Tag Archives: ssl

SSL with PKCS12 truststore

Many many moons ago I vaguely remember having a similar issue with java keystore / truststore and microsoft certificates stores.

When you start using SSL for your listener, you could potentially face a large number of issues amoung your toolsets. In my opinion, the most disastrous one is that you cannot monitor your database with Enterprise Manager and a TCPS listener. I tried with 10g, 11g, 12c and I seriously doubt it will come in 13c, even a dozen of ERs have been filled. The best workaround I found is to use a separate listener to monitor your database and monitor the ssl-listener itself with IPC.

Today I had to deal with a driver from Datadirect, which finally works perfectly fine with SSL, but the challenge was to know what to put in the keystore and truststore…

In SQLNET, you use the single-sign-on wallet (cwallet.sso) created by OWM/orapki or ldap.

In Java, per default, you use a java keystore, that you generate with keytool (or even use the default cacerts). There is only a lexical difference between a keystore and a truststore, they could both be the same file. As documented in the JSSE Ref
A truststore is a keystore that is used when making decisions about what to trust

But for some other tools, the java keytool won’t do the trick, if the truststore cannot be of the type JKS.

One common type is the PKCS12. This is the your ewallet.p12 you get with the Wallet Manager.

E.g. from java :


To use single-sign-on, use trustStoreType=SSO as I wrote there : jdbc-ssl

Other command formats are X509 base64 or DER file. The openssl command line allows you easy conversion

openssl pkcs12 -in ewallet.p12 -out file.pem
openssl x509 -outform der -in file.pem -out file.der

or in Windows Explorer, just click on your p12 file and then click on the certificate to export in the certificate store.

anonymous cypher suites for SSL (and a 12c pitfall)

If you configure your listener for encryption only, you do not really need authentication.

It works pretty fine until, I wrote multiple posts on ssl.

You add SSL_CLIENT_AUTHENTICATION=FALSE to your server sqlnet.ora and listener.ora and specify an “anon” cipher suite in your client. You do not need to validate the certificate, so a default wallet will do.

orapki wallet create -wallet . -auto_login_only





or if you use java, the default truststore -usually located in $JAVA_HOME/jre/lib/security/cacerts, will also do.

    System.setProperty("oracle.net.ssl_cipher_suites", "SSL_DH_anon_WITH_DES_CBC_SHA");

On some plateform however you may get something like : IBM’s Client TrustManager does not allow anonymous cipher suites.

So far so good, but if you upgrade your listener to or 12c, the anonymous suites won’t be accepted if not explicitely set up in sqlnet.ora. This is documented in Note 1434966.1

You will get something like “ORA-28860: Fatal SSL error”, “TNS-12560: TNS:protocol adapter error” in Oracle or “SSLHandshakeException: Received fatal alert: handshake_failure”, “SQLRecoverableException: I/O-Error: Received fatal alert: handshake_failure” in java.

There are two -obvious- ways to fix this. The preferred approach is to not use anonymous suite (they seem to have disappeared from the supported cypher suites in the doc).

For this task, you use another cipher suite. The easiest way is to not specify any or just use one like TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA (java) / SSL_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA (sqlnet). Even if you do not use client authentication, you will then have to authenticate the server, and import the root ca in the wallet or the keystore.

# comment out ssl_cipher_suites=(SSL_DH_anon_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA)


// comment out : System.setProperty("oracle.net.ssl_cipher_suites", "SSL_DH_anon_WITH_DES_CBC_SHA");

Or, as documented in metalink, define the suite in sqlnet.ora and listener.ora if you use or

KeepAlive socket in 12c listener

A not uncommon issue with firewalls and listeners are timeouts. Your production database may be behind a firewall, you may connect from a remote location, even your Windows workstation may have some firewall activated, possibly you use ssh tunnels or TCPS. All those occasionally lead to timeouts and connection abortion, for instance ORA-03113 end-of-file on communication channel, ORA-03135: connection lost contact, TNS-12547 Lost contact.

The good news is that Oracle 12c now implements Socket Options (see man setsockopt), as documented in Net admin new features and more nicely in Note 1591874.1
dcd visualized

I made until now a positive experience with this keepalive behavior, especially with SSL listener. The default value for SQLNET.EXPIRE_TIME is 0, so you must set it to a non-zero value first, the recommended value is 10 (minutes).

TCPS and SSLv2Hello

Thanks to platform independence, the same java code work on different platforms.

import java.util.Properties;
import java.security.Security;
import java.sql.*;
import javax.net.ssl.*;

public class KeyStore {
  public static void main(String argv[]) 
      throws SQLException {
    String url="jdbc:oracle:thin:@(DESCRIPTION="+
    Properties props = new Properties();
    props.setProperty("user", "scott");
    props.setProperty("password", "tiger");
      new oracle.jdbc.OracleDriver());
    Connection conn = 
      DriverManager.getConnection(url, props);
    ResultSet res = conn.prepareCall("select "+
       "') txt from dual").
    System.out.println("PROTOCOL: "+

The code above perfectly works with Linux and Windows.

Okay, in AIX you will get IllegalArgumentException SSLv2Hello at com.ibm.jsse2.sb.a if you don’t add


The default does not work with the Oracle AIX client. Just set it to 1.0 and 3.0 and you will be a bit less plateform-dependent

check if using tcps part II

in your current session, as written there, check sys_context('USERENV', 'NETWORK_PROTOCOL')

in another session, you could grab some hints out of the network service banner. Do the maths, when it is not-not using ssl, it probably is…

select sid,program,
  case when program not like 'ora___@% (P%)' then
  (select max(case
      then 'TCP'
when NETWORK_SERVICE_BANNER like '%Bequeath%' 
      then 'BEQUEATH'
      then 'IPC'
      then 'SDP'
      then 'Named pipe'
      then 'TCPS' end)
    where i.sid=s.sid) end protocol
  from v$session s;

---------- --------------- --------
       415 sqlplus(TNS V1- BEQUEATH
       396 sqlplus(TNS V1- IPC     
         6 Toad            TCP     
         9 Toad            TCPS    
         1 oracle(DIAG)            
       403 Toad            TCP     

jdbc ssl

I already wrote about jdbc hello world and listener with tcps.

Let’s combine both technologies !

import java.util.Properties;
import java.security.Security;
import java.sql.*;
import javax.net.ssl.*;

public class TCPS {
  public static void main(String argv[]) throws SQLException {
    String url = "jdbc:oracle:thin:@(DESCRIPTION=(ADDRESS=(PROTOCOL=TCPS)(Host=dbsrv001)(Port=12345))(CONNECT_DATA=(SID=DB01)))";
    Properties props = new Properties();
    props.setProperty("user", "scott");
    props.setProperty("password", "tiger");
    Security.addProvider(new oracle.security.pki.OraclePKIProvider());
    DriverManager.registerDriver(new oracle.jdbc.OracleDriver());
    Connection conn = DriverManager.getConnection(url, props);
    ResultSet res = conn.
      prepareCall("select 'Hello SSL World' txt from dual").

I have an auto-login wallet (cwallet.sso) with the trusted certificate from the server.

There are a few jar’s to use:

$ CLASSPATH=$ORACLE_HOME/jdbc/lib/ojdbc5.jar
$ export CLASSPATH
$ javac TCPS.java
$ java TCPS
Hello SSL World

Greatly inspired by Jean de Lavarene’s white paper : SSL With Oracle JDBC Thin Driver

user identified externally with SSL certificate

Today I configured my database to identify users with certificates.

Check my previous post listener with tcps to find out how to configure a listener with SSL, which is a requisite.

Ok, I have a listener.ora and a tnsnames.ora with SSL. I do not need a sqlnet.ora, the default values work.





# empty file

Now I have one user, lsc, which is going to connect with its own certificate. First, I need to create a wallet for that user. I run owm as lsc, I create a new wallet, a new certification request with the DN:CN=lsc, I copy/paste my certification request in the CA server, I import the user certificate, and I save it in the system default, /etc/ORACLE/WALLETS/lsc.

Now I need to trust that certificate, so I export my user certificate to a file, and make that file readable for oracle. As oracle, I run the wallet manager owm, I import the trusted user certificate, and I save in system default, /etc/ORACLE/WALLETS/oracle.

One more thing I need to configure now is the wallet location for lsc in the sqlnet parameter file. To avoid conflicts, I create a specific sqlnet for that user in homedir called .sqlnet.ora (with a leading dot).



Last thing to do : create the user in sqlplus.

SQL> show parameter os_authent_prefix

NAME               VALUE
------------------ ------------------------------
os_authent_prefix  ops$

SQL> create user ops$lsc identified externally as 'CN=lsc';

User created.

SQL> grant create session to ops$lsc;

Grant succeeded.

Now I can remotely log on my database without a password.

SQL> connect /@LSC07

listener with tcps

How can you use SSL to encrypt your network traffic?

Here is how I did it.

  1. Install Oracle Certification Authority 10.1.4
  2. you need a CA to approve a certification request

  3. Install Oracle Database 10gR2 Enterprise Edition with Advanced Security Options
  4. Start Wallet Manager
  5. from Database Oracle Home, start $ORACLE_HOME/bin/owm

  6. create a new Wallet
  7. define a password

  8. add certificate request
  9. fill the fields or chose advanced :

  10. Start OCA
  11. from OCA home, start $ORACLE_HOME/oca/bin/ocactl start

  12. Open OCA homepage
  13. Open your browser on


    Install the ROOTca in your browser

  14. Request a new certificate
  15. Server/SubCA Certificates – Request a certificate – Paste String from OWM

  16. Approve the certificate
  17. log on the admin page,


    define your identity, then in Certificate Management, select the certification request and approve it.

  18. Import the certificate in OWM
  19. Select the approved certificate, view details.
    In owm, import user certificate , and copy paste the BASE64 string.
    To get the CA string, download the CA certificate from


  20. Save the wallet
  21. The certificate should show [Ready]
    Select Autologin
    Save in system default (/etc/ORACLE/WALLETS/oracle)

Ok, we are now ready to use the TCPS protocol



Start the listener
$ lsnrctl start
The command completed successfully

Test it!
$ sqlplus scott/tiger@lsc01
Connected to:
Oracle Database 10g Enterprise Edition Release - 64bit Production