Custom IVs with non-compliant length for AES key wrap - AWS CloudHSM

Custom IVs with non-compliant length for AES key wrap

This troubleshooting topic helps you determine if your application generates irrecoverable wrapped keys. If you are impacted by this issue, use this topic to address the problem.

Determine whether your code generates irrecoverable wrapped keys

You are impacted only if you meet all the conditions below:

Condition How do I know?

Your application uses PKCS #11 library

The PKCS #11 library is installed as the file in your /opt/cloudhsm/lib folder. Applications written in the C language generally use the PKCS #11 library directly, while application written in Java may be using the library indirectly via a Java abstraction layer. If you're using Windows, you are NOT affected, as PKCS #11 library is not presently available for Windows.

Your application specifically uses version 3.0.0 of the PKCS #11 library

If you received an email from the AWS CloudHSM team, you are likely using version 3.0.0 of the PKCS #11 library.

To check the software version on your application instances, use this command:

rpm -qa | grep ^cloudhsm

You wrap keys using AES key wrapping

AES key wrapping means you use an AES key to wrap out some other key. The corresponding mechanism name is CKM_AES_KEY_WRAP. It is used with the function C_WrapKey. Other AES based wrapping mechanisms that use initialization vectors (IVs), such as CKM_AES_GCM and CKM_CLOUDHSM_AES_GCM, are not affected by this issue. Learn more about functions and mechanisms.

You specify a custom IV when calling AES key wrapping, and the length of this IV is shorter than 8

AES key wrap is generally initialized using a CK_MECHANISM structure as follows:


This issue applies to you only if:

  • IV_POINTER is not NULL

  • IV_LENGTH is less than 8 bytes

If you do not meet all the conditions above, you may stop reading now. Your wrapped keys can be unwrapped properly, and this issue does not impact you. Otherwise, see Actions you must take if your code generates irrecoverable wrapped keys.

Actions you must take if your code generates irrecoverable wrapped keys

You should take the following three steps:

  1. Immediately upgrade your PKCS #11 library to a newer version

  2. Update your software to use a standards-compliant IV

    We strongly recommend you follow our sample code and simply specify a NULL IV, which causes the HSM to utilize the standards-compliant default IV. Alternatively, you may explicitly specify the IV as 0xA6A6A6A6A6A6A6A6 with a corresponding IV length of 8. We do not recommend using any other IV for AES key wrapping, and will explicitly disable custom IVs for AES key wrapping in a future version of the PKCS #11 library.

    Sample code for properly specifying the IV appears in aes_wrapping.c on GitHub.

  3. Identify and recover existing wrapped keys

    You should identify any keys you wrapped using version 3.0.0 of the PKCS #11 library, and then contact support for assistance ( in recovering these keys.


This issue only impacts keys wrapped with version 3.0.0 of the PKCS #11 library. You can wrap keys using earlier versions (2.0.4 and lower-numbered packages) or later versions (3.0.1 and higher-numbered packages) of the PKCS #11 library.