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  • Upgraded documentation may be found in the NSS reference

Key Functions

`Chapter 6

<#chapter_6_key_functions>`__ Key Functions

This chapter describes two functions used to manipulate private keys and key databases such as the key3.db database provided with Communicator.

`SECKEY_GetDefaultKeyDB <#1051479>`__
`SECKEY_DestroyPrivateKey <#1051017>`__


Returns a handle to the default key database opened by mozilla_projects_nss_ssl_functions_sslfnc#1067601.


#include <key.h>
#include <keyt.h>
SECKEYKeyDBHandle *SECKEY_GetDefaultKeyDB(void);


The function returns a handle of type SECKEYKeyDBHandle.


mozilla_projects_nss_ssl_functions_sslfnc#1067601 opens the certificate, key, and security module databases that you specify for use with NSS. SECKEYKeyDBHandle returns a handle to the key database opened by NSS_Init.


Destroys a private key structure.


#include <key.h>
#include <keyt.h>
void SECKEY_DestroyPrivateKey(SECKEYPrivateKey *key);


This function has the following parameter:


A pointer to the private key structure to destroy.


Certificate and key structures are shared objects. When an application makes a copy of a particular certificate or key structure that already exists in memory, SSL makes a shallow copy–that is, it increments the reference count for that object rather than making a whole new copy. When you call `CERT_DestroyCertificate <sslcrt.html#1050532>`__ or `SECKEY_DestroyPrivateKey <#1051017>`__, the function decrements the reference count and, if the reference count reaches zero as a result, both frees the memory and sets all the bits to zero. The use of the word “destroy” in function names or in the description of a function implies reference counting.

Never alter the contents of a certificate or key structure. If you attempt to do so, the change affects all the shallow copies of that structure and can cause severe problems.