Sunday, January 29, 2017

IoT Data Pipeline - Part 2: Node/Java Crypto Interop


I wasn't planning on dedicating an entire post to encryption, but this task proved to be enough of a pain that I decided it was justified.  Maybe this will help others bypass that pain.

This project developed into a mixed-language solution:  Node on the server side (simulated device) and Java on the client/analytics side.  Getting Node-side encryption to work with the Java-side decryption is focus of this post.

IoT Data Pipeline - Part 2: Node/Java Crypto Interop
IoT Data Pipeline - Part 3: Kafka Integration


Below is a diagram depicting the high-level steps I used to get a functioning encryption system between Node and Java.  There are likely other ways to go about this, but this is what worked for me.

Node Server Code

I've highlighted the crypto changes I made from original server code in the first blog post.
var key = crypto.pbkdf2Sync(properties.password, properties.salt, 100000, 32, 'sha256');

function thingspace(requrl) {
 var query = url.parse(requrl, true).query;
 var wx_data = {'tempf' : query.tempf, 'humidity': query.humidity, 
   'winddir' : query.winddir, 'windspeedmph' : query.windspeedmph, 
   'rainin' : query.rainin, 'solarradiation' : query.solarradiation};
 var options = {
   host : '',
   port : '443',
   path : '/dweet/for/' + properties.device,
   headers: {'Content-Type' : 'application/json'},
   method : 'POST'
 var iv = crypto.randomBytes(16);
 var cipher = crypto.createCipheriv('aes-256-cbc', key, iv);
 var cipherText = cipher.update(JSON.stringify(wx_data), 'utf8','hex') +'hex');
 var retVal = '';
 var req = https.request(options, function(res) {
  res.on('data', function(chunk) {
   retVal += chunk;
  res.on('end', function() {
   retVal = JSON.parse(retVal);
   logger.debug('Exiting - File: main.js, Method:thingspace()', retVal.this);

 req.on('error', function(err1) {
  logger.error('File: main.js, Method: thingspace(), Message err1: ', err1.message);
 req.write(JSON.stringify({'iv': iv.toString('base64'), 'mesg' : cipherText}));
Line 1:  Create a secure 256-bit key with PBKDF2.
Line 16:  Generate a random 128-bit initialization vector.  Buffer of 16 bytes.
Line 17-18:  Encrypt the weather data (stringified JSON object) with AES 256 with UTF-8 input encoding and hex output encoding.
Line 34:  Encode the IV bytes into a Base64 string.  Then, put it and the encrypted message inside a JSON object.  Finally, stringify that object and send it out in the body of an HTTP POST.  There's no harm in sending the IV along with the encrypted message.

Java Client Code

Similar to the node server sample code, I've highlighted the crypto-interesting areas.

 public Object getDweet(String device) {
  Object dweet = null;
  Client client = ClientBuilder.newClient();
  WebTarget target =;
  Response response =  target.request(MediaType.APPLICATION_JSON).get(Response.class);
  if(response.getStatus() == 200) {
   String message = response.readEntity(String.class);
   JSONParser parser = new JSONParser();
   try {
    JSONObject obj = (JSONObject) parser.parse(message);
    JSONObject item = (JSONObject) ((JSONArray)obj.get("with")).get(0);
    JSONObject content = (JSONObject)item.get("content");
    byte[] iv = DatatypeConverter.parseBase64Binary((String) content.get("iv"));
    String cipherText = (String) content.get("mesg");
    dweet = decryptDweet(iv, cipherText);
   catch (Exception e) {
  return dweet;

 private Object decryptDweet(byte[] iv, String cipherText) throws GeneralSecurityException, 
 UnsupportedEncodingException, ParseException  {
  KeySpec spec = new PBEKeySpec(this.password.toCharArray(), this.salt, 100000, 256);
  SecretKeyFactory f = SecretKeyFactory.getInstance("PBKDF2WithHmacSHA256");
  SecretKey tmp = f.generateSecret(spec);
  SecretKey key = new SecretKeySpec(tmp.getEncoded(), "AES");
  Cipher cipher = Cipher.getInstance("AES/CBC/PKCS5Padding");
                cipher.init(Cipher.DECRYPT_MODE, key,  new IvParameterSpec(iv));
                String val = new String(cipher.doFinal(DatatypeConverter.parseHexBinary(cipherText)), "UTF-8");
                JSONParser parser = new JSONParser();
                return parser.parse(val);
Lines 12-14: Parse out the JSON object within the HTTP response body.  I'm using the json.simple toolkit for this.
Line 15:  Decode the Base64 string-encoded IV back to a byte array.
Lines 16-17:  Pass the encrypted text and and IV as input to a decrypt function.
Lines 28-31:  Generate the PBKDF2 secret key.
Lines 33-34:  Set up the AES decrypt cipher, with the IV.
Line 35:  Decrypt the message with hex input and UTF-8 output.
Lines 36-37:  Return the decrypted message as a JSON object.

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