SSL Part 2 – HTTPS – What is java truststore and identity store

In Part 1 we covered the basics of SSL, PKI. CA. Before we move to Part 3, it is important to understand the difference between trust store and identity store. This discussion is kind of specific how SSL works in Java. From little background in .NET this is identical but term could be little different.

In Java certificate are stored in file called Java Key Store (JKS) file. This has extend .jks. I am using Keystore Explorer utility to show you the internal of jks file, you can keytool that comes with java, but it outputs in text and hard to visualize.

Trust Store 

This jks stores all public certificate of all the entities that we trust. In java, under jdk or jre install you will find trust store to be located at \lib\security\cacerts (this jks file even though it does not have extension). The default password for it is “changeit”. It will ask for this when you try to open it. 

 part 1 pic 1


Identity Store 

Some call this keystore. This is jks file that store my entity’s public certificate along with private key.  This file does not come with java out of box. (You can either create one using keytool or you can use keystore explorer). Typically you will have 1 or in some cases handful of entries in this file.

part 1 pic 2

 As you will see in this snapshot, this enter looks different that other enters in truststore. Trust store has all entries with symbol of certificate besides it, in identity store beside you will pair of key, and lock. The keypair indicate that this has both private and public key, lock symbol indicates the private key is locked using passphrase.


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