pki-server-nuxwdog - Man Page

Command-line interface for enabling PKI server instances to start using nuxwdog.


pki-server [CLI-options] nuxwdog
pki-server [CLI-options] nuxwdog-enable
pki-server [CLI-options] nuxwdog-disable


When a PKI server instance starts, it reads a plain text configuration file (i.e. /etc/pki/instance_name/password.conf) to obtain passwords needed to initialize the server. This could include passwords needed to access server keys in hardware or software cryptographic modules, or passwords to establish database connections.

While this file is protected by file and SELinux permissions, it is even more secure to remove this file entirely, and have the server prompt for these passwords on startup. This means of course that it will not be possible to start the PKI server instance unattended, including on server reboots.

nuxwdog is a mechanism to start PKI server without storing passwords in file (i.e. password.conf); but prompt the administrator for the relevant passwords. These passwords will be cached securely in the kernel keyring. If the CS instance crashes unexpectedly, systemd will attempt to restart the instance using the cached passwords.

PKI server instances need to be reconfigured to use nuxwdog to start. Not only are changes required in instance configuration files, but instances need to use a different systemd unit file to start. See details in the Operations section.

pki-server nuxwdog commands provide a mechanism to reconfigure instances to either start or not start with nuxwdog.

pki-server [CLI-options] nuxwdog
   This command is to list available nuxwdog commands.

pki-server [CLI-options] nuxwdog-enable
   This command is to reconfigure ALL local PKI server instances to start using nuxwdog.
   To reconfigure a particular PKI server instance only, use pki-server instance-nuxwdog-enable.

pki-server [CLI-options] nuxwdog-disable
   This command is to reconfigure ALL local PKI server instances to start without using nuxwdog.
   To reconfigure a particular PKI server instance only, use pki-server instance-nuxwdog-disable.
   Once this operation is complete, instances will need to read a  password.conf file in order to start up.


The CLI options are described in pki-server(8).


Configuring a PKI server instance to start using nuxwdog requires changes to instance configuration files such as server.xml. These changes are performed by pki-server.

Once a subsystem has been converted to using nuxwdog, the password.conf file is no longer needed. It can be removed from the filesystem. Be sure, of course, to note all passwords contained therein - some of which may be randomly generated during the install.

Note: If a subsystem stores any of its system certificates in a cryptographic token other than the internal NSS database, it will have entries in password.conf that look like hardware-TOKEN_NAME=password. In this case, an additional parameter must be added to CS.cfg.


When this parameter is added, nuxwdog will prompt the password for hardware-TOKEN_NAME in addition to the other passwords.

An instance that is started by nuxwdog is started by a different systemd unit file (pki-tomcatd-nuxwdog). Therefore, to start/stop/restart an instance using the following:

$ systemctl <start/stop/restart> pki-tomcatd-nuxwdog@<instance_id>.service

If the PKI server instance is converted back to not using nuxwdog to start, then the usual systemd unit scripts can be invoked:

$ systemctl <start/stop/restart> pki-tomcatd@<instance_id>.service

See Also

   PKI server management commands


Ade Lee &lt;; and Dinesh Prasanth M K &lt;;

Referenced By


December 20, 2018 PKI Nuxwdog Management Commands