World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Network Security Services


Network Security Services

Network Security Services
Developer(s) Mozilla, AOL, Red Hat, Sun Microsystems, Oracle Corporation, Google and others
Stable release 3.20 (August 19, 2015 (2015-08-19)[1])
Written in C, assembly
Operating system Cross-platform
Platform Cross-platform
Type libraries
License MPL 2.0
Website /NSS/docs/

In computing, Network Security Services (NSS) comprises a set of libraries designed to support cross-platform development of security-enabled client and server applications with optional support for hardware TLS/SSL acceleration on the server side and hardware smart cards on the client side. NSS provides a complete open-source implementation of cryptographic libraries supporting Transport Layer Security (TLS) / Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and S/MIME. Previously tri-licensed under the Mozilla Public License 1.1, the GNU General Public License, and the GNU Lesser General Public License, NSS upgraded to GPL-compatible MPL 2.0 with release 3.14.[2]


  • History 1
    • FIPS 140 validation and NISCC testing 1.1
  • Applications that use NSS 2
  • Architecture 3
    • Software development kit 3.1
    • Interoperability and open standards 3.2
    • Hardware support 3.3
    • Java support 3.4
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


NSS originated from the libraries developed when Netscape invented the SSL security protocol.

FIPS 140 validation and NISCC testing

The NSS software crypto module has been validated five times (1997, 1999, 2002, 2007, and 2010) for conformance to FIPS 140 at Security Levels 1 and 2.[3] NSS was the first open source cryptographic library to receive FIPS 140 validation.[3] The NSS libraries passed the NISCC TLS/SSL and S/MIME test suites (1.6 million test cases of invalid input data).[3]

Applications that use NSS

AOL, Red Hat, Sun Microsystems/Oracle Corporation, Google and other companies and individual contributors have co-developed NSS. Mozilla provides the source code repository, bug tracking system, and infrastructure for mailing lists and discussion groups. They and others named below use NSS in a variety of products, including the following:


NSS includes a framework to which developers and OEMs can contribute patches, such as assembly code, to optimize performance on their platforms. Mozilla has certified NSS 3.x on 18 platforms.[7][8] NSS makes use of Netscape Portable Runtime (NSPR), a platform-neutral open-source API for system functions designed to facilitate cross-platform development. Like NSS, NSPR has been used heavily in multiple products.

Software development kit

In addition to libraries and APIs, NSS provides security tools required for debugging, diagnostics, certificate and key management, cryptography-module management, and other development tasks. NSS comes with an extensive and growing set of documentation, including introductory material, API references, man pages for command-line tools, and sample code.

Programmers can utilize NSS as source and as shared (dynamic) libraries. Every NSS release is backward-compatible with previous releases, allowing NSS users to upgrade to new NSS shared libraries without recompiling or relinking their applications.

Interoperability and open standards

NSS supports a range of security standards, including the following:[9][1]

  • TLS 1.0 (RFC 2246), 1.1 (RFC 4346), and 1.2 (RFC 5246). The Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol from the IETF supersedes SSL v3.0 while remaining backward-compatible with SSL v3 implementations.
  • SSL 2.0 and 3.0. The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol allows mutual authentication between a client and server and the establishment of an authenticated and encrypted connection.
  • DTLS 1.0 (RFC 4347) and 1.2 (RFC 6347).
  • DTLS-SRTP (RFC 5764).
  • The following PKCS standards:
    • PKCS #1. RSA standard that governs implementation of public-key cryptography based on the RSA algorithm.
    • PKCS #3. RSA standard that governs implementation of Diffie–Hellman key agreement.
    • PKCS #5. RSA standard that governs password-based cryptography, for example to encrypt private keys for storage.
    • PKCS #7. RSA standard that governs the application of cryptography to data, for example digital signatures and digital envelopes.
    • PKCS #8. RSA standard that governs the storage and encryption of private keys.
    • PKCS #9. RSA standard that governs selected attribute types, including those used with PKCS #7, PKCS #8, and PKCS #10.
    • PKCS #10. RSA standard that governs the syntax for certificate requests.
    • PKCS #11. RSA standard that governs communication with cryptographic tokens (such as hardware accelerators and smart cards) and permits application independence from specific algorithms and implementations.
    • PKCS #12. RSA standard that governs the format used to store or transport private keys, certificates, and other secret material.
  • Cryptographic Message Syntax, used in S/MIME (RFC 2311 and RFC 2633). IETF message specification (based on the popular Internet MIME standard) that provides a consistent way to send and receive signed and encrypted MIME data.
  • X.509 v3. ITU standard that governs the format of certificates used for authentication in public-key cryptography.
  • OCSP (RFC 2560). The Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP) governs real-time confirmation of certificate validity.
  • PKIX Certificate and CRL Profile (RFC 3280). The first part of the four-part standard under development by the Public-Key Infrastructure (X.509) working group of the IETF (known as PKIX) for a public-key infrastructure for the Internet.
  • RSA, DSA, ECDSA, Diffie–Hellman, EC Diffie–Hellman, AES, Triple DES, Camellia, IDEA, SEED, DES, RC2, RC4, SHA-1, SHA-256, SHA-384, SHA-512, MD2, MD5, HMAC: Common cryptographic algorithms used in public-key and symmetric-key cryptography.
  • FIPS 186-2 pseudorandom number generator.

Hardware support

NSS supports the PKCS #11 interface for access to cryptographic hardware like SSL accelerators, HSM-s and smart cards. Since most hardware vendors such as SafeNet Inc. and Thales also support this interface, NSS-enabled applications can work with high-speed crypto hardware and use private keys residing on various smart cards, if vendors provide the necessary middleware. NSS version 3.13 and above support the Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions (AES-NI).[10]

Java support

Network Security Services for Java (JSS) consists of a Java interface to NSS. It supports most of the security standards and encryption technologies supported by NSS. JSS also provides a pure Java interface for ASN.1 types and BER/DER encoding. The Mozilla CVS tree makes source code for a Java interface to NSS available.

See also


  1. ^ a b "NSS 3.20 release notes".  
  2. ^ "NSS 3.14 release notes". MDN. Mozilla Developer Network. Retrieved 2015-09-01. The NSS license has changed to MPL 2.0. Previous releases were released under a MPL 1.1/GPL 2.0/LGPL 2.1 tri-license. 
  3. ^ a b c "FIPS".  
  4. ^ "Does Fennec use NSS?". newsgroup. April 2010. Retrieved 2013-05-17. 
  5. ^ "External: Chrome, NSS, and OpenSSL". 2014-01-26. Retrieved 2014-06-22. 
  6. ^ "The Chromium Project: BoringSSL". Retrieved 2015-03-06. 
  7. ^ "Network Security Services".  
  8. ^ "NSS FAQ".  
  9. ^ "Encryption Technologies Available in NSS 3.11".  
  10. ^ "AES-NI enhancements to NSS on Sandy Bridge systems". 2012-05-02. Retrieved 2013-05-17. 

External links

  • Network Security Services
  • Network Security Services
  • JSS toolkit
  • "Validated FIPS 140-1 and FIPS 140-2 Cryptographic Modules: 1997".  
  • "Validated FIPS 140-1 and FIPS 140-2 Cryptographic Modules: 2002".  
  • "Validated FIPS 140-1 and FIPS 140-2 Cryptographic Modules: 2010".  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.