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certutil(1)                   NSS Security Tools                   certutil(1)


       certutil - Manage keys and certificate in both NSS databases and other
       NSS tokens


       certutil [options] [[arguments]]


       This documentation is still work in progress. Please contribute to the
       initial review in Mozilla NSS bug 836477[1]


       The Certificate Database Tool, certutil, is a command-line utility that
       can create and modify certificate and key databases. It can
       specifically list, generate, modify, or delete certificates, create or
       change the password, generate new public and private key pairs, display
       the contents of the key database, or delete key pairs within the key

       Certificate issuance, part of the key and certificate management
       process, requires that keys and certificates be created in the key
       database. This document discusses certificate and key database
       management. For information on the security module database management,
       see the modutil manpage.


       Running certutil always requires one and only one command option to
       specify the type of certificate operation. Each command option may take
       zero or more arguments. The command option -H will list all the command
       options and their relevant arguments.

       Command Options

           Add an existing certificate to a certificate database. The
           certificate database should already exist; if one is not present,
           this command option will initialize one by default.

           Run a series of commands from the specified batch file. This
           requires the -i argument.

           Create a new binary certificate file from a binary certificate
           request file. Use the -i argument to specify the certificate
           request file. If this argument is not used, certutil prompts for a

           Delete a certificate from the certificate database.

           Change the database nickname of a certificate.

           Add an email certificate to the certificate database.

           Delete a private key from a key database. Specify the key to delete
           with the -n argument. Specify the database from which to delete the
           key with the -d argument. Use the -k argument to specify explicitly
           whether to delete a DSA, RSA, or ECC key. If you don't use the -k
           argument, the option looks for an RSA key matching the specified

           When you delete keys, be sure to also remove any certificates
           associated with those keys from the certificate database, by using
           -D. Some smart cards do not let you remove a public key you have
           generated. In such a case, only the private key is deleted from the
           key pair. You can display the public key with the command certutil
           -K -h tokenname.

           Generate a new public and private key pair within a key database.
           The key database should already exist; if one is not present, this
           command option will initialize one by default. Some smart cards can
           store only one key pair. If you create a new key pair for such a
           card, the previous pair is overwritten.

           Display a list of the command options and arguments.

           List the key ID of keys in the key database. A key ID is the
           modulus of the RSA key or the publicValue of the DSA key. IDs are
           displayed in hexadecimal ("0x" is not shown).

           List all the certificates, or display information about a named
           certificate, in a certificate database. Use the -h tokenname
           argument to specify the certificate database on a particular
           hardware or software token.

           Modify a certificate's trust attributes using the values of the -t

           Create new certificate and key databases.

           Print the certificate chain.

           Create a certificate request file that can be submitted to a
           Certificate Authority (CA) for processing into a finished
           certificate. Output defaults to standard out unless you use -o
           output-file argument. Use the -a argument to specify ASCII output.

           Create an individual certificate and add it to a certificate

           Reset the key database or token.

           List all available modules or print a single named module.

           Check the validity of a certificate and its attributes.

           Change the password to a key database.

           Merge two databases into one.

           Upgrade an old database and merge it into a new database. This is
           used to migrate legacy NSS databases (cert8.db and key3.db) into
           the newer SQLite databases (cert9.db and key4.db).


       Arguments modify a command option and are usually lower case, numbers,
       or symbols.

           Use ASCII format or allow the use of ASCII format for input or
           output. This formatting follows RFC 1113. For certificate requests,
           ASCII output defaults to standard output unless redirected.

       -b validity-time
           Specify a time at which a certificate is required to be valid. Use
           when checking certificate validity with the -V option. The format
           of the validity-time argument is YYMMDDHHMMSS[+HHMM|-HHMM|Z], which
           allows offsets to be set relative to the validity end time.
           Specifying seconds (SS) is optional. When specifying an explicit
           time, use a Z at the end of the term, YYMMDDHHMMSSZ, to close it.
           When specifying an offset time, use YYMMDDHHMMSS+HHMM or
           YYMMDDHHMMSS-HHMM for adding or subtracting time, respectively.

           If this option is not used, the validity check defaults to the
           current system time.

       -c issuer
           Identify the certificate of the CA from which a new certificate
           will derive its authenticity. Use the exact nickname or alias of
           the CA certificate, or use the CA's email address. Bracket the
           issuer string with quotation marks if it contains spaces.

       -d [prefix]directory
           Specify the database directory containing the certificate and key
           database files.

           certutil 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).

           NSS recognizes the following prefixes:

           o   sql: requests the newer database

           o   dbm: requests the legacy database

           If no prefix is specified the default type is retrieved from
           NSS_DEFAULT_DB_TYPE. If NSS_DEFAULT_DB_TYPE is not set then dbm: is
           the default.

       --dump-ext-val OID
           For single cert, print binary DER encoding of extension OID.

           Check a certificate's signature during the process of validating a

       --email email-address
           Specify the email address of a certificate to list. Used with the
           -L command option.

       --extGeneric OID:critical-flag:filename[,OID:critical-flag:filename]...
           Add one or multiple extensions that certutil cannot encode yet, by
           loading their encodings from external files.

           o   OID (example):

           o   critical-flag: critical or not-critical

           o   filename: full path to a file containing an encoded extension

       -f password-file
           Specify a file that will automatically supply the password to
           include in a certificate or to access a certificate database. This
           is a plain-text file containing one password. Be sure to prevent
           unauthorized access to this file.

       -g keysize
           Set a key size to use when generating new public and private key
           pairs. The minimum is 512 bits and the maximum is 16384 bits. The
           default is 2048 bits. Any size between the minimum and maximum is

       -h tokenname
           Specify the name of a token to use or act on. If not specified the
           default token is the internal database slot.

       -i input_file
           Pass an input file to the command. Depending on the command option,
           an input file can be a specific certificate, a certificate request
           file, or a batch file of commands.

       -k key-type-or-id
           Specify the type or specific ID of a key.

           The valid key type options are rsa, dsa, ec, or all. The default
           value is rsa. Specifying the type of key can avoid mistakes caused
           by duplicate nicknames. Giving a key type generates a new key pair;
           giving the ID of an existing key reuses that key pair (which is
           required to renew certificates).

           Display detailed information when validating a certificate with the
           -V option.

       -m serial-number
           Assign a unique serial number to a certificate being created. This
           operation should be performed by a CA. If no serial number is
           provided a default serial number is made from the current time.
           Serial numbers are limited to integers

       -n nickname
           Specify the nickname of a certificate or key to list, create, add
           to a database, modify, or validate. Bracket the nickname string
           with quotation marks if it contains spaces.

       -o output-file
           Specify the output file name for new certificates or binary
           certificate requests. Bracket the output-file string with quotation
           marks if it contains spaces. If this argument is not used the
           output destination defaults to standard output.

       -P dbPrefix
           Specify the prefix used on the certificate and key database file.
           This argument is provided to support legacy servers. Most
           applications do not use a database prefix.

       -p phone
           Specify a contact telephone number to include in new certificates
           or certificate requests. Bracket this string with quotation marks
           if it contains spaces.

       -q pqgfile or curve-name
           Read an alternate PQG value from the specified file when generating
           DSA key pairs. If this argument is not used, certutil generates its
           own PQG value. PQG files are created with a separate DSA utility.

           Elliptic curve name is one of the ones from nistp256, nistp384,
           nistp521, curve25519.

           If a token is available that supports more curves, the foolowing
           curves are supported as well: sect163k1, nistk163, sect163r1,
           sect163r2, nistb163, sect193r1, sect193r2, sect233k1, nistk233,
           sect233r1, nistb233, sect239k1, sect283k1, nistk283, sect283r1,
           nistb283, sect409k1, nistk409, sect409r1, nistb409, sect571k1,
           nistk571, sect571r1, nistb571, secp160k1, secp160r1, secp160r2,
           secp192k1, secp192r1, nistp192, secp224k1, secp224r1, nistp224,
           secp256k1, secp256r1, secp384r1, secp521r1, prime192v1, prime192v2,
           prime192v3, prime239v1, prime239v2, prime239v3, c2pnb163v1,
           c2pnb163v2, c2pnb163v3, c2pnb176v1, c2tnb191v1, c2tnb191v2,
           c2tnb191v3, c2pnb208w1, c2tnb239v1, c2tnb239v2, c2tnb239v3,
           c2pnb272w1, c2pnb304w1, c2tnb359w1, c2pnb368w1, c2tnb431r1,
           secp112r1, secp112r2, secp128r1, secp128r2, sect113r1, sect113r2,
           sect131r1, sect131r2

           Display a certificate's binary DER encoding when listing
           information about that certificate with the -L option.

       -s subject
           Identify a particular certificate owner for new certificates or
           certificate requests. Bracket this string with quotation marks if
           it contains spaces. The subject identification format follows RFC

       -t trustargs
           Specify the trust attributes to modify in an existing certificate
           or to apply to a certificate when creating it or adding it to a
           database. There are three available trust categories for each
           certificate, expressed in the order SSL, email, object signing for
           each trust setting. In each category position, use none, any, or
           all of the attribute codes:

           o   p - Valid peer

           o   P - Trusted peer (implies p)

           o   c - Valid CA

           o   C - Trusted CA (implies c)

           o   T - trusted CA for client authentication (ssl server only)

           The attribute codes for the categories are separated by commas, and
           the entire set of attributes enclosed by quotation marks. For

           -t "TC,C,T"

           Use the -L option to see a list of the current certificates and
           trust attributes in a certificate database.

           Note that the output of the -L option may include "u" flag, which
           means that there is a private key associated with the certificate.
           It is a dynamic flag and you cannot set it with certutil.

       -u certusage
           Specify a usage context to apply when validating a certificate with
           the -V option.

           The contexts are the following:

           o   C (as an SSL client)

           o   V (as an SSL server)

           o   L (as an SSL CA)

           o   A (as Any CA)

           o   Y (Verify CA)

           o   S (as an email signer)

           o   R (as an email recipient)

           o   O (as an OCSP status responder)

           o   J (as an object signer)

       -v valid-months
           Set the number of months a new certificate will be valid. The
           validity period begins at the current system time unless an offset
           is added or subtracted with the -w option. If this argument is not
           used, the default validity period is three months.

       -w offset-months
           Set an offset from the current system time, in months, for the
           beginning of a certificate's validity period. Use when creating the
           certificate or adding it to a database. Express the offset in
           integers, using a minus sign (-) to indicate a negative offset. If
           this argument is not used, the validity period begins at the
           current system time. The length of the validity period is set with
           the -v argument.

           Force the key and certificate database to open in read-write mode.
           This is used with the -U and -L command options.

           Use certutil to generate the signature for a certificate being
           created or added to a database, rather than obtaining a signature
           from a separate CA.

       -y exp
           Set an alternate exponent value to use in generating a new RSA
           public key for the database, instead of the default value of 65537.
           The available alternate values are 3 and 17.

           Restrict the generated certificate (with the -S option) or
           certificate request (with the -R option) to be used with the
           RSA-PSS signature scheme. This only works when the private key of
           the certificate or certificate request is RSA.

           Sign the generated certificate with the RSA-PSS signature scheme
           (with the -C or -S option). This only works when the private key of
           the signer's certificate is RSA. If the signer's certificate is
           restricted to RSA-PSS, it is not necessary to specify this option.

       -z noise-file
           Read a seed value from the specified file to generate a new private
           and public key pair. This argument makes it possible to use
           hardware-generated seed values or manually create a value from the
           keyboard. The minimum file size is 20 bytes.

       -Z hashAlg
           Specify the hash algorithm to use with the -C, -S or -R command
           options. Possible keywords:

           o   MD2

           o   MD4

           o   MD5

           o   SHA1

           o   SHA224

           o   SHA256

           o   SHA384

           o   SHA512

       -0 SSO_password
           Set a site security officer password on a token.

       -1 | --keyUsage keyword,keyword
           Set an X.509 V3 Certificate Type Extension in the certificate.
           There are several available keywords:

           o   digitalSignature

           o   nonRepudiation

           o   keyEncipherment

           o   dataEncipherment

           o   keyAgreement

           o   certSigning

           o   crlSigning

           o   critical

           Add a basic constraint extension to a certificate that is being
           created or added to a database. This extension supports the
           certificate chain verification process.  certutil prompts for the
           certificate constraint extension to select.

           X.509 certificate extensions are described in RFC 5280.

           Add an authority key ID extension to a certificate that is being
           created or added to a database. This extension supports the
           identification of a particular certificate, from among multiple
           certificates associated with one subject name, as the correct
           issuer of a certificate. The Certificate Database Tool will prompt
           you to select the authority key ID extension.

           X.509 certificate extensions are described in RFC 5280.

           Add a CRL distribution point extension to a certificate that is
           being created or added to a database. This extension identifies the
           URL of a certificate's associated certificate revocation list
           (CRL).  certutil prompts for the URL.

           X.509 certificate extensions are described in RFC 5280.

       -5 | --nsCertType keyword,keyword
           Add an X.509 V3 certificate type extension to a certificate that is
           being created or added to the database. There are several available

           o   sslClient

           o   sslServer

           o   smime

           o   objectSigning

           o   sslCA

           o   smimeCA

           o   objectSigningCA

           o   critical

           X.509 certificate extensions are described in RFC 5280.

       -6 | --extKeyUsage keyword,keyword
           Add an extended key usage extension to a certificate that is being
           created or added to the database. Several keywords are available:

           o   serverAuth

           o   clientAuth

           o   codeSigning

           o   emailProtection

           o   timeStamp

           o   ocspResponder

           o   stepUp

           o   msTrustListSign

           o   critical

           X.509 certificate extensions are described in RFC 5280.

       -7 emailAddrs
           Add a comma-separated list of email addresses to the subject
           alternative name extension of a certificate or certificate request
           that is being created or added to the database. Subject alternative
           name extensions are described in Section of RFC 3280.

       -8 dns-names
           Add a comma-separated list of DNS names to the subject alternative
           name extension of a certificate or certificate request that is
           being created or added to the database. Subject alternative name
           extensions are described in Section of RFC 3280.

           Add the Authority Information Access extension to the certificate.
           X.509 certificate extensions are described in RFC 5280.

           Add the Subject Information Access extension to the certificate.
           X.509 certificate extensions are described in RFC 5280.

           Add the Certificate Policies extension to the certificate. X.509
           certificate extensions are described in RFC 5280.

           Add the Policy Mappings extension to the certificate. X.509
           certificate extensions are described in RFC 5280.

           Add the Policy Constraints extension to the certificate. X.509
           certificate extensions are described in RFC 5280.

           Add the Inhibit Any Policy Access extension to the certificate.
           X.509 certificate extensions are described in RFC 5280.

           Add the Subject Key ID extension to the certificate. X.509
           certificate extensions are described in RFC 5280.

           Add a Name Constraint extension to the certificate. X.509
           certificate extensions are described in RFC 5280.

       --extSAN type:name[,type:name]...
           Create a Subject Alt Name extension with one or multiple names.

           -type: directory, dn, dns, edi, ediparty, email, ip, ipaddr, other,
           registerid, rfc822, uri, x400, x400addr

           Use empty password when creating new certificate database with -N.

       --keyAttrFlags attrflags
           PKCS #11 key Attributes. Comma separated list of key attribute
           flags, selected from the following list of choices: {token |
           session} {public | private} {sensitive | insensitive} {modifiable |
           unmodifiable} {extractable | unextractable}

       --keyOpFlagsOn opflags, --keyOpFlagsOff opflags
           PKCS #11 key Operation Flags. Comma separated list of one or more
           of the following: {token | session} {public | private} {sensitive |
           insensitive} {modifiable | unmodifiable} {extractable |

       --new-n nickname
           A new nickname, used when renaming a certificate.

       --source-dir certdir
           Identify the certificate database directory to upgrade.

       --source-prefix certdir
           Give the prefix of the certificate and key databases to upgrade.

       --upgrade-id uniqueID
           Give the unique ID of the database to upgrade.

       --upgrade-token-name name
           Set the name of the token to use while it is being upgraded.

       -@ pwfile
           Give the name of a password file to use for the database being


       Most of the command options in the examples listed here have more
       arguments available. The arguments included in these examples are the
       most common ones or are used to illustrate a specific scenario. Use the
       -H option to show the complete list of arguments for each command

       Creating New Security Databases

       Certificates, keys, and security modules related to managing
       certificates are stored in three related databases:

       o   cert8.db or cert9.db

       o   key3.db or key4.db

       o   secmod.db or pkcs11.txt

       These databases must be created before certificates or keys can be

           certutil -N -d [sql:]directory

       Creating a Certificate Request

       A certificate request contains most or all of the information that is
       used to generate the final certificate. This request is submitted
       separately to a certificate authority and is then approved by some
       mechanism (automatically or by human review). Once the request is
       approved, then the certificate is generated.

           $ certutil -R -k key-type-or-id [-q pqgfile|curve-name] -g key-size -s subject [-h tokenname] -d [sql:]directory [-p phone] [-o output-file] [-a]

       The -R command options requires four arguments:

       o   -k to specify either the key type to generate or, when renewing a
           certificate, the existing key pair to use

       o   -g to set the keysize of the key to generate

       o   -s to set the subject name of the certificate

       o   -d to give the security database directory

       The new certificate request can be output in ASCII format (-a) or can
       be written to a specified file (-o).

       For example:

           $ certutil -R -k rsa -g 1024 -s "CN=John Smith,O=Example Corp,L=Mountain View,ST=California,C=US" -d sql:$HOME/nssdb -p 650-555-0123 -a -o cert.cer

           Generating key.  This may take a few moments...

       Creating a Certificate

       A valid certificate must be issued by a trusted CA. This can be done by
       specifying a CA certificate (-c) that is stored in the certificate
       database. If a CA key pair is not available, you can create a
       self-signed certificate using the -x argument with the -S command

           $ certutil -S -k rsa|dsa|ec -n certname -s subject [-c issuer |-x] -t trustargs -d [sql:]directory [-m serial-number] [-v valid-months] [-w offset-months] [-p phone] [-1] [-2] [-3] [-4] [-5 keyword] [-6 keyword] [-7 emailAddress] [-8 dns-names] [--extAIA] [--extSIA] [--extCP] [--extPM] [--extPC] [--extIA] [--extSKID]

       The series of numbers and --ext* options set certificate extensions
       that can be added to the certificate when it is generated by the CA.
       Interactive prompts will result.

       For example, this creates a self-signed certificate:

           $ certutil -S -s "CN=Example CA" -n my-ca-cert -x -t "C,C,C" -1 -2 -5 -m 3650

       The interative prompts for key usage and whether any extensions are
       critical and responses have been ommitted for brevity.

       From there, new certificates can reference the self-signed certificate:

           $ certutil -S -s "CN=My Server Cert" -n my-server-cert -c "my-ca-cert" -t ",," -1 -5 -6 -8 -m 730

       Generating a Certificate from a Certificate Request

       When a certificate request is created, a certificate can be generated
       by using the request and then referencing a certificate authority
       signing certificate (the issuer specified in the -c argument). The
       issuing certificate must be in the certificate database in the
       specified directory.

           certutil -C -c issuer -i cert-request-file -o output-file [-m serial-number] [-v valid-months] [-w offset-months] -d [sql:]directory [-1] [-2] [-3] [-4] [-5 keyword] [-6 keyword] [-7 emailAddress] [-8 dns-names]

       For example:

           $ certutil -C -c "my-ca-cert" -i /home/certs/cert.req -o cert.cer -m 010 -v 12 -w 1 -d sql:$HOME/nssdb -1 nonRepudiation,dataEncipherment -5 sslClient -6 clientAuth -7

       Listing Certificates

       The -L command option lists all of the certificates listed in the
       certificate database. The path to the directory (-d) is required.

           $ certutil -L -d sql:/home/my/sharednssdb

           Certificate Nickname                                         Trust Attributes

           CA Administrator of Instance pki-ca1's Example Domain ID     u,u,u
           TPS Administrator's Example Domain ID                        u,u,u
           Google Internet Authority                                    ,,
           Certificate Authority - Example Domain                       CT,C,C

       Using additional arguments with -L can return and print the information
       for a single, specific certificate. For example, the -n argument passes
       the certificate name, while the -a argument prints the certificate in
       ASCII format:

           $ certutil -L -d sql:$HOME/nssdb -a -n my-ca-cert
           -----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
           -----END CERTIFICATE-----

       For a human-readable display

           $ certutil -L -d sql:$HOME/nssdb -n my-ca-cert
                   Version: 3 (0x2)
                   Serial Number: 3650 (0xe42)
                   Signature Algorithm: PKCS #1 SHA-1 With RSA Encryption
                   Issuer: "CN=Example CA"
                       Not Before: Wed Mar 13 19:10:29 2013
                       Not After : Thu Jun 13 19:10:29 2013
                   Subject: "CN=Example CA"
                   Subject Public Key Info:
                       Public Key Algorithm: PKCS #1 RSA Encryption
                       RSA Public Key:
                           Exponent: 65537 (0x10001)
                   Signed Extensions:
                       Name: Certificate Type
                       Data: none

                       Name: Certificate Basic Constraints
                       Data: Is a CA with no maximum path length.

                       Name: Certificate Key Usage
                       Critical: True
                       Usages: Certificate Signing

               Signature Algorithm: PKCS #1 SHA-1 With RSA Encryption
               Fingerprint (MD5):
               Fingerprint (SHA1):

               Certificate Trust Flags:
                   SSL Flags:
                       Valid CA
                       Trusted CA
                   Email Flags:
                       Valid CA
                       Trusted CA
                   Object Signing Flags:
                       Valid CA
                       Trusted CA

       Listing Keys

       Keys are the original material used to encrypt certificate data. The
       keys generated for certificates are stored separately, in the key

       To list all keys in the database, use the -K command option and the
       (required) -d argument to give the path to the directory.

           $ certutil -K -d sql:$HOME/nssdb
           certutil: Checking token "NSS Certificate DB" in slot "NSS User Private Key and Certificate Services                  "
           < 0> rsa      455a6673bde9375c2887ec8bf8016b3f9f35861d   Thawte Freemail Member's Thawte Consulting (Pty) Ltd. ID
           < 1> rsa      40defeeb522ade11090eacebaaf1196a172127df   Example Domain Administrator Cert
           < 2> rsa      1d0b06f44f6c03842f7d4f4a1dc78b3bcd1b85a5   John Smith user cert

       There are ways to narrow the keys listed in the search results:

       o   To return a specific key, use the -n name argument with the name of
           the key.

       o   If there are multiple security devices loaded, then the -h
           tokenname argument can search a specific token or all tokens.

       o   If there are multiple key types available, then the -k key-type
           argument can search a specific type of key, like RSA, DSA, or ECC.

       Listing Security Modules

       The devices that can be used to store certificates -- both internal
       databases and external devices like smart cards -- are recognized and
       used by loading security modules. The -U command option lists all of
       the security modules listed in the secmod.db database. The path to the
       directory (-d) is required.

           $ certutil -U -d sql:/home/my/sharednssdb

               slot: NSS User Private Key and Certificate Services
              token: NSS Certificate DB

               slot: NSS Internal Cryptographic Services
              token: NSS Generic Crypto Services

       Adding Certificates to the Database

       Existing certificates or certificate requests can be added manually to
       the certificate database, even if they were generated elsewhere. This
       uses the -A command option.

           certutil -A -n certname -t trustargs -d [sql:]directory [-a] [-i input-file]

       For example:

           $ certutil -A -n "CN=My SSL Certificate" -t ",," -d sql:/home/my/sharednssdb -i /home/example-certs/cert.cer

       A related command option, -E, is used specifically to add email
       certificates to the certificate database. The -E command has the same
       arguments as the -A command. The trust arguments for certificates have
       the format SSL,S/MIME,Code-signing, so the middle trust settings relate
       most to email certificates (though the others can be set). For example:

           $ certutil -E -n "CN=John Smith Email Cert" -t ",P," -d sql:/home/my/sharednssdb -i /home/example-certs/email.cer

       Deleting Certificates to the Database

       Certificates can be deleted from a database using the -D option. The
       only required options are to give the security database directory and
       to identify the certificate nickname.

           certutil -D -d [sql:]directory -n "nickname"

       For example:

           $ certutil -D -d sql:/home/my/sharednssdb -n "my-ssl-cert"

       Validating Certificates

       A certificate contains an expiration date in itself, and expired
       certificates are easily rejected. However, certificates can also be
       revoked before they hit their expiration date. Checking whether a
       certificate has been revoked requires validating the certificate.
       Validation can also be used to ensure that the certificate is only used
       for the purposes it was initially issued for. Validation is carried out
       by the -V command option.

           certutil -V -n certificate-name [-b time] [-e] [-u cert-usage] -d [sql:]directory

       For example, to validate an email certificate:

           $ certutil -V -n "John Smith's Email Cert" -e -u S,R -d sql:/home/my/sharednssdb

       Modifying Certificate Trust Settings

       The trust settings (which relate to the operations that a certificate
       is allowed to be used for) can be changed after a certificate is
       created or added to the database. This is especially useful for CA
       certificates, but it can be performed for any type of certificate.

           certutil -M -n certificate-name -t trust-args -d [sql:]directory

       For example:

           $ certutil -M -n "My CA Certificate" -d sql:/home/my/sharednssdb -t "CT,CT,CT"

       Printing the Certificate Chain

       Certificates can be issued in chains because every certificate
       authority itself has a certificate; when a CA issues a certificate, it
       essentially stamps that certificate with its own fingerprint. The -O
       prints the full chain of a certificate, going from the initial CA (the
       root CA) through ever intermediary CA to the actual certificate. For
       example, for an email certificate with two CAs in the chain:

           $ certutil -d sql:/home/my/sharednssdb -O -n ""
           "Builtin Object Token:Thawte Personal Freemail CA" [,CN=Thawte Personal Freemail CA,OU=Certification Services Division,O=Thawte Consulting,L=Cape Town,ST=Western Cape,C=ZA]

             "Thawte Personal Freemail Issuing CA - Thawte Consulting" [CN=Thawte Personal Freemail Issuing CA,O=Thawte Consulting (Pty) Ltd.,C=ZA]

               "(null)" [,CN=Thawte Freemail Member]

       Resetting a Token

       The device which stores certificates -- both external hardware devices
       and internal software databases -- can be blanked and reused. This
       operation is performed on the device which stores the data, not
       directly on the security databases, so the location must be referenced
       through the token name (-h) as well as any directory path. If there is
       no external token used, the default value is internal.

           certutil -T -d [sql:]directory -h token-name -0 security-officer-password

       Many networks have dedicated personnel who handle changes to security
       tokens (the security officer). This person must supply the password to
       access the specified token. For example:

           $ certutil -T -d sql:/home/my/sharednssdb -h nethsm -0 secret

       Upgrading or Merging the Security Databases

       Many networks or applications may be using older BerkeleyDB versions of
       the certificate database (cert8.db). Databases can be upgraded to the
       new SQLite version of the database (cert9.db) using the --upgrade-merge
       command option or existing databases can be merged with the new
       cert9.db databases using the ---merge command.

       The --upgrade-merge command must give information about the original
       database and then use the standard arguments (like -d) to give the
       information about the new databases. The command also requires
       information that the tool uses for the process to upgrade and write
       over the original database.

           certutil --upgrade-merge -d [sql:]directory [-P dbprefix] --source-dir directory --source-prefix dbprefix --upgrade-id id --upgrade-token-name name [-@ password-file]

       For example:

           $ certutil --upgrade-merge -d sql:/home/my/sharednssdb --source-dir /opt/my-app/alias/ --source-prefix serverapp- --upgrade-id 1 --upgrade-token-name internal

       The --merge command only requires information about the location of the
       original database; since it doesn't change the format of the database,
       it can write over information without performing interim step.

           certutil --merge -d [sql:]directory [-P dbprefix] --source-dir directory --source-prefix dbprefix [-@ password-file]

       For example:

           $ certutil --merge -d sql:/home/my/sharednssdb --source-dir /opt/my-app/alias/ --source-prefix serverapp-

       Running certutil Commands from a Batch File

       A series of commands can be run sequentially from a text file with the
       -B command option. The only argument for this specifies the input file.

           $ certutil -B -i /path/to/batch-file


       NSS originally used BerkeleyDB databases to store security information.
       The last versions of these legacy databases are:

       o   cert8.db for certificates

       o   key3.db for keys

       o   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 BerkeleyDB. These new databases provide more
       accessibility and performance:

       o   cert9.db for certificates

       o   key4.db for keys

       o   pkcs11.txt, a 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:

           $ certutil -L -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 set added to the ~/.bashrc file to make the change

       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:



       pk12util (1)

       modutil (1)

       certutil has arguments or operations that use features defined in
       several IETF RFCs.




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




       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 releases.

       Mailing lists:

       IRC: Freenode at #dogtag-pki


       The NSS tools were written and maintained by developers with Netscape,
       Red Hat, Sun, Oracle, Mozilla, and Google.

       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                       27 October 2017                    certutil(1)

nss 3.35 - Generated Sat Jan 20 09:30:26 CST 2018
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