PKCS12 APIs with fips 3.0

Matt Caswell matt at
Tue Jan 26 11:45:59 UTC 2021

On 26/01/2021 11:05, Jakob Bohm via openssl-users wrote:
> On 2021-01-25 17:53, Zeke Evans wrote:
>> Hi,
>> Many of the PKCS12 APIs (ie: PKCS12_create, PKCS12_parse,
>> PKCS12_verify_mac) do not work in OpenSSL 3.0 when using the fips
>> provider.  It looks like that is because they try to load PKCS12KDF
>> which is not implemented in the fips provider.  These were all working
>> in 1.0.2 with the fips 2.0 module.  Will they be supported in 3.0 with
>> fips?  If not, is there a way for applications running in fips
>> approved mode to support the same functionality and use existing
>> stores/files that contain PKCS12 objects?
> This is an even larger issue: Is OpenSSL 3.x so badly designed
> that the "providers" need to separately implement every standard
> or non-standard combination of algorithm invocations?
> In a properly abstracted design PKCS12KDF would be implemented by
> invoking general EVP functions for underlying algorithms, which
> would in turn invoke the provider versions of those algorithms.

This is exactly the way it works. The implementation of PKCS12KDF
fetches the underlying digest algorithm using whatever providers it has
available. So, for example, if the PKCS12KDF implementation needs to use
SHA256, then it will fetch an available implementation for it - and that
implementation may come from the FIPS provider (or any other provider).

However, in 3.0, KDFs are themselves fetchable cryptographic algorithms
implemented by providers. The FIPS module implements a set of KDFs - but
PKCS12KDF is not one of them. Its only available from the default provider.

So, the summary is, while you can set things up so that all your crypto,
including any digests used by the PKCS12KDF, all come from the FIPS
provider, there is no getting away from the fact that you still need to
have the default provider loaded in order to have an implementation of
the PKCS12KDF itself - which will obviously be outside the module boundary.

There aren't any current plans to bring the implementation of PKCS12KDF
inside the FIPS module. I don't know whether that is feasible or not.


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