pki -gen(1) Generate a new RSA or ECDSA private key


[ --type type ] [ --size bits ] [ --safe-primes ] [ --shares n ] [ --threshold l ] [ --outform encoding ] [ --debug level ] --options~file -h | --help


This sub-command of pki(1) is used to generate a new RSA or ECDSA private key.


-h, --help
Print usage information with a summary of the available options.
-v, --debug level
Set debug level, default: 1.
-+, --options file
Read command line options from file.
-t, --type type
Type of key to generate. Either rsa or ecdsa, defaults to rsa.
-s, --size bits
Key length in bits. Defaults to 2048 for rsa and 384 for ecdsa. For ecdsa only three values are currently supported: 256, 384 and 521.
-p, --safe-primes
Generate RSA safe primes.
-f, --outform encoding
Encoding of the generated private key. Either der (ASN.1 DER) or pem (Base64 PEM), defaults to der.

RSA Threshold Cryptography

-n, --shares <n>
Number of private RSA key shares.
-l, --threshold <l>
Minimum number of participating RSA key shares.


If the gmp plugin is used to generate RSA private keys the key material is read from /dev/random (via the random plugin). Therefore, the command may block if the system's entropy pool is empty. To avoid this, either use a hardware random number generator to feed /dev/random or use OpenSSL (via the openssl plugin or the command line) which is not as strict in regards to the quality of the key material (it reads from /dev/urandom if necessary). It is also possible to configure the devices used by the random plugin in strongswan.conf(5). Setting libstrongswan.plugins.random.random to /dev/urandom forces the plugin to treat bytes read from /dev/urandom as high grade random data, thus avoiding the blocking. Of course, this doesn't change the fact that the key material generated this way is of lower quality.


pki --gen --size 3072 > rsa_key.der
Generates a 3072-bit RSA private key.
pki --gen --type ecdsa --size 256 > ecdsa_key.der
Generates a 256-bit ECDSA private key.