Sorting Lists in Java

Learn how to sort a List in java. Use Java 8 Lambdas to compose sort conditions.

“You can only be afraid of what you think you know.”
― Jiddu Krishnamurti

1. Introduction

Sorting a list is a very common requirement when programming in java. Out of the box, java provides for sorting using a performant algorithm so there is no need to roll your own algo for the purpose. In this article, we demonstrate how to sort a list in java.

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Regular Expressions Examples

Learn how to build regular expression patterns for parsing phone numbers, emails, etc.

. Introduction

Regular Expressions provide a powerful method to handle parsing tasks while handling texts. Whether the problem is a simple search for a pattern, or splitting a string into components, regular expressions are widely used today.

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How to Convert Large CSV to JSON

Learn how to use Jackson Streaming to convert a large CSV to JSON.

“We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”
― Carl Sagan, Cosmos

1. Introduction

Let us today look into converting a large CSV to JSON without running into memory issues. This previous article showed how to parse CSV and output the data to JSON using Jackson. However, since that code loads the entire data into memory, it will run into issues loading large CSV files such as:

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Using Timer Class to Schedule Tasks

Learn how to use the Timer and the TimerTask classes to implement simple task scheduling for your application.

“Humor is reason gone mad.”
― Groucho Marx

1. Introduction

Scheduling tasks to run is a need which sometimes arises in a java program. Maybe you want to run periodic cleanup of some resource. Or check on the status of some job. Or maybe fetch a URL which might not be available the first time.

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How to Generate RSA Keys in Java

Learn how to generate RSA keys and digitally sign files in java.

1. Introduction

Let us learn the basics of generating and using RSA keys in Java.

Java provides classes for the generation of RSA public and private key pairs with the package java.security. You can use RSA keys pairs in public key cryptography.

Public key cryptography uses a pair of keys for encryption. Distribute the public key to whoever needs it but safely secure the private key.

Public key cryptography can be used in two modes:

Encryption: Only the private key can decrypt the data encrypted with the public key.

Authentication: Data encrypted with the private key can only be decrypted with the public key thus proving who the data came from.

2. Generating a Key Pair

First step in creating an RSA Key Pair is to create a KeyPairGenerator from a factory method by specifying the algorithm (“RSA” in this instance):

KeyPairGenerator kpg = KeyPairGenerator.getInstance("RSA");

Initialize the KeyPairGenerator with the key size. Use a key size of 1024 or 2048. Currently recommended key size for SSL certificates used in e-commerce is 2048 so that is what we use here.

kpg.initialize(2048);
KeyPair kp = kpg.generateKeyPair();

From the KeyPair object, get the public key using getPublic() and the private key using getPrivate().

Key pub = kp.getPublic();
Key pvt = kp.getPrivate();

3. Saving the Keys in Binary Format

Save the keys to hard disk once they are obtained. This allows re-using the keys for encryption, decryption and authentication.

String outFile = ...;
out = new FileOutputStream(outFile + ".key");
out.write(pvt.getEncoded());
out.close();

out = new FileOutputStream(outFile + ".pub");
out.write(pvt.getEncoded());
out.close();

What is the format of the saved files? The key information is encoded in different formats for different types of keys. Here is how you can find what format the key was saved in. On my machine, the private key was saved in PKCS#8 format and the public key in X.509 format. We need this information below to load the keys.

System.err.println("Private key format: " + pvt.getFormat());
// prints "Private key format: PKCS#8" on my machine

System.err.println("Public key format: " + pub.getFormat());
// prints "Public key format: X.509" on my machine

3.1. Load Private Key from File

After saving the private key to a file (or a database), you might need to load it at a later time. You can do that using the following code. Note that you need to know what format the data was saved in: PKCS#8 in our case.

/* Read all bytes from the private key file */
Path path = Paths.get(keyFile);
byte[] bytes = Files.readAllBytes(path);

/* Generate private key. */
PKCS8EncodedKeySpec ks = new PKCS8EncodedKeySpec(bytes);
KeyFactory kf = KeyFactory.getInstance("RSA");
PrivateKey pvt = kf.generatePrivate(ks);

3.2 Load Public Key from File

Load the public key from a file as follows. The public key has been saved in X.509 format so we use the X509EncodedKeySpec class to convert it.

/* Read all the public key bytes */
Path path = Paths.get(keyFile);
byte[] bytes = Files.readAllBytes(path);

/* Generate public key. */
X509EncodedKeySpec ks = new X509EncodedKeySpec(bytes);
KeyFactory kf = KeyFactory.getInstance("RSA");
PublicKey pub = kf.generatePublic(ks);

4. Use Base64 for Saving Keys as Text

Save the keys in text format by encoding the data in Base64. Java 8 provides a Base64 class which can be used for the purpose. Save the private key with a comment as follows:

Base64.Encoder encoder = Base64.getEncoder();

String outFile = ...;
Writer out = new FileWriter(outFile + ".key");
out.write("-----BEGIN RSA PRIVATE KEY-----\n");
out.write(encoder.encodeToString(pvt.getEncoded()));
out.write("\n-----END RSA PRIVATE KEY-----\n");
out.close();

And the public key too (with a comment):

out = new FileWriter(outFile + ".pub");
out.write("-----BEGIN RSA PUBLIC KEY-----\n");
out.write(encoder.encodeToString(kp.getPublic()));
out.write("\n-----END RSA PUBLIC KEY-----\n");
out.close();

5. Generating a Digital Signature

As mentioned above, one of the purposes of public key cryptography is digital signature i.e. you generate a digital signature from a file contents, sign it with your private key and send the signature along with the file. The recipient can then use your public key to verify that the signature matches the file contents.

Here is how you can do it. Use the signature algorithm “SHA256withRSA” which is guaranteed to be supported on all JVMs. Use the private key (either generated or load from file as shown above) to initialize the Signature object for signing. It is then updated with contents from the data file and the signature is generated and written to the output file. This output file contains the digital signature and must be sent to the recipient for verification.

Signature sign = Signature.getInstance("SHA256withRSA");
sign.initSign(pvt);

InputStream in = null;
try {
    in = new FileInputStream(dataFile);
    byte[] buf = new byte[2048];
    int len;
    while ((len = in.read(buf)) != -1) {
    sign.update(buf, 0, len);
    }
} finally {
    if ( in != null ) in.close();
}

OutputStream out = null;
try {
    out = new FileOutputStream(signFile);
    byte[] signature = sign.sign();
    out.write(signature);
} finally {
    if ( out != null ) out.close();
}

6. Verifying the Digital Signature

The recipient uses the digital signature sent with a data file to verify that the data file has not been tampered with. It requires access to the sender’s public key and can be loaded from a file if necessary as presented above.

The code below updates the Signature object with data from the data file. It then loads the signature from file and uses Signature.verify() to check if the signature is valid.

Signature sign = Signature.getInstance("SHA256withRSA");
sign.initVerify(pub);

InputStream in = null;
try {
    in = new FileInputStream(dataFile);
    byte[] buf = new byte[2048];
    int len;
    while ((len = in.read(buf)) != -1) {
    sign.update(buf, 0, len);
    }
} finally {
    if ( in != null ) in.close();
}

/* Read the signature bytes from file */
path = Paths.get(signFile);
bytes = Files.readAllBytes(path);
System.out.println(dataFile + ": Signature " +
   (sign.verify(bytes) ? "OK" : "Not OK"));

And that in a nutshell is how you can use RSA public and private keys for digital signature and verification.

Source Code

Go here for the source code.