Key

public interface Key implements Serializable
Known Indirect Subclasses

The Key interface is the top-level interface for all keys. It defines the functionality shared by all key objects. All keys have three characteristics:

  • An Algorithm

    This is the key algorithm for that key. The key algorithm is usually an encryption or asymmetric operation algorithm (such as DSA or RSA), which will work with those algorithms and with related algorithms (such as MD5 with RSA, SHA-1 with RSA, Raw DSA, etc.) The name of the algorithm of a key is obtained using the getAlgorithm method.

  • An Encoded Form

    This is an external encoded form for the key used when a standard representation of the key is needed outside the Java Virtual Machine, as when transmitting the key to some other party. The key is encoded according to a standard format (such as X.509 SubjectPublicKeyInfo or PKCS#8), and is returned using the getEncoded method. Note: The syntax of the ASN.1 type SubjectPublicKeyInfo is defined as follows:

     SubjectPublicKeyInfo ::= SEQUENCE {
       algorithm AlgorithmIdentifier,
       subjectPublicKey BIT STRING }
    
     AlgorithmIdentifier ::= SEQUENCE {
       algorithm OBJECT IDENTIFIER,
       parameters ANY DEFINED BY algorithm OPTIONAL }
     
    For more information, see RFC 3280: Internet X.509 Public Key Infrastructure Certificate and CRL Profile.

  • A Format

    This is the name of the format of the encoded key. It is returned by the getFormat method.

Keys are generally obtained through key generators, certificates, or various Identity classes used to manage keys. Keys may also be obtained from key specifications (transparent representations of the underlying key material) through the use of a key factory (see KeyFactory).

A Key should use KeyRep as its serialized representation. Note that a serialized Key may contain sensitive information which should not be exposed in untrusted environments. See the Security Appendix of the Serialization Specification for more information.

Constant Summary

long serialVersionUID The class fingerprint that is set to indicate serialization compatibility with a previous version of the class.

Public Method Summary

abstract String
getAlgorithm()
Returns the standard algorithm name for this key.
abstract byte[]
getEncoded()
Returns the key in its primary encoding format, or null if this key does not support encoding.
abstract String
getFormat()
Returns the name of the primary encoding format of this key, or null if this key does not support encoding.

Constants

public static final long serialVersionUID

The class fingerprint that is set to indicate serialization compatibility with a previous version of the class.

Constant Value: 6603384152749567654

Public Methods

public abstract String getAlgorithm ()

Returns the standard algorithm name for this key. For example, "DSA" would indicate that this key is a DSA key. See Appendix A in the Java Cryptography Architecture API Specification & Reference for information about standard algorithm names.

Returns
  • the name of the algorithm associated with this key.

public abstract byte[] getEncoded ()

Returns the key in its primary encoding format, or null if this key does not support encoding.

Returns
  • the encoded key, or null if the key does not support encoding.

public abstract String getFormat ()

Returns the name of the primary encoding format of this key, or null if this key does not support encoding. The primary encoding format is named in terms of the appropriate ASN.1 data format, if an ASN.1 specification for this key exists. For example, the name of the ASN.1 data format for public keys is SubjectPublicKeyInfo, as defined by the X.509 standard; in this case, the returned format is "X.509". Similarly, the name of the ASN.1 data format for private keys is PrivateKeyInfo, as defined by the PKCS #8 standard; in this case, the returned format is "PKCS#8".

Returns
  • the primary encoding format of the key.