pesign - Man Page

tool for signing UEFI applications


pesign-i file [-o file] [-f] [-n directory] [-t token] [-c nickname] [-u number] [-m file] [-e file] [-I file] [-E file] [-R file] [-K file] [-C file] [-a] [-l] [-S] [-v] ⟨-s | -D [-N] | -r | -h [-d digest] [-P | -p]⟩


pesign is a command line tool for manipulating signatures and cryptographic digests of UEFI applications.


-i file | --in file

Input PE file for signing

-o file | --out file

Output PE file for signing

-f | --force

Overwrite existing file specified with --out

-n directory | --certdir directory

Use the NSS Database in directory (default: /etc/pki/pesign)

-t token | --token token

Use the NSS token named token

-c nickname | --certificate nickname

Use the certificate called nickname in the NSS Database

-u number | --signature-number number

Signature number, indexed from 0, for use with --remove-signature, --export-signature, or --show-signature (default: 0)

-m file | --import-signature file

Import Authenticode signature from file

-e file | --export-signature file

Export Authenticode signature to file

-I file | --import-signed-attributes file

Import PKCS-7 SignedAttributes (with no signature) from file

-E file | --export-signed-attributes file

Export PKCS-7 SignedAttributes (with no signature) to file

-R file | --import-raw-signature file

Import signature digest from file

-K file | --export-pubkey file

Export public key from the NSS Database specified by --token and --certificate to file

-C file | --export-cert file

Export certificate from the NSS Database specified by --token and --certificate to file

-a | --ascii-armor

When exporting certificates, encode them in ascii-armor

-l | --list-signatures

List signatures

-S | --show-signature

Show information about signatures

-v | --verbose

Be more verbose

-s | --sign

Create a new signature

-D | --daemonize

Run as a daemon

-N | --nofork

Do not fork when daemonizing (daemon runs in foreground)

-r | --remove-signature

Remove signature

-h | --hash

Display the Authenticode hash of the binary

-d digest | --digest-type digest

Use the cryptorgaphic digest with --hash (use help to list options) (default: sha256)

-P | --padding | -p | --nopadding

Do or do not pad the binary according to PE 9.3 rules before signing or hashing (default: --padding)

Padding is recommended (and in many circumstances required) even for binaries which predate the current PE spec, and is enabled by default as of pesign 113.


Signing with the certificate and private key in individual files

If you have a certificate file and private key file, the following steps may be used to sign a PE image:

# Create a pkcs12 file from private key and certificate file.
host:~$ openssl pkcs12 -export -out foo_key.p12 \
        -inkey signing_key.pem -in xyz_cert.x509.pem

# Import pkcs12 file into pesign db
host:~$ pk12util -i foo_key.p12 -d /etc/pki/pesign

# Do the signing
host:~$ pesign -c my-signing-cert -s \
        -i foo.unsigned.efi -o foo.signed.efi

Please note that this is just an example, and that recommended best practice is to always store private keys in a FIPS 140-2 Hardware Security Module (HSM), level 2 or higher.

Signing using an HSM

If you have a key pair in your HSM and your HSM vendor provides a PKCS-11 library, you can use it with NSS directly:

# Add the HSM PKCS-11 library to the NSS database
host:~$ modutil -dbdir /etc/pki/pesign -add vendor-engine \
        -libfile /usr/lib64/pkcs11/
WARNING: Performing this operation while the browser is running
could cause corruption of your security databases. If the browser
is currently running, you should exit browser before continuing
this operation. Type
'q <enter>' to abort, or <enter> to continue: <type enter here>

Module "vendor-engine" added to database.

# List the added module
host:~$ modutil -dbdir /etc/pki/pesign -list
  1. NSS Internal PKCS #11 Module
	   uri: pkcs11:library-manufacturer=Mozilla%20Foundation;library-description=NSS%20Internal%20Crypto%20Services;library-version=3.52
	 slots: 2 slots attached
	status: loaded

	 slot: NSS Internal Cryptographic Services
	token: NSS Generic Crypto Services
	  uri: pkcs11:token=NSS%20Generic%20Crypto%20Services;manufacturer=Mozilla%20Foundation;serial=0000000000000000;model=NSS%203

	 slot: NSS User Private Key and Certificate Services
	token: NSS Certificate DB
	  uri: pkcs11:token=NSS%20Certificate%20DB;manufacturer=Mozilla%20Foundation;serial=0000000000000000;model=NSS%203

	library name: /usr/lib64/pkcs11/
	   uri: pkcs11:library-manufacturer=OpenSC%20Project;library-description=OpenSC%20smartcard%20framework;library-version=0.20
	 slots: 1 slot attached
	status: loaded

	 slot: Generic Smart Card Reader Interface [Smart Card Reader Interf...
	token: OpenSC Card (myorg-sb-signer)
	  uri: pkcs11:token=OpenSC%20Card%20(myorg-sb-signer);manufacturer=OpenSC%20Project;serial=56516a130f35;model=PKCS%2315

# List certs in tokens
host:~$ certutil -d /etc/pki/pesign \
        -h "OpenSC Card (myorg-sb-signer)" -L
Certificate Nickname                             Trust Attributes

Enter Password or Pin for "OpenSC Card (myorg-sb-signer)": <type the PIN here>
OpenSC Card (myorg-sb-signer):/CN=My Org's SB Signer    u,u,u

# Sign with private key in HSM
host:~$ pesign -t "OpenSC Card (myorg-sb-signer)" \
        -c "OpenSC Card (myorg-sb-signer):/CN=My Org's SB Signer" \
        -s -i foo.unsigned.efi -o foo.efi

Signing using an HSM with an OpenSSL Engine

If you have a key pair in your HSM but can't access it directly, but do have access to the openssl command line tool configured with your vendor's libraries, you can still use pesign to sign your PE binaries:

# Import the public certificate into the NSS Database
host:~$ certutil -d /etc/pki/pesign -A -n myorg-sb-signer \
        -t ,,u -i myorg-sb-signer.cer

# Export the PKCS-7 SignedAttributes section pesign generates
host:~$ pesign -i foo.unsigned.efi -E foo.sattrs.bin

# Generate a signature using OpenSSL
host:~$ openssl dgst -sha256 -sign $KEY \
        --keyform ENGINE --engine $ENGINEID \
        -out foo.sattrs.sig foo.sattrs.bin

# Import the signature with the original SignedAttributes into
# the PE binary
host:~$ pesign -c myorg-sb-signer \
        -R foo.sattrs.sig -I foo.sattrs.bin \
        -i foo.unsigned.efi -o foo.efi


B. Kaliski, PKCS #7: Cryptographic Message Syntax v1.5, Internet Engineering Task Force, RFC 2315, , March 1998.

K. Moriarty, M. Nyström, S. Parkinson, A. Rusch, and M. Scott, PKCS #12: Personal Information Exchange Syntax v1.1, Internet Engineering Task Force, RFC 7292, , July 2014.

PKCS11 Technical Committee, PKCS#11: Cryptographic Token Interface Standard, OASIS,

M. Nyström, PKCS #15—A Cryptographic-Token Information Format Standard, RSA Laboratories, , 1999.

Portable Executable, Microsoft, , August 26, 2019.

Windows Authenticode Portable Executable Signature Format, Microsoft, , March 21, 2008.

Federal Information Processing Standard 140-2, United States Department of Commerce, FIPS 140-2, , National Institute of Standards and Technology.

See Also

certutil(1), efikeygen(1), modutil(1), opensc-tool(1), openssl(1ssl), openssl-dgst(1ssl), pesign-client(1), pk12util(1), pkcs15-init(1),


Peter Jones
Vikas Charak (examples)

Referenced By

authvar(1), efikeygen(1), efisecdb(1), pesigcheck(1), pesign-client(1).

June 4, 2020