation.
       Each command option may take zero or more arguments. The command option -H will list all the command options
       and their relevant arguments.

       Command Options

           Add an existing certificate to a certificate database. The certificate database should already exist; if
           one is not present, this command option will initialize one by default.

           Run a series of commands from the specified batch file. This requires the -i argument.

           Create a new binary certificate file from a binary certificate request file. Use the -i argument to specify
           the certificate request file. If this argument is not used, certutil prompts for a filename.

           Delete a certificate from the certificate database.

           Change the database nickname of a certificate.

           Add an email certificate to the certificate database.

           Delete a private key from a key database. Specify the key to delete with the -n argument. Specify the
           database from which to delete the key with the -d argument. Use the -k argument to specify explicitly
           whether to delete a DSA, RSA, or ECC key. If you don't use the -k argument, the option looks for an RSA key
           matching the specified nickname.

           When you delete keys, be sure to also remove any certificates associated with those keys from the
           certificate database, by using -D. Some smart cards do not let you remove a public key you have generated.
           In such a case, only the private key is deleted from the key pair. You can display the public key with the
           command certutil -K -h tokenname.

           Generate a new public and private key pair within a key database. The key database should already exist; if
           one is not present, this command option will initialize one by default. Some smart cards can store only one
           key pair. If you create a new key pair for such a card, the previous pair is overwritten.

           Display a list of the command options and arguments.

           List the key ID of keys in the key database. A key ID is the modulus of the RSA key or the publicValue of
           the DSA key. IDs are displayed in hexadecimal ("0x" is not shown).

           List all the certificates, or display information about a named certificate, in a certificate database. Use
           the -h tokenname argument to specify the certificate database on a particular hardware or software token.

           Modify a certificate's trust attributes using the values of the -t argument.

           Create new certificate and key databases.

           Print the certificate chain.

           Create a certificate request file that can be submitted to a Certificate Authority (CA) for processing into
           a finished certificate. Output defaults to standard out unless you use -o output-file argument. Use the -a
           argument to specify ASCII output.

           Create an individual certificate and add it to a certificate database.

           Reset the key database or token.

           List all available modules or print a single named module.

           Check the validity of a certificate and its attributes.

           Change the password to a key database.

           Merge two databases into one.

           Upgrade an old database and merge it into a new database. This is used to migrate legacy NSS databases
           (cert8.db and key3.db) into the newer SQLite databases (cert9.db and key4.db).


       Arguments modify a command option and are usually lower case, numbers, or symbols.

           Use ASCII format or allow the use of ASCII format for input or output. This formatting follows RFC 1113.
           For certificate requests, ASCII output defaults to standard output unless redirected.

       -b validity-time
           Specify a time at which a certificate is required to be valid. Use when checking certificate validity with
           the -V option. The format of the validity-time argument is YYMMDDHHMMSS[+HHMM|-HHMM|Z], which allows
           offsets to be set relative to the validity end time. Specifying seconds (SS) is optional. When specifying
           an explicit time, use a Z at the end of the term, YYMMDDHHMMSSZ, to close it. When specifying an offset
           time, use YYMMDDHHMMSS+HHMM or YYMMDDHHMMSS-HHMM for adding or subtracting time, respectively.

           If this option is not used, the validity check defaults to the current system time.

       -c issuer
           Identify the certificate of the CA from which a new certificate will derive its authenticity. Use the exact
           nickname or alias of the CA certificate, or use the CA's email address. Bracket the issuer string with
           quotation marks if it contains spaces.

       -d [prefix]directory
           Specify the database directory containing the certificate and key database files.

           certutil supports two types of databases: the legacy security databases (cert8.db, key3.db, and secmod.db)
           and new SQLite databases (cert9.db, key4.db, and pkcs11.txt).

           NSS recognizes the following prefixes:

           ?   sql: requests the newer database

           ?   dbm: requests the legacy database

           If no prefix is specified the default type is retrieved from NSS_DEFAULT_DB_TYPE. If NSS_DEFAULT_DB_TYPE is
           not set then dbm: is the default.

       --dump-ext-val OID
           For single cert, print binary DER encoding of extension OID.

           Check a certificate's signature during the process of validating a certificate.

       --email email-address
           Specify the email address of a certificate to list. Used with the -L command option.

       --extGeneric OID:critical-flag:filename[,OID:critical-flag:filename]...
           Add one or multiple extensions that certutil cannot encode yet, by loading their encodings from external

           ?   OID (example):

           ?   critical-flag: critical or not-critical

           ?   filename: full path to a file containing an encoded extension

       -f password-file
           Specify a file that will automatically supply the password to include in a certificate or to access a
           certificate database. This is a plain-text file containing one password. Be sure to prevent unauthorized
           access to this file.

       -g keysize
           Set a key size to use when generating new public and private key pairs. The minimum is 512 bits and the
           maximum is 16384 bits. The default is 2048 bits. Any size between the minimum and maximum is allowed.

       -h tokenname
           Specify the name of a token to use or act on. If not specified the default token is the internal database

       -i input_file
           Pass an input file to the command. Depending on the command option, an input file can be a specific
           certificate, a certificate request file, or a batch file of commands.

       -k key-type-or-id
           Specify the type or specific ID of a key.

           The valid key type options are rsa, dsa, ec, or all. The default value is rsa. Specifying the type of key
           can avoid mistakes caused by duplicate nicknames. Giving a key type generates a new key pair; giving the ID
           of an existing key reuses that key pair (which is required to renew certificates).

           Display detailed information when validating a certificate with the -V option.

       -m serial-number
           Assign a unique serial number to a certificate being created. This operation should be performed by a CA.
           If no serial number is provided a default serial number is made from the current time. Serial numbers are
           limited to integers

       -n nickname
           Specify the nickname of a certificate or key to list, create, add to a database, modify, or validate.
           Bracket the nickname string with quotation marks if it contains spaces.

       -o output-file
           Specify the output file name for new certificates or binary certificate requests. Bracket the output-file
           string with quotation marks if it contains spaces. If this argument is not used the output destination
           defaults to standard output.

       -P dbPrefix
           Specify the prefix used on the certificate and key database file. This argument is provided to support
           legacy servers. Most applications do not use a database prefix.

       -p phone
           Specify a contact telephone number to include in new certificates or certificate requests. Bracket this
           string with quotation marks if it contains spaces.

       -q pqgfile or curve-name
           Read an alternate PQG value from the specified file when generating DSA key pairs. If this argument is not
           used, certutil generates its own PQG value. PQG files are created with a separate DSA utility.

           Elliptic curve name is one of the ones from nistp256, nistp384, nistp521, curve25519.

           If a token is available that supports more curves, the foolowing curves are supported as well: sect163k1,
           nistk163, sect163r1, sect163r2, nistb163,  sect193r1, sect193r2, sect233k1, nistk233, sect233r1, nistb233,
           sect239k1, sect283k1, nistk283, sect283r1, nistb283, sect409k1, nistk409, sect409r1, nistb409,  sect571k1,
           nistk571, sect571r1, nistb571, secp160k1, secp160r1, secp160r2, secp192k1, secp192r1, nistp192,  secp224k1,
           secp224r1, nistp224, secp256k1, secp256r1, secp384r1, secp521r1, prime192v1, prime192v2, prime192v3,
           prime239v1, prime239v2, prime239v3, c2pnb163v1, c2pnb163v2, c2pnb163v3, c2pnb176v1, c2tnb191v1, c2tnb191v2,
           c2tnb191v3, c2pnb208w1, c2tnb239v1, c2tnb239v2, c2tnb239v3, c2pnb272w1, c2pnb304w1, c2tnb359w1, c2pnb368w1,
           c2tnb431r1, secp112r1, secp112r2, secp128r1, secp128r2, sect113r1, sect113r2, sect131r1, sect131r2

           Display a certificate's binary DER encoding when listing information about that certificate with the -L

       -s subject
           Identify a particular certificate owner for new certificates or certificate requests. Bracket this string
           with quotation marks if it contains spaces. The subject identification format follows RFC #1485.

       -t trustargs
           Specify the trust attributes to modify in an existing certificate or to apply to a certificate when
           creating it or adding it to a database. There are three available trust categories for each certificate,
           expressed in the order SSL, email, object signing for each trust setting. In each category position, use
           none, any, or all of the attribute codes:

           ?   p - Valid peer

           ?   P - Trusted peer (implies p)

           ?   c - Valid CA

           ?   C - Trusted CA (implies c)

           ?   T - trusted CA for client authentication (ssl server only)

           The attribute codes for the categories are separated by commas, and the entire set of attributes enclosed
           by quotation marks. For example:

           -t "TC,C,T"

           Use the -L option to see a list of the current certificates and trust attributes in a certificate database.

           Note that the output of the -L option may include "u" flag, which means that there is a private key
           associated with the certificate. It is a dynamic flag and you cannot set it with certutil.

       -u certusage
           Specify a usage context to apply when validating a certificate with the -V option.

           The contexts are the following:

           ?   C (as an SSL client)

           ?   V (as an SSL server)

           ?   L (as an SSL CA)

           ?   A (as Any CA)

           ?   Y (Verify CA)

           ?   S (as an email signer)

           ?   R (as an email recipient)

           ?   O (as an OCSP status responder)

           ?   J (as an object signer)

       -v valid-months
           Set the number of months a new certificate will be valid. The validity period begins at the current system
           time unless an offset is added or subtracted with the -w option. If this argument is not used, the default
           validity period is three months.

       -w offset-months
           Set an offset from the current system time, in months, for the beginning of a certificate's validity
           period. Use when creating the certificate or adding it to a database. Express the offset in integers, using
           a minus sign (-) to indicate a negative offset. If this argument is not used, the validity period begins at
           the current system time. The length of the validity period is set with the -v argument.

           Force the key and certificate database to open in read-write mode. This is used with the -U and -L command

           Use certutil to generate the signature for a certificate being created or added to a database, rather than
           obtaining a signature from a separate CA.

       -y exp
           Set an alternate exponent value to use in generating a new RSA public key for the database, instead of the
           default value of 65537. The available alternate values are 3 and 17.

       -z noise-file
           Read a seed value from the specified file to generate a new private and public key pair. This argument
           makes it possible to use hardware-generated seed values or manually create a value from the keyboard. The
           minimum file size is 20 bytes.

       -Z hashAlg
           Specify the hash algorithm to use with the -C, -S or -R command options. Possible keywords:

           ?   MD2

           ?   MD4

           ?   MD5

           ?   SHA1

           ?   SHA224

           ?   SHA256

           ?   SHA384

           ?   SHA512

       -0 SSO_password
           Set a site security officer password on a token.

       -1 | --keyUsage keyword,keyword
           Set an X.509 V3 Certificate Type Extension in the certificate. There are several available keywords:

           ?   digitalSignature

           ?   nonRepudiation

           ?   keyEncipherment

           ?   dataEncipherment

           ?   keyAgreement

           ?   certSigning

           ?   crlSigning

           ?   critical

           Add a basic constraint extension to a certificate that is being created or added to a database. This
           extension supports the certificate chain verification process.  certutil prompts for the certificate
           constraint extension to select.

           X.509 certificate extensions are described in RFC 5280.

           Add an authority key ID extension to a certificate that is being created or added to a database. This
           extension supports the identification of a particular certificate, from among multiple certificates
           associated with one subject name, as the correct issuer of a certificate. The Certificate Database Tool
           will prompt you to select the authority key ID extension.

           X.509 certificate extensions are described in RFC 5280.

           Add a CRL distribution point extension to a certificate that is being created or added to a database. This
           extension identifies the URL of a certificate's associated certificate revocation list (CRL).  certutil
           prompts for the URL.

           X.509 certificate extensions are described in RFC 5280.

       -5 | --nsCertType keyword,keyword
           Add an X.509 V3 certificate type extension to a certificate that is being created or added to the database.
           There are several available keywords:

           ?   sslClient

           ?   sslServer

           ?   smime

           ?   objectSigning

           ?   sslCA

           ?   smimeCA

           ?   objectSigningCA

           ?   critical

           X.509 certificate extensions are described in RFC 5280.

       -6 | --extKeyUsage keyword,keyword
           Add an extended key usage extension to a certificate that is being created or added to the database.
           Several keywords are available:

           ?   serverAuth

           ?   clientAuth

           ?   codeSigning

           ?   emailProtection

           ?   timeStamp

           ?   ocspResponder

           ?   stepUp

           ?   msTrustListSign

           ?   critical

           X.509 certificate extensions are described in RFC 5280.

       -7 emailAddrs
           Add a comma-separated list of email addresses to the subject alternative name extension of a certificate or
           certificate request that is being created or added to the database. Subject alternative name extensions are
           described in Section of RFC 3280.

       -8 dns-names
           Add a comma-separated list of DNS names to the subject alternative name extension of a certificate or
           certificate request that is being created or added to the database. Subject alternative name extensions are
           described in Section of RFC 3280.

           Add the Authority Information Access extension to the certificate. X.509 certificate extensions are
           described in RFC 5280.

           Add the Subject Information Access extension to the certificate. X.509 certificate extensions are described
           in RFC 5280.

           Add the Certificate Policies extension to the certificate. X.509 certificate extensions are described in
           RFC 5280.

           Add the Policy Mappings extension to the certificate. X.509 certificate extensions are described in RFC

           Add the Policy Constraints extension to the certificate. X.509 certificate extensions are described in RFC

           Add the Inhibit Any Policy Access extension to the certificate. X.509 certificate extensions are described
           in RFC 5280.

           Add the Subject Key ID extension to the certificate. X.509 certificate extensions are described in RFC

           Add a Name Constraint extension to the certificate. X.509 certificate extensions are described in RFC 5280.

       --extSAN type:name[,type:name]...
           Create a Subject Alt Name extension with one or multiple names.

           -type: directory, dn, dns, edi, ediparty, email, ip, ipaddr, other, registerid, rfc822, uri, x400, x400addr

           Use empty password when creating new certificate database with -N.

       --keyAttrFlags attrflags
           PKCS #11 key Attributes. Comma separated list of key attribute flags, selected from the following list of
           choices: {token | session} {public | private} {sensitive | insensitive} {modifiable | unmodifiable}
           {extractable | unextractable}

       --keyOpFlagsOn opflags, --keyOpFlagsOff opflags
           PKCS #11 key Operation Flags. Comma separated list of one or more of the following: {token | session}
           {public | private} {sensitive | insensitive} {modifiable | unmodifiable} {extractable | unextractable}

       --new-n nickname
           A new nickname, used when renaming a certificate.

       --source-dir certdir
           Identify the certificate database directory to upgrade.

       --source-prefix certdir
           Give the prefix of the certificate and key databases to upgrade.

       --upgrade-id uniqueID
           Give the unique ID of the database to upgrade.

       --upgrade-token-name name
           Set the name of the token to use while it is being upgraded.

       -@ pwfile
           Give the name of a password file to use for the database being upgraded.

       Most of the command options in the examples listed here have more arguments available. The arguments included
       in these examples are the most common ones or are used to illustrate a specific scenario. Use the -H option to
       show the complete list of arguments for each command option.

       Creating New Security Databases

       Certificates, keys, and security modules related to managing certificates are stored in three related

       ?   cert8.db or cert9.db

       ?   key3.db or key4.db

       ?   secmod.db or pkcs11.txt

       These databases must be created before certificates or keys can be generated.

           certutil -N -d [sql:]directory

       Creating a Certificate Request

       A certificate request contains most or all of the information that is used to generate the final certificate.
       This request is submitted separately to a certificate authority and is then approved by some mechanism
       (automatically or by human review). Once the request is approved, then the certificate is generated.

           $ certutil -R -k key-type-or-id [-q pqgfile|curve-name] -g key-size -s subject [-h tokenname] -d [sql:]directory [-p phone] [-o output-file] [-a]

       The -R command options requires four arguments:

       ?   -k to specify either the key type to generate or, when renewing a certificate, the existing key pair to use

       ?   -g to set the keysize of the key to generate

       ?   -s to set the subject name of the certificate

       ?   -d to give the security database directory

       The new certificate request can be output in ASCII format (-a) or can be written to a specified file (-o).

       For example:

           $ certutil -R -k rsa -g 1024 -s "CN=John Smith,O=Example Corp,L=Mountain View,ST=California,C=US" -d sql:$HOME/nssdb -p 650-555-0123 -a -o cert.cer

           Generating key.  This may take a few moments...

       Creating a Certificate

       A valid certificate must be issued by a trusted CA. This can be done by specifying a CA certificate (-c) that
       is stored in the certificate database. If a CA key pair is not available, you can create a self-signed
       certificate using the -x argument with the -S command option.

           $ certutil -S -k rsa|dsa|ec -n certname -s subject [-c issuer |-x] -t trustargs -d [sql:]directory [-m serial-number] [-v valid-months] [-w offset-months] [-p phone] [-1] [-2] [-3] [-4] [-5 keyword] [-6 keyword] [-7 emailAddress] [-8 dns-names] [--extAIA] [--extSIA] [--extCP] [--extPM] [--extPC] [--extIA] [--extSKID]

       The series of numbers and --ext* options set certificate extensions that can be added to the certificate when
       it is generated by the CA. Interactive prompts will result.

       For example, this creates a self-signed certificate:

           $ certutil -S -s "CN=Example CA" -n my-ca-cert -x -t "C,C,C" -1 -2 -5 -m 3650

       The interative prompts for key usage and whether any extensions are critical and responses have been ommitted
       for brevity.

       From there, new certificates can reference the self-signed certificate:

           $ certutil -S -s "CN=My Server Cert" -n my-server-cert -c "my-ca-cert" -t ",," -1 -5 -6 -8 -m 730

       Generating a Certificate from a Certificate Request

       When a certificate request is created, a certificate can be generated by using the request and then referencing
       a certificate authority signing certificate (the issuer specified in the -c argument). The issuing certificate
       must be in the certificate database in the specified directory.

           certutil -C -c issuer -i cert-request-file -o output-file [-m serial-number] [-v valid-months] [-w offset-months] -d [sql:]directory [-1] [-2] [-3] [-4] [-5 keyword] [-6 keyword] [-7 emailAddress] [-8 dns-names]

       For example:

           $ certutil -C -c "my-ca-cert" -i /home/certs/cert.req -o cert.cer -m 010 -v 12 -w 1 -d sql:$HOME/nssdb -1 nonRepudiation,dataEncipherment -5 sslClient -6 clientAuth -7

       Listing Certificates

       The -L command option lists all of the certificates listed in the certificate database. The path to the
       directory (-d) is required.

           $ certutil -L -d sql:/home/my/sharednssdb

           Certificate Nickname                                         Trust Attributes

           CA Administrator of Instance pki-ca1's Example Domain ID     u,u,u
           TPS Administrator's Example Domain ID                        u,u,u
           Google Internet Authority                                    ,,
           Certificate Authority - Example Domain                       CT,C,C

       Using additional arguments with -L can return and print the information for a single, specific certificate. For
       example, the -n argument passes the certificate name, while the -a argument prints the certificate in ASCII

           $ certutil -L -d sql:$HOME/nssdb -a -n my-ca-cert
           -----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
           -----END CERTIFICATE-----

       For a human-readable display

           $ certutil -L -d sql:$HOME/nssdb -n my-ca-cert
                   Version: 3 (0x2)
                   Serial Number: 3650 (0xe42)
                   Signature Algorithm: PKCS #1 SHA-1 With RSA Encryption
                   Issuer: "CN=Example CA"
                       Not Before: Wed Mar 13 19:10:29 2013
                       Not After : Thu Jun 13 19:10:29 2013
                   Subject: "CN=Example CA"
                   Subject Public Key Info:
                       Public Key Algorithm: PKCS #1 RSA Encryption
                       RSA Public Key:
                           Exponent: 65537 (0x10001)
                   Signed Extensions:
                       Name: Certificate Type
                       Data: none

                       Name: Certificate Basic Constraints
                       Data: Is a CA with no maximum path length.

                       Name: Certificate Key Usage
                       Critical: True
                       Usages: Certificate Signing

               Signature Algorithm: PKCS #1 SHA-1 With RSA Encryption
               Fingerprint (MD5):
               Fingerprint (SHA1):

               Certificate Trust Flags:
                   SSL Flags:
                       Valid CA
                       Trusted CA
                   Email Flags:
                       Valid CA
                       Trusted CA
                   Object Signing Flags:
                       Valid CA
                       Trusted CA

       Listing Keys

       Keys are the original material used to encrypt certificate data. The keys generated for certificates are stored
       separately, in the key database.

       To list all keys in the database, use the -K command option and the (required) -d argument to give the path to
       the directory.

           $ certutil -K -d sql:$HOME/nssdb
           certutil: Checking token "NSS Certificate DB" in slot "NSS User Private Key and Certificate Services                  "
           < 0> rsa      455a6673bde9375c2887ec8bf8016b3f9f35861d   Thawte Freemail Member's Thawte Consulting (Pty) Ltd. ID
           < 1> rsa      40defeeb522ade11090eacebaaf1196a172127df   Example Domain Administrator Cert
           < 2> rsa      1d0b06f44f6c03842f7d4f4a1dc78b3bcd1b85a5   John Smith user cert

       There are ways to narrow the keys listed in the search results:

       ?   To return a specific key, use the -nname argument with the name of the key.

       ?   If there are multiple security devices loaded, then the -htokenname argument can search a specific token or
           all tokens.

       ?   If there are multiple key types available, then the -kkey-type argument can search a specific type of key,
           like RSA, DSA, or ECC.

       Listing Security Modules

       The devices that can be used to store certificates -- both internal databases and external devices like smart
       cards -- are recognized and used by loading security modules. The -U command option lists all of the security
       modules listed in the secmod.db database. The path to the directory (-d) is required.

           $ certutil -U -d sql:/home/my/sharednssdb

               slot: NSS User Private Key and Certificate Services
              token: NSS Certificate DB

               slot: NSS Internal Cryptographic Services
              token: NSS Generic Crypto Services

       Adding Certificates to the Database

       Existing certificates or certificate requests can be added manually to the certificate database, even if they
       were generated elsewhere. This uses the -A command option.

           certutil -A -n certname -t trustargs -d [sql:]directory [-a] [-i input-file]

       For example:

           $ certutil -A -n "CN=My SSL Certificate" -t ",," -d sql:/home/my/sharednssdb -i /home/example-certs/cert.cer

       A related command option, -E, is used specifically to add email certificates to the certificate database. The
       -E command has the same arguments as the -A command. The trust arguments for certificates have the format
       SSL,S/MIME,Code-signing, so the middle trust settings relate most to email certificates (though the others can
       be set). For example:

           $ certutil -E -n "CN=John Smith Email Cert" -t ",P," -d sql:/home/my/sharednssdb -i /home/example-certs/email.cer

       Deleting Certificates to the Database

       Certificates can be deleted from a database using the -D option. The only required options are to give the
       security database directory and to identify the certificate nickname.

           certutil -D -d [sql:]directory -n "nickname"

       For example:

           $ certutil -D -d sql:/home/my/sharednssdb -n "my-ssl-cert"

       Validating Certificates

       A certificate contains an expiration date in itself, and expired certificates are easily rejected. However,
       certificates can also be revoked before they hit their expiration date. Checking whether a certificate has been
       revoked requires validating the certificate. Validation can also be used to ensure that the certificate is only
       used for the purposes it was initially issued for. Validation is carried out by the -V command option.

           certutil -V -n certificate-name [-b time] [-e] [-u cert-usage] -d [sql:]directory

       For example, to validate an email certificate:

           $ certutil -V -n "John Smith's Email Cert" -e -u S,R -d sql:/home/my/sharednssdb

       Modifying Certificate Trust Settings

       The trust settings (which relate to the operations that a certificate is allowed to be used for) can be changed
       after a certificate is created or added to the database. This is especially useful for CA certificates, but it
       can be performed for any type of certificate.

           certutil -M -n certificate-name -t trust-args -d [sql:]directory

       For example:

           $ certutil -M -n "My CA Certificate" -d sql:/home/my/sharednssdb -t "CT,CT,CT"

       Printing the Certificate Chain

       Certificates can be issued in chains because every certificate authority itself has a certificate; when a CA
       issues a certificate, it essentially stamps that certificate with its own fingerprint. The -O prints the full
       chain of a certificate, going from the initial CA (the root CA) through ever intermediary CA to the actual
       certificate. For example, for an email certificate with two CAs in the chain:

           $ certutil -d sql:/home/my/sharednssdb -O -n ""
           "Builtin Object Token:Thawte Personal Freemail CA" [,CN=Thawte Personal Freemail CA,OU=Certification Services Division,O=Thawte Consulting,L=Cape Town,ST=Western Cape,C=ZA]

             "Thawte Personal Freemail Issuing CA - Thawte Consulting" [CN=Thawte Personal Freemail Issuing CA,O=Thawte Consulting (Pty) Ltd.,C=ZA]

               "(null)" [,CN=Thawte Freemail Member]

       Resetting a Token

       The device which stores certificates -- both external hardware devices and internal software databases -- can
       be blanked and reused. This operation is performed on the device which stores the data, not directly on the
       security databases, so the location must be referenced through the token name (-h) as well as any directory
       path. If there is no external token used, the default value is internal.

           certutil -T -d [sql:]directory -h token-name -0 security-officer-password

       Many networks have dedicated personnel who handle changes to security tokens (the security officer). This
       person must supply the password to access the specified token. For example:

           $ certutil -T -d sql:/home/my/sharednssdb -h nethsm -0 secret

       Upgrading or Merging the Security Databases

       Many networks or applications may be using older BerkeleyDB versions of the certificate database (cert8.db).
       Databases can be upgraded to the new SQLite version of the database (cert9.db) using the --upgrade-merge
       command option or existing databases can be merged with the new cert9.db databases using the ---merge command.

       The --upgrade-merge command must give information about the original database and then use the standard
       arguments (like -d) to give the information about the new databases. The command also requires information that
       the tool uses for the process to upgrade and write over the original database.

           certutil --upgrade-merge -d [sql:]directory [-P dbprefix] --source-dir directory --source-prefix dbprefix --upgrade-id id --upgrade-token-name name [-@ password-file]

       For example:

           $ certutil --upgrade-merge -d sql:/home/my/sharednssdb --source-dir /opt/my-app/alias/ --source-prefix serverapp- --upgrade-id 1 --upgrade-token-name internal

       The --merge command only requires information about the location of the original database; since it doesn't
       change the format of the database, it can write over information without performing interim step.

           certutil --merge -d [sql:]directory [-P dbprefix] --source-dir directory --source-prefix dbprefix [-@ password-file]

       For example:

           $ certutil --merge -d sql:/home/my/sharednssdb --source-dir /opt/my-app/alias/ --source-prefix serverapp-

       Running certutil Commands from a Batch File

       A series of commands can be run sequentially from a text file with the -B command option. The only argument for
       this specifies the input file.

           $ certutil -B -i /path/to/batch-file

       NSS originally used BerkeleyDB databases to store security information. The last versions of these legacy
       databases are:

       ?   cert8.db for certificates

       ?   key3.db for keys

       ?   secmod.db for PKCS #11 module information

       BerkeleyDB has performance limitations, though, which prevent it from being easily used by multiple
       applications simultaneously. NSS has some flexibility that allows applications to use their own, independent
       database engine while keeping a shared database and working around the access issues. Still, NSS requires more
       flexibility to provide a truly shared security database.

       In 2009, NSS introduced a new set of databases that are SQLite databases rather than BerkeleyDB. These new
       databases provide more accessibility and performance:

       ?   cert9.db for certificates

       ?   key4.db for keys

       ?   pkcs11.txt, a listing of all of the PKCS #11 modules, contained in a new subdirectory in the security
           databases directory

       Because the SQLite databases are designed to be shared, these are the shared database type. The shared database
       type is preferred; the legacy format is included for backward compatibility.

       By default, the tools (certutil, pk12util, modutil) assume that the given security databases follow the more
       common legacy type. Using the SQLite databases must be manually specified by using the sql: prefix with the
       given security directory. For example:

           $ certutil -L -d sql:/home/my/sharednssdb

       To set the shared database type as the default type for the tools, set the NSS_DEFAULT_DB_TYPE environment
       variable to sql:

           export NSS_DEFAULT_DB_TYPE="sql"

       This line can be set added to the ~/.bashrc file to make the change permanent.

       Most applications do not use the shared database by default, but they can be configured to use them. For
       example, this how-to article covers how to configure Firefox and Thunderbird to use the new shared NSS


       For an engineering draft on the changes in the shared NSS databases, see the NSS project wiki:


       pk12util (1)

       modutil (1)

       certutil has arguments or operations that use features defined in several IETF RFCs.




       The NSS wiki has information on the new database design and how to configure applications to use it.



       For information about NSS and other tools related to NSS (like JSS), check out the NSS project wiki at The NSS site relates directly to NSS code changes and

       Mailing lists:

       IRC: Freenode at #dogtag-pki

       The NSS tools were written and maintained by developers with Netscape, Red Hat, Sun, Oracle, Mozilla, and

       Authors: Elio Maldonado <>, Deon Lackey <>.

       Licensed under the Mozilla Public License, v. 2.0. If a copy of the MPL was not distributed with this file, You
       can obtain one at

        1. Mozilla NSS bug 836477

nss-tools                      8 September 2016                    CERTUTIL(1)