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CMS vs pkcs12

Posted on 2014-04-13
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Last Modified: 2014-04-14
What is CMS,

What is pkcs12

What is the difference
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Question by:Anthony Lucia
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Author Comment

by:Anthony Lucia
ID: 39997981
Actuall, I think I should have phrased it this way

what is the difference between

jks 

pkcs 

p12 / pfx 

CMS

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by:Dave Howe
Dave Howe earned 2000 total points
ID: 39998565
jks - java keystore, an encrypted container for holding private keys and x509 style public certs designed by sun for the java language (and not used anywhere else)

pkcs - a series of standards by the RSA company for encryption; a full list can be found here but the tl;dr; version is
12 - standard for a container for both private key and certificate chain (encrypted) - pfx file
10 - standard for a container for a certificate signing request - csr file
7 - standard for a container for a certificate chain without private key - cer file, p7b file - OR an encrypted file/message.


p12/pfx - see above

CMS - a variant of pkcs#7 used for (mostly) S/MIME encrypted mail.
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by:Dave Howe
Dave Howe earned 2000 total points
ID: 39998570
Oh, and to avoid confusion - the reason #7 is both a certificate store format AND a message format is both of them are essentially the same task - a blob of data that has been digitally signed and/or encrypted.

For the cert, that is of course the various fields that make up its data, for the message, that's the message itself.
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Author Comment

by:Anthony Lucia
ID: 39999070
So is a .pfx equivalent to a .jks ?
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Accepted Solution

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Dave Howe earned 2000 total points
ID: 39999078
yes and no. They are both container formats for keys, but their file structure and usage cases are completely different. JKS is routinely used as a working keystore for java programs, PFX is largely used as a data interchange format importing and exporting from data stores.
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