PKCS11 module installation

PKCS #11 modules are external modules which add to Firefox support for smartcard readers, biometric security devices, and external certificate stores. This article covers the two methods for installing PKCS #11 modules into Firefox. Users can use the preferences dialog to install or remove PKCS #11 module. Extensions can programmatically manage PKCS #11 modules using the nsIPKCS11 programming interface.


Note: The information in this article is specific to Firefox 3.5 and newer. Older versions of Firefox may support the window.pkcs11 property for installing PKCS #11 modules.

Using the Firefox preferences to install PKCS #11 modules

  1. Save the PKCS #11 module to a permanent location on your local computer

  2. Open the Firefox preferences dialog. Choose “Advanced” > “Encryption” > “Security Devices”

  3. Choose “Load”

  4. Enter a name for the security module, such as “My Client Database”. NOTE: there is currently a bug in Firefox where international characters may cause problems.

  5. Choose “Browse…” to find the location of the PKCS #11 module on your local computer, and choose “OK” when done.

Provisioning PKCS #11 modules using the pkcs11 API

Starting with Firefox 58, extensions can use the pkcs11 browser extension API to enumerate PKCS #11 modules and make them accessible to the browser as sources of keys and certificates.

See also