Change SoftHSM SO / USER Pin

To change the SoftHSM cryptographic storage User / SO pin, assuming that you already know the existing pin.
SO pin:
pkcs11-tool --module /usr/lib64/pkcs11/ --login --login-type so --change-pin
User pin:
pkcs11-tool --module /usr/lib64/pkcs11/ --login --login-type user --change-pin
* replace the –module value with the path to

for a different slot use --slot <slot_id> , you could get slot info from: softhsm2-util --show-slot


DNSSEC with BIND 9.10 and native PKCS#11

DNSSEC with BIND and native PKCS#11 support (BIND & SoftHSM)

Bind 9.10.0-P1 supports the native PKCS#11 mode, instead of the openssl based PKCS#11. You can either compile it with (./configure --enable-native-pkcs11 \
) or install prebuilt packages.

Upon writing this blog, Fedora 23, has built-in bind-9.10.3-7.P2 and SoftHSM (Software based HSM)

SoftHSM is an implementation of a cryptographic store accessible through a PKCS #11 interface

Install the required packages

# dnf install bind-chroot bind-pkcs11 softhsm bind-pkcs11-utils


Initialize the SoftHSM repository
# softhsm2-util --init-token 0 --slot 0 --label softhsm
enter the user and security pin

Generate the keys (Key Signing Key and Zone Signing Key)

You may use the algorithm and key size depends on your requirement.
# pkcs11-keygen -a RSASHA256 -b 2048 -l sample_ksk
Enter Pin:
# pkcs11-keygen -a RSASHA256 -b 2048 -l sample_zsk
Enter Pin:

# pkcs11-list
Enter Pin:
object[0]: handle 2 class 2 label[12] 'sample_ksk' id[0]
object[1]: handle 3 class 2 label[12] 'sample_ksk' id[0]
object[2]: handle 4 class 3 label[12] 'sample_zsk' id[0]
object[3]: handle 5 class 3 label[12] 'sample_zsk' id[0]

Create a pair of BIND9 key files using dnssec-keyfromlabel-pkcs11 utility, since we are using pkcs#11 backend the label must be pkcs#11 uri format. Don’t know how safe it is to store the pin on the file system, but yes we have to create a text file with the HSM pin. Not sure if the dnssec-keyfromlabel can prompt for the pin.

# dnssec-keyfromlabel-pkcs11 -a RSASHA256 -f KSK -l 'pkcs11:object=sample_ksk;pin-source=/etc/token_pin'
# dnssec-keyfromlabel-pkcs11 -a RSASHA256 -l 'pkcs11:object=sample_zsk;pin-source=/etc/token_pin'

The resulting files can be used to sign the zone, as per the BIND documentation – “Unlike the normal K* files, which contain both public and private key data, these files will contain only the public key data, plus an identifier for the private key which remains stored within the HSM. Signing with the private key takes place inside the HSM.”

Include the keys in zone file or specify the key path on the named configuration.

echo "$INCLUDE" >>
echo "$INCLUDE" >>

Signing the zones
# dnssec-signzone-pkcs11
Verifying the zone using the following algorithms: RSASHA2.
Zone fully signed:
Algorithm: RSASHA2: KSKs: 1 active, 0 stand-by, 0 revoked
ZSKs: 1 active, 0 stand-by, 0 revoked

# head
; File written on Mon Jan 18 16:02:19 2016
; dnssec_signzone version 9.10.3-P2-RedHat-9.10.3-7.P2.fc23

Reference: BIND 9 Administrator Reference Manual
SoftHSM documentation