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WebThemis enables web app developers to build Google Chrome-based applications with strong cryptographic services as provided by Themis cryptographic library.

WebThemis provides main Themis cryptographic services:

  • Secure Message: a simple encrypted messaging solution for widest scope of applications. ECC + ECDSA / RSA + PSS + PKCS#8.
  • Secure Session: session-oriented, forward secrecy messaging solution with better security guarantees, but with a more demanding infrastructure. ECDH key agreement, ECC & AES encryption.
  • Secure Cell: a multi-mode cryptographic container, suitable for storing anything from encrypted files to database records and format-preserved strings. Secure Cell is built around AES in GCM (Token and Seal modes) and CTR (Context imprint mode).

WebThemis, as all Themis components, is a free, Apache 2 licensed open-source project.

Building apps with WebThemis


Native Client (NaCl) is a sandboxing technology for running a subset of Intel x86/x86-64, ARM or MIPSnative code in a sandbox. It allows safely running native code from a web browser, independently of the user's operating system, allowing web-based applications to run at near-native speeds.

PNaCl solves the portability problem by splitting the compilation process into two parts:

  1. compiling the source code to a bytecode executable (pexe), and
  2. translating the bitcode to a host-specific executable as soon as the module loads in the browser, but before any code execution.


Download and install the Native Client SDK

Follow the instructions on the Download page to download and install the Native Client SDK.

Install WebThemis

WebThemis is a special wrapper, which builds and installs:

  • Themis core library
  • C++ Wrapper
  • Themis dependencies (libcrypto from libressl, only patches, suppose you've got libssl-dev package already)

into PNaCl library, usable in a PNaCl project.

Do this to install WebThemis:

cd <your pnacl project folder>
git clone
cd webthemis
git submodule init
git submodule update

after the build completes, you need to add the following variables to your PNaCl project:

CXXFLAGS+= -Iwebthemis/themis/src -Iwebthemis/themis/src/wrappers/themis webthemis/
LDFLACS+= -Lwebthemis/build -lthemis -lsoter -lcrypto -lnacl_io ---pnacl-exceptions=sjlj

IMPORTANT NOTE: All cryptographic computations need to use random number generators. To enable using /dev/urandom in your project, you need to initialise nacl_io library by adding:

#include "nacl_io/nacl_io.h"

to the header of your main PNaCl project, and:

nacl_io_init_ppapi(instance, pp::Module::Get()->get_browser_interface()); 

to your PNaCl object instance constructor.

Communication between JavaScript and Native Client modules

The Native Client programming model supports bidirectional communication between JavaScript and the Native Client module. Both sides can initiate and respond to messages. The communication is asynchronous in all cases.

Communication on C++ side

Most of the communication is realised by HandleMessage function, for example:

virtual void HandleMessage(const pp::Var& var_message) {
    if (!var_message.is_string()){
       PostMessage("error unsupported format");
    std::istringstream message(var_message.AsString());
    std::string operation, password, base64encoded_data;
       if(operation == "encrypt"){
           themis::secure_cell_seal encrypter(std::vector<uint8_t>(,;
       else if (operation == "decrypt"){
           themis::secure_cell_seal decrypter(std::vector<uint8_t>(,;
           PostMessage(std::string("decrypt "+decrypter.decrypt(base64decode(data))));
       } else {
           PostMessage("error unsupported operation");
    }catch(themispp::exception& e){
       PostMessage(std::string("error "+ e.what()));

This code implements HandleMessage function for PNaCL encrypt/decrypt object using Secure Cell in Seal mode.

Communication on JS side

On JS side, handling messages uses handling functions that assosiate with message event of embed object:

      <script type="text/javascript">
        var listener = document.getElementById('listener');
        listener.addEventListener('message', handleMessage, true);
      <embed id="secure_cell"
             width=0 height=0
             type="application/x-pnacl" />

    function handleMessage(message_event) {

for posting messages to PNaCl object use postMessage function of embed object

document.getElementById('secure_cell').postMessage(["encrypt", document.getElementById("password").value, document.getElementById("message").value]);



webthemis is PNaCl wrapper for Themis, allows developers to create more secure javascript apps







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