Signing a PDF with iText and a Luna HSM

After obtaining a trial of a Certificate for Adobe CDS, which is only delivered on a hardware storage module (HSM) or a USB key, I had some difficulties adapting the iText examples for signing a PDF to work with the API for the HSM. The code below is the result of trial-and-error. It is based on the examples provided for iText at

I have been told that there is a naming convention for certificates on the HSM that, if followed, makes the KeyStore.getCertificateChain() method usable: The labels for each certificate should all start the same way (in this case, it would be ‘mycert’) and followed by the suffix ‘–cert#’, where # is the number of the certificate in the chain. In this instance, it would be something like this:

  • mycert–cert0 (Adobe CDS certificate)
  • mycert–cert1 (GlobalSign CA for Adobe certificate)
  • mycert–cert2 (Adobe Root CA certificate)

If it works, that should make it unnecessary to create the certificate chan manually, as is done in this example.

This example uses Groovy, but it should translate almost directly to Java.

import com.itextpdf.text.pdf.PdfReader
import com.itextpdf.text.pdf.PdfStamper
import com.itextpdf.text.pdf.PdfSignatureAppearance
import com.itextpdf.text.pdf.PdfName
import com.itextpdf.text.Image
import com.itextpdf.text.Rectangle
import com.itextpdf.text.pdf.PdfEncryptor
import com.itextpdf.text.pdf.PdfWriter
import com.itextpdf.text.pdf.PdfSignature
import com.itextpdf.text.pdf.PdfDate
import com.itextpdf.text.pdf.TSAClient
import com.itextpdf.text.pdf.TSAClientBouncyCastle
import com.itextpdf.text.pdf.PdfPKCS7
import com.itextpdf.text.DocumentException
import com.itextpdf.text.pdf.PdfDictionary
import com.itextpdf.text.pdf.PdfString
import com.chrysalisits.crypto.LunaTokenManager

String hsmPartitionLabel = "Luna_partition_name"
String hsmPassword = "partition_password"
String hsmKeyLabel = "private_key_alias"
String hsmCertLabel = "certificate_alias"
String hsmCALabel = "CA_certificate_alias"
String ownerPassword = "PDF_owner_password"
String inFile = "path_to_unsigned_PDF"
String reason = "signature_reason"
String location = "signature_location"
String contact = "signature_contact_email"
String sealPath = "path_to_an_image_to_be_used_with_signature"
String outFile = "path_to_put_signed_PDF"

// Login to HSM
LunaTokenManager tm = LunaTokenManager.getInstance()
tm.Login(hsmPartitionLabel, hsmPassword)

// Dynamically load security providers
Class providerClass = Class.forName("com.chrysalisits.crypto.LunaJCAProvider") provider = (, 2)
providerClass = Class.forName("com.chrysalisits.cryptox.LunaJCEProvider")
provider = ( providerClass.newInstance(), 3)

// This syntax gets an instance of a LunaKeystore
KeyStore ks = KeyStore.getInstance("Luna")
ks.load(null, null)
PrivateKey key = (PrivateKey) ks.getKey(hsmKeyLabel, null)
// We need to assemble the certificate chain manually because the HSM doesn't support the
// getCertificateChain method.
Certificate[] chain = new Certificate[2]
chain[0] = ks.getCertificate(hsmCertLabel)
chain[1] = ks.getCertificate(hsmCALabel)

// It seems necessary to load the file into the PdfReader this way to
// avoid a in on AIX.
byte[] content = new File(inFile).readBytes()
PdfReader reader = new PdfReader(content, ownerPassword.getBytes())
FileOutputStream fout = new FileOutputStream(outFile)
// Third param is PDF revision (char).
// Groovy thinks '' is a GString, so we have to be explicit and force it to char.
PdfStamper stp = PdfStamper.createSignature(reader, fout, ''.toCharacter().charValue(), null, true)
PdfSignatureAppearance sap = stp.getSignatureAppearance()
sap.setCrypto(cert.key, cert.chain, null, PdfSignatureAppearance.WINCER_SIGNED)
// Instead of reason and location, a graphic image will be rendered. Reason and
// location will still be shown in the signature properties.
Image image = Image.getInstance(sealPath)
// sap.setVisibleSignature(new Rectangle(x-len, y-len, x-loc, y-loc), page, null for new fieldname)
// Coordinates begin from lower left. Units are 1/72 of an inch. 8.5 x 11 in == 612 x 792
sap.setVisibleSignature(new Rectangle(36, 36, 100, 100), 1, null)


println "Signed PDF saved as ${outFile}."


#adobe-cds, #groovy, #hsm, #itext, #luna, #pdf