Generating and Uploading a Shared Key (Symmetric Key) to DataPower Appliances

DataPower does not seem to provide a tool to generate a Shared Key that can be used with 3DES or AES algorithms.  DataPower does provide a tool for generating X509 private keys, certificate requests, and self-signed certificates-in the Crypto Tools section-but we are concerned with Shared Keys today.  This post will show you how to generate a shared key and use with it with DataPower.

A Shared Key is a cryptographic key that is used by a symmetric key algorithm such as 3DES or AES.  A key can be any length; common algorithm lengths are usually a power of two

It is fairly easy to generate a Shared Key at the Unix command line using the information provided here.  For example, for a 256 bit key, use the following command:

$ dd if=/dev/random count=32 bs=1 | xxd -ps
32+0 records in
32+0 records out
32 bytes (32 B) copied, 0.0176411 s, 1.8 kB/s

The highlighted line above is the 256 bit key.

To generate a 128 bit key, use -count=16.

To generate a 192 bit key, use -count=24.

To generate a 256 bit key, use -count=32.

  • Put the hex string generated by this command into a file called secret.key.
  • Upload the key to the cert:/// directory on the appliance.
  • Navigate to Objects->Crypto Configuration->Crypto Shared Secret Key.
  • Click Add.
  • Enter a name for the shared key.
  • From the drop down, chose the secret.key file that was uploaded a moment ago.
  • Click Apply.
  • If no errors are displayed, the key was successfully read.
  • Click Save.

This Crypto Shared Key object can now be used by Actions and XSLT functions that required a Shared Key for cryptographic operations.