Configuring the MobileFirst Server Keystore

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A keystore is a repository of security keys and certificates that is used to verify and authenticate the validity of parties involved in a network transaction. The MobileFirst Server keystore defines the identity of MobileFirst Server instances, and is used to digitally sign OAuth tokens and Direct Update packages. In addition, when an adapter communicates with a back-end server using mutual HTTPS (SSL) authentication, the keystore is used to validate the SSL-client identity of the MobileFirst Server instance.

For production-level security, during the move from development to production the administrator must configure MobileFirst Server to use a user-defined keystore. The default MobileFirst Server keystore is intended to be used only during development.


  • To use the keystore to verify the authenticity of a Direct Update package, statically bind the application with the public key of the MobileFirst Server identity that is defined in the keystore. See Implementing secure Direct Update on the client side.
  • Reconfiguring the MobileFirst Server keystore after production should be considered carefully. Changing the configuration has the following potential effects:
    • The client might need to acquire a new OAuth token in place of a token signed with the previous keystore. In most cases, this process is transparent to the application.
    • If the client application is bound to a public key that does not match the MobileFirst Server identity in the new keystore configuration, Direct Update fails. To continue getting updates, bind the application with the new public key, and republish the application. Alternatively, change the keystore configuration again to match the public key to which the application is bound. See Implementing secure Direct Update on the client side.
    • For mutual SSL authentication, if the SSL-client identity alias and password that are configured in the adapter are not found in the new keystore, or do not match the SSL certifications, SSL authentication fails. See the adapter configuration information in Step 2 of the following procedure.


  1. Create a Java keystore (JKS) or PKCS 12 keystore file with an alias that contains a key pair that defines the identity of your MobileFirst Server. If you already have an appropriate keystore file, skip to the next step.

    Note: The type of the alias key-pair algorithm must be RSA. The following instructions explain how to set the algorithm type to RSA when using the keytool utility.

    You can use a third-party tool to create the keystore file. For example, you can generate a JKS keystore file by running the Java keytool utility with the following command (where <keystore name> is the name of your keystore and <alias name> is your selected alias):

    keytool -keystore <keystore name> -genkey -alias <alias name> -keylag RSA

    The following sample command generates a my_company.keystore JKS file with a my_alias alias:

    keytool -keystore my_company.keystore -genkey -alias my_alias -keyalg RSA

    The utility prompts you to provide different input parameters, including the passwords for your keystore file and alias.

    Note: You must set the -keyalg RSA option to set the type of the generated key algorithm to RSA instead of the default DSA.

    To use the keystore for mutual SSL authentication between an adapter and a back-end server, also add a Mobile Foundation SSL-client identity alias to the keystore. You can do this by using the same method that you used to create the keystore file with the MobileFirst Server identity alias, but provide instead the alias and password for the SSL-client identity.

  2. Configure MobileFirst Server to use your keystore: Follow the steps below to configure MobileFirst Server to use your keystore:

    • Javascript adapter In the MobileFirst Operations Console navigation sidebar, select Runtime Settings, and then select the Keystore tab. Follow the instructions on this tab to configure your user-defined MobileFirst Server keystore. The steps include uploading your keystore file, indicating its type and providing your keystore password, the name of your MobileFirst Server identity alias, and the alias password. When configured successfully, the Status changes to User Defined, else an error is displayed and the status remains Default. The SSL-client identity alias (if used) and its password are configured in the descriptor file of the relevant adapter, within the <sslCertificateAlias> and <sslCertificatePassword> subelements of the <connectionPolicy> element. See HTTP adapter connectionPolicy element.

    • Java adapter To configure mutual SSL authentication for Java adapter the server’s keystore needs to be updated. This can be done by following the steps below:

      • Copy the keystore file to <ServerInstallation>/mfp-server/usr/servers/mfp/resources/security

      • Edit server.xml file <ServerInstallation>/mfp-server/usr/servers/mfp/server.xml.

      • Update the keysore configuration with the right file name, password and type <keyStore id=“defaultKeyStore” location=<Keystore name> password=<Keystore password> type=<Keystore type> />

If you are deploying using Mobile Foundation service on IBM Cloud, you can upload the keystore file under Advanced settings before deploying the server.

Inclusive terminology note: The Mobile First Platform team is making changes to support the IBM® initiative to replace racially biased and other discriminatory language in our code and content with more inclusive language. While IBM values the use of inclusive language, terms that are outside of IBM's direct influence are sometimes required for the sake of maintaining user understanding. As other industry leaders join IBM in embracing the use of inclusive language, IBM will continue to update the documentation to reflect those changes.
Last modified on December 12, 2017