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Java Pinning

Java Pinning provides support for pinning TLS (and SSL) certificates without any CA validation required. The library runs on Java and Android and is available from Maven Central. It is licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0. If Java Pinning pins the public key of a certificate, or the hash of such, and produces a SSLContext which will only accept connections to a host in possession of the corresponding private key. There is no additional validation using the system's trust store, i.e. Java Pinning disables PKI (CA validation). This means that as soon as the private key is compromised, an attacker will be able to impersonate the host.

You should only use Java Pinning if you are in control of both ends of the TLS connection, so that you can replace the Pin in case the private key has been compromised. To be absolutely clear: If you need to change the server certificate, you need to change also the PIN in the client. Usually you want to add the new PIN first, before changing the server certificate. If you don't add the new PIN, your clients wont be able to connect to your server! Please inform yourself about the available alternatives to Java Pinning to determine if your use case is a match for Java Pinning. See also the "Alternatives" section in this README.

How to use

XMPP Users

If your XMPP service does not provide you the server certificates SHA256 hash or the full certificate over a secure channel, then you could obtain the information for example via

  1. Go to
  2. Select "Test a server", enter your service name and make sure "c2s" is selected
  3. Press "Check!"
  4. Wait a bit until the information in the "Certificates" section appears
  5. The first certificate ("#0") is the one of your service. In the "Details" section select SHA-256
  6. Copy the SHA-256 hash, e.g. 83:F9:17:1E:06:A3:13:11:88:89:F7:D7:93:02:BD:1B:7A:20:42:EE:0C:FD:02:9A:BF:8D:D0:6F:FA:6C:D9:D3
  7. Java Pinning versions < 1.0.1 require the colons to be removed and the letters to be lowercase. This transformation could be done with the following bash script
$ pin=83:F9:17:1E:06:A3:13:11:88:89:F7:D7:93:02:BD:1B:7A:20:42:EE:0C:FD:02:9A:BF:8D:D0:6F:FA:6C:D9:D3
$ echo $pin | tr '[:upper:]' '[:lower:]' | tr -d :
  1. Create the Java Pinning Pin String by prefixing CERTSHA256 to the Pin. Thus our example SHA256 value becomes CERTSHA256:83:F9:17:1E:06:A3:13:11:88:89:F7:D7:93:02:BD:1B:7A:20:42:EE:0C:FD:02:9A:BF:8D:D0:6F:FA:6C:D9:D3

HTTPS (and other services using TLS right from the start)

$ ./tools/ 443
Calculating PIN for certificate:
Certificate Fingerprint (SHA256): 4CBF7A80EC338E34DC4DA50136AFF0B6C1D91F1DD87BBF56FB0EBA3FC7451835
Pin Value: SHA256:e3b1812d945da1a2a2c5fa28029d2fe34c7c4142fb098f5cfedff1ff20e98781
Pin Value: PLAIN: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
X509TrustManager tm = Java7Pinning

Now you can setup this context.


X509TrustManager tm = Java7Pinning
XMPPTCPConnectionConfiguration conf = XMPPTCPConnectionConfiguration.builder()
  .setUsernameAndPassword("user", "pass")

How to add this as dependency





Difference between Public Key Pins and Certificate Pins

Both provide the same security guarantee. If the private key is compromised, both can no longer provide a security guarantee. Using Public Key pinning provides (theoretically) the advantage that the certificate could be replaced with a new one using the same private/public key pair, thus requiring no changes to the used Pins.


Java (and Android)

Pure Certificate Pinning

This technique creates a custom SSLContext that will only accept certificates found or signed by certificates in a key store file.

File keyStoreFile = new File("./myKeyStore");
KeyStore ks = KeyStore.getInstance(KeyStore.getDefaultType());
ks.load(new FileInputStream(keyStoreFile), "keyStorePassword".toCharArray());
TrustManagerFactory tmf = TrustManagerFactory.getInstance("X509");
SSLContext sc = SSLContext.getInstance("TLS");
sc.init(null, tmf.getTrustManagers(), new;

You can read more about it at


Memorizing Trust Manager (MTM) excels in user scenarios because of its GUI confirmation dialog. MTM does pin the certificate and does also not perform additional validate by the system trust store. It is only available on Android (at the moment).

Android Pinning (AP) does additional validate the pinned certificate by using the system's trust store. It provides probably the best level of security, as it additionally strengthens PKI with pinning. As the name suggests, Android Pinning is only available for Android. The fact that the last commit date is June 2013 makes it questionable if the project is still actively maintained.

Build Instructions

Build with

gradle build

Run tests with

gradle check



  • Fix dependency declarations


  • Added support for the Java 7 X509ExtendedTrustManager if your project uses Java 7 please use Java7Pinning instead of JavaPinning.
  • Two new factory methods JavaPinning.trustManagerForPins(String...) and JavaPinning.forPins(String...).
  • Deprecated JavaPinning.trustManagerforpins() in favor of the correctly named JavaPinning.trustManagerForpins().
  • Two new factory methods CertPlainPin.fromCertificate and PlainPin.fromPublicKey these methods can be used to directly create pins from X509 certificates or X509 public keys.
  • Two new getter methods CertPlainPin.getX509Certificate() and PlainPin.getPublicKey().
  • Two new factory methods in JavaPinning
  • The PinningTrustManager now throws a specialized exception when a certificate is not pinned CertificateNotPinnedException which is a sub-type of CertificateException, this allows you to differentiate pinning exceptions from other certificate related exceptions.
  • New class HexUtilities which contains methods to decode from HEX to bytes and encode bytes to HEX
  • The JavaPinningUtil class has been deprecated in favor of HexUtilities, beaware of the fact that the methods in HexUtilities behave slightly better, but different).


The Pin format requirements have been relaxed. The Pin string may now contain

  • Colons (':')
  • Uppercase characters
  • Spaces