Most PK11 crypto operation failures set the SEC_ERROR_IO error code.

Assigned to


14 years ago
8 years ago


(Reporter: wtc, Assigned: wtc)


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14 years ago
In the past two weeks two NSS users reported that an
NSS crypto function failed with the SEC_ERROR_IO error

Looking at our source code, I found that this is
because in lib/softoken/pkcs11c.c, we return CKR_DEVICE_ERROR
when (*context->update)() fails, ignoring the error code
set by (*context->update)(), which is some function in
lib/freebl, and then lib/pk11wrap maps CKR_DEVICE_ERROR

I've since changed our error code documentation at
to say:

SEC_ERROR_IO  An I/O error occurred during authentication; or
              an error occurred during crypto operation (other
              than signature verification).

Note: If (*context->verify)() fails, lib/softoken/pkcs11c.c
returns CKR_SIGNATURE_INVALID, which lib/pk11wrap maps to
SEC_ERROR_BAD_SIGNATURE, hence the "(other than signature verification)"
in the SSL Reference.

Is this new description of SEC_ERROR_IO clear?  Do we
need to do more?
IMO, yes, we need to greatly improve our error reporting.  
There are FAR too many places where we report some generic error 
instead of a useful one, even in cases where a useful one is defined.
IMO, SEC_ERROR_IO should be reserved for failures that *cannot* be 
better diagnosed.  
I think we should consider any occurence of SEC_ERROR_IO at the 
end of a cryptographic operation that did not involve hardware to be
a BUG in NSS.  
Another bug that is used far too often (and in cases where it is simply
wrong) is SEC_ERROR_NO_MEMORY.  

Comment 2

14 years ago
I plan to fix this bug as follows.  Please review
this strategy.

1. Compile a list of all NSS error codes set by the
functions in lib/freebl.

2. Create a table that maps those NSS error codes to
PKCS #11's function return values (CKR_xx).  Section
11.1 "Function return values" in PKCS #11 v2.20 is
useful for this step.

3. Implement a function in lib/softoken that maps
those NSS error codes to PKCS #11 function return
values and have lib/softoken call this function
when (*context->update)() fails.

4. Finally, review the PK11_MapError function in
lib/pk11wrap, which should be the inverse of the
lib/softoken error code mapping function.
QA Contact: bishakhabanerjee → jason.m.reid
QA Contact: jason.m.reid → libraries
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