Java Cryptography Extension in Java Platform Standard Edition, Hardware Cryptography IBMJCECCA Overview

(last updated March, 2013)

Table of Contents


In general, Java Cryptography Extension in the Java Platform Standard Edition (JCE in Java SE) provides a framework and implementations for encryption, key generation and key agreement, and Message Authentication Code (MAC) algorithms. Support for encryption includes symmetric, asymmetric, block, and stream ciphers. The software also supports secure streams and sealed objects. JCE in Java SE supplements the Java platform, which already includes interfaces and implementations of message digests and digital signatures.

This IBMJCECCA implementation extends JCE seamlessly to add the capability to use hardware cryptography via the IBM Common Cryptographic Architecture (CCA) interfaces. This provider takes advantage of hardware cryptography within the existing JCE architecture and gives Java programmers the significant security and performance advantages of hardware cryptography with minimal changes to existing Java applications. Just as the complexities of hardware cryptography are taken care of within the normal Java Cryptography Architecture, IBMJCECCA makes advanced security and performance easily available using hardware cryptographic devices.

IBM CCA is a set of software elements that provide common application interfaces to secure, high-speed cryptographic services on various platforms via hardware cryptographic devices. These devices include the IBM CCA PCI Cryptographic Coprocessor and the Cryptographic Coprocessor. The amount and type of hardware cryptographic services available depends on your platform and hardware device. For more information refer to your platform's hardware cryptography information and service/support organization and "Configuring and using hardware cryptographic devices" for more information.

IBMJCECCA uses hardware cryptography to implement those engines that can use the hardware function available through IBM CCA. Thus some of the JCE function will be available through this hardware implementation (IBMJCECCA) and others, those that the CCA hardware cannot perform will only be available through a software cryptography provider like IBMJCE.

IBMJCECCA provides for all the engine classes available in Java Cryptographic Extensions (JCE) including Message Digest, Signature and KeyFactory classes. This makes Message Digests available through the MD2, MD5 and SHA-1 algorithms. It further provides digital signature and verification via the RSA and DSA algorithms. IBMJCECCA also includes true random number generation, key generation via key factories, key/certificate generation and key/certificate management via a keytool application. This hardware capable implementation provides the symmetric algorithms DES, triple DES (also known as DESede), HMAC and PBE. It also provides the asymmetric algorithms RSA encryption and decryption with zero padding, and PKCS 1 type 2 padding.

For information on the IBMJCECCA package and classes, see the online documentation section.

Online documentation

The IBMJCECCA provider documentation follows:

For a general overview of JCE, visit Java Cryptography Extension (JCE) Web site. The documents at this Web site contain links to many other Web-based information sources.

Features of the IBMJCECCA provider

The IBMJCECCA provider package includes:

For a description of the differences between IBMJCECCA and IBMJCE please refer to the following:


To use the IBMJCECCA provider, you must specify the following in your file in the ${java-home}/lib/security directory:


It is also necessary to start ICSF before attempting to use IBMJCECCA. If IBMJCECCA is the first JCE in your provider list and ICSF is not started some cryptographic operations may fail.

Specifying Full Function versus Limited Key Size Cryptography

Files US_export_policy.jar and local_policy.jar, in directory ${java-home}/lib/security, give you the ability to do limited function cryptography and are installed by default.

If you want to get unrestricted policy that give the ability to do full function cryptography, get the policy files and replace US_export_policy.jar and local_policy.jar in the ${java-home}/lib/security directory with the new files.

Software prerequisites

To use IBMJCECCA, you must be running a system at the z/OS V1R6 level or higher, and ICSF must be running. IBMJCECCA will exploit cryptographic hardware capabilities where available, via the CP Assist hardware (CPACF) and/or PCI-X adapter crypto processors available on z800 or z900 and later generation processors.

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