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SIGNVER(1)                    NSS Security Tools                    SIGNVER(1)

       signver - Verify a detached PKCS#7 signature for a file.

       signtool -A | -V  -d directory [-a] [-i input_file] [-o output_file] [-s signature_file] [-v]

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

       The Signature Verification Tool, signver, is a simple command-line utility that unpacks a base-64-encoded
       PKCS#7 signed object and verifies the digital signature using standard cryptographic techniques. The Signature
       Verification Tool can also display the contents of the signed object.

           Displays all of the information in the PKCS#7 signature.

           Verifies the digital signature.

       -d [sql:]directory
           Specify the database directory which contains the certificates and keys.

           signver 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). If the prefix sql: is not used, then the tool
           assumes that the given databases are in the old format.

           Sets that the given signature file is in ASCII format.

       -i input_file
           Gives the input file for the object with signed data.

       -o output_file
           Gives the output file to which to write the results.

       -s signature_file
           Gives the input file for the digital signature.

           Enables verbose output.

   Verifying a Signature
       The -V option verifies that the signature in a given signature file is valid when used to sign the given object
       (from the input file).

           signver -V -s signature_file -i signed_file -d sql:/home/my/sharednssdb


   Printing Signature Data
       The -A option prints all of the information contained in a signature file. Using the -o option prints the
       signature file information to the given output file rather than stdout.

           signver -A -s signature_file -o output_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 BerkleyDB. These new
       databases provide more accessibility and performance:

       ?   cert9.db for certificates

       ?   key4.db for keys

       ?   pkcs11.txt, which is 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:

           # signver -A -s signature -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 added to the ~/.bashrc file to make the change permanent for the user.

       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:


       signtool (1)

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

       ?   Setting up the shared NSS database


       ?   Engineering and technical information about the shared NSS database


       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                         5 June 2014                       SIGNVER(1)