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Managing Encryption and Certificates in Oracle® Solaris 11.4

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Updated: May 2021

Cryptographic Services Glossary

These glossary entries cover words that can be ambiguous because they are used differently in different parts of the operating system, or have meanings in Oracle Solaris that are distinct from other operating systems.


In the Cryptographic Framework feature of Oracle Solaris, a consumer is a user of the cryptographic services that come from providers. Consumers can be applications, end users, or kernel operations. Kerberos, IKE, and IPsec are examples of consumers. For examples of providers, see provider.

cryptographic primitive

See primitive.

hardware provider

In the Cryptographic Framework feature of Oracle Solaris, a device driver and its hardware accelerator. Hardware providers offload expensive cryptographic operations from the computer system, thus freeing CPU resources for other uses. See also provider.


1. A message authentication code (MAC).

2. Also called labeling. In government security terminology, MAC is Mandatory Access Control. Labels such as Top Secret and Confidential are examples of MAC. MAC contrasts with DAC, which is Discretionary Access Control. UNIX permissions are an example of DAC.

3. In hardware, the unique system address on a LAN. If the system is on an Ethernet, the MAC is the Ethernet address.


1. A software package that specifies cryptographic techniques to achieve data authentication or confidentiality. Examples: Kerberos V5, Diffie-Hellman public key.

2. In the Cryptographic Framework feature of Oracle Solaris, an implementation of an algorithm for a particular purpose. For example, a DES mechanism that is applied to authentication, such as CKM_DES_MAC, is a separate mechanism from a DES mechanism that is applied to encryption, CKM_DES_CBC_PAD.

password policy

The encryption algorithms that can be used to generate passwords. Can also refer to more general issues around passwords, such as how often the passwords must be changed, how many password attempts are permitted, and other security considerations. Security policy requires passwords. Password policy might require passwords to be encrypted with the AES algorithm, and might make further requirements related to password strength.


Generally, a plan or course of action that influences or determines decisions and actions. For computer systems, policy typically means security policy. Your site's security policy is the set of rules that define the sensitivity of the information that is being processed and the measures that are used to protect the information from unauthorized access. For example, security policy might require that systems be audited, that devices must be allocated for use, and that passwords be changed every six weeks.

For the implementation of policy in specific areas of the Oracle Solaris OS, see policy in the Cryptographic Framework and password policy.

policy in the Cryptographic Framework

In the Cryptographic Framework feature of Oracle Solaris, policy is the disabling of existing cryptographic mechanisms. The mechanisms then cannot be used. Policy in the Cryptographic Framework might prevent the use of a particular mechanism, such as CKM_DES_CBC, from a provider, such as DES.

policy for public key technologies

In the Key Management Framework (KMF), policy is the management of certificate usage. The KMF policy database can put constraints on the use of the keys and certificates that are managed by the KMF library.


A well-established, low-level algorithm that functions as a basic building block in security systems. Primitives are designed to perform single tasks in a highly reliable fashion.


In the Cryptographic Framework feature of Oracle Solaris, a cryptographic service that is provided to consumers. PKCS #11 libraries, kernel cryptographic modules, and hardware accelerators are examples of providers. Providers plug in to the framework, so are also called plugins. For examples of consumers, see consumer.


An alternative to the all-or-nothing superuser model. User rights management and process rights management enable an organization to divide up superuser's privileges and assign them to users or roles. Rights in Oracle Solaris are implemented as kernel privileges, authorizations, and the ability to run a process as a specific UID or GID. Rights can be collected in a rights profile.

rights profile

Also referred to as a profile. A collection of security overrides that can be assigned to a role or user. A rights profile can include authorizations, privileges, commands with security attributes, and other rights profiles that are called supplementary profiles.

security mechanism

See mechanism.

security policy

See policy.

software provider

In the Cryptographic Framework feature of Oracle Solaris, a kernel software module or a PKCS #11 library that provides cryptographic services. See also provider.

superuser model

The typical UNIX model of security on a computer system. In the superuser model, an administrator has all-or-nothing control of the system. Typically, to administer the system, a user becomes superuser (root) and can do all administrative activities.


Entropy provider in kernel. Both kernel and userland have a NIST approved DRBG (Deterministic Random Bit Generator). See NIST Special Publication 800-90A.