Introduction to Java Cryptography
Java programming has become the most popular language in the modern world. They are used in various areas like web browsers, web servers, application servers, Java messaging service, etc. Since this has been used in various fields, the security for this language should be important, here comes the Java cryptography part. Several mechanisms are used for Java security. In this article, we are going to see the cryptographic services provided by Java.
Services of Java Cryptography
Below are the two cryptography services provided:
- JCA stands for Java Cryptography Architecture. It is a set of classes that provides Cryptography capabilities for Java programs. It is a default part of the Java application development environment i.e. JDK ( Java Development Kit). JCA was introduced in JDK version 1.1. JCA provides basic cryptographic functionality for the programmer using Java. The cryptographic functionalities involve access control, message digest, key pair, permissions, and digital certificates. JCA provides a set of abstract classes in Java package called security.
- Java Cryptography Architecture is also known for provider architecture as it provides security. The main goal behind designing this architecture is to separate the cryptography concepts from their actual implementation. To achieve this programming language independence, it uses interfaces concept. An interface is a set of functions that specifies the behavior of the interface i.e the what interface can do. It does not show the actual implementation of the interface. Let’s see an example to understand this concept better.
- When we buy a new computer we do not worry about the internal details of the mobile or PC like the electronic components used, chip, current or voltage, etc. We just used a phone or computer without knowing how it works inside. This set of internal operations is called implementation. We only have an idea about the RAM, memory, battery, etc. Not the internal working. In the same way, the interface works in JCA.
- The main purpose of this is JCA which serves the provision of pluggable architecture. That means it allows the user to change the internal details without knowing the router interface. JCA provides conceptual cryptographic functionalities and allows them to implement in various ways. This allows the different vendors to provide their implementation of cryptographic tools.
- To achieve this Java, Cryptography Architecture consists of several classed called engine classes. Engine class is a logical implementation of cryptographic functionalities. There is only a single Java security signature class in this Architecture which represents all the possible variations of digital signature algorithm class. Another class called provider does the actual implementation of this algorithm.
Java version 2 provides a key tool which is used to store both public key and private key separately. Key tool protects both keys using passwords. Key tools use a database to stores the keys, this database is called a Keystore.
Below is the list of services provided by the key tool:
- Export certificates.
- Import other people’s certificates for signature verification.
- Create key pairs.
- Creates self-signed certificates.
- Issue CSR (Certificate Signing Requests) which need to be sent to CA ( Certificate Authority) for requesting a certificate.
JCE stands for Java Cryptography Extension. The cryptographic functionalities of the encryption of data fall in the category of Java Cryptography Extension. The architecture of Java Cryptography Extension follows the same pattern as that of Java Cryptography Architecture. It is also based on the concept of Provider classes and engine classes as we have discussed in the JCA. The implementation is the default which is provided by Sun Microsystems. Since the architecture is similar to Java Cryptography Architecture, we will not discuss the same thing again.
Both Java Cryptography Architecture and Java Cryptography Extension are strong Cryptography Architectures. They have been carefully planned and designed to allow for further expansion as well as vendor-independent. The biggest problem here is to use Java Cryptography where we need to face licensing issues. Because of its export laws, Java Cryptography Extension does not come as a part of the core Java Development Kit. Now the restrictions have been lifted, application developers can easily use the Java Cryptography Extension freely.
This is a guide to Java Cryptography. Here we discuss the Introduction to Java Cyuptography and the Services and Implementing Provider for Cryptography. You can also go through our related articles to learn more –