Dealing with Self-signed Certificates

When working in a corporate environment, you’ll often have to deal with self-signed certificates that are used to secure internal dev tools like Artifactory or a git server.

If your PC isn’t setup to trust these certificates, you’ll get an error like: PKIX path building failed: unable to find valid certification path to requested target

Atlassian has some really good documentation around this including a small utility named SSLPoke that you can use to test connectivity.

java SSLPoke yourserver.local 443
# optionally add"C:\some\path\to\cacerts" to point to a specific keystore

If you point to a keystore which can’t be found, you’ll get this especially cryptic error:

java.lang.RuntimeException: Unexpected error: the trustAnchors parameter must be non-empty

Now that you can reproduce the issue, export the self-signed certificate from the server using one of two ways.

Using Chrome Dev Tools

In chrome, open dev tools -> Security tab -> View Certificate.

Go to the details tab, and click Copy to File.

Choose DER encoded binary X.509 (.CER).

Save to your PC as yourserver.cer.

Convert the .cer to a .pem:

openssl x509 -inform der -in yourserver.cer -out yourserver.pem

Using openssl

If you have git bash, then you can run this easily on Windows:

echo "" | openssl s_client -servername yourserver.local -connect yourserver.local:443 -prexit 2>/dev/null | sed -n -e '/BEGIN\ CERTIFICATE/,/END\ CERTIFICATE/ p'

Save this output as yourserver.pem.

Import the pem into your keystore

Now all that is left is to import it into your local keystore which will exist somewhere like C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.8.0_72\jre\lib\security\. You may have to add it to multiple keystores if you use an IDE like IntelliJ which comes with its down embedded JDK C:\Program Files\JetBrains\IntelliJ IDEA 2017.3.2\jre64\lib\security\.

To import:

keytool -import -noprompt -trustcacerts -alias yourserver -file yourserver.pem -keystore cacerts -storepass changeit

Test again with SSLPoke to verify you get the Successfully connected message!