Crypto Library

The crypto library provides various cryptographic utilities.

In particular, one of these is the ability to wrap streams inside SSL (or rather TLS) streams. Among other things, this allows secure connections over the Internet (for example: HTTPS). As SSL is designed to be an interactive communication protocol, it is not suitable for encryption to disk, for example.

The library itself does not implement any cryptographic primitives itself. Instead, it relies on the default cryptographic libraries of the operating system. On Linux and other POSIX systems, OpenSSL (>= 1.1.0) is used. To facilitate differences between versions, libssl and libcrypt are loaded dynamically. As such, it might be necessary to install these versions manually through the system's package manager if initialization of the crypto library fails. On Windows, the standard cryptographic library (SChannel) is used instead. This way, the SSL library benefits from any security patches in these critical libraries that are provided by your operating system. Note: SSL support does not work on Windows 7.


The crypto library provides the following classes that are needed to establish and accept SSL connections:

In order to illustrate how these concepts belong together, consider the following example where we perform a HTTP GET request over HTTPS:

use crypto;
use core:net;
use core:io;

void httpClient() {
    // Get a context with system default settings (i.e. the system's certificate store, sane defaults).
    var context = ClientContext:systemDefault();

    // Connect using the regular core:net functionality.
    unless (socket = connect("", 443))
        throw InternalError("Failed to connect!");

    // Wrap the socket (NetStream) inside a SSL layer. The second parameter is the hostname and is
    // used to verify the certificate.
    var session = context.connect(socket, "");

    // Create text streams so that we can speak HTTP. "windowsTextInfo" gives us the proper CR LF.
    var in = Utf8Input(session.input);
    var out = Utf8Output(session.output, windowsTextInfo());
    out.autoFlush = false;

    // Do the HTTP request.
    out.write("GET / HTTP/1.0\n");

    // Get all data in the response.

    // Close everything. This propagates to the underlying stream as well.

If you know exactly which certificate is present on the remote peer, you can use ClientContext.pinnedTo. Then only that particular certificate is trusted (even if it is self-signed). Certificates themselves can be loaded using Certificate:loadPEM.

For a server, the process is similar. The exception is that the ServerContext needs a CertificateKey for the certificate that it should use. This might once again be a self-signed certificate if desired.

It is not necessary to use the crypto library to communicate over sockets. The connect function in the contexts support passing arbitrary input and output streams to use for the encrypted communications. For example, it is possible to create two core:io:Pipe instances, wrap them in an SSL layer and have two threads (or UThreads) communicate that way (even though it is not very useful to encrypt communications in the same process).

Known limitations

The current implementation have some known limitations:

Windows also provides a fairly rich library for cryptography that might be interesting to expose to Storm in some way. In particular, the preferred way fo managing keys in Windows is to store them in the system's key store. That way, the keys are encrypted with the user's credentials and only accessible to that particular user. Furthermore, this allows storing the keys in special hardware (e.g. in smartcards) and other useful things. One of the main benefits of this is that the keys are not even visible to the Storm process that are using them.