Federal Information Processing Standards and and (NIST) SP800-131a

Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) and NIST SP800-131a are standards and guidelines issued by the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for federal government computer systems. FIPS and SP800-131a are developed when there are compelling federal government requirements for standards, such as for security and interoperability, but acceptable industry standards or solutions do not exist.

HCL tolerates WebSphere® Application Server's support of FIPS 140-2 and SP800-131a. WebSphere Application Server integrates cryptographic modules such as Java Secure Socket Extension (JSSE) and Java Cryptography Extension (JCE), which are FIPS 140-2 certified. Throughout the documentation and the product, the FIPS 140-2 certified IBM JSSE and JCE modules are called as IBMJSSEFIPS and IBMJCEFIPS, which distinguishes the FIPS-certified modules from the prior, non-certified IBM JSSE and IBM JCE modules.

The FIPS 140-2 compliant toleration means that HCL will continue to work after WebSphere Application Server is configured to activate FIPS 140-2 compliant security modules. The HCL product has no self-contained Cryptographic Support and as a result is unaware of the module differences. Functions in HCL that use encryption include:

  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connections inbound from clients (but this is basically the WebSphere Application Server and HTTP Server support for SSL connections, and is not apparent to HCL)
  • Internal connections between HCL administrative functions and WebSphere Application Server administrative services (started, for example, when deploying a portlet which must create a web application in WebSphere Application Server)

All connections listed in this document are carried over SSL using FIPS-compliant encryption. Without FIPS 140-2 support, connections might not be encrypted.


There are some restrictions in the level of support that HCL provides in using FIPS-certified modules:
  • Sametime currently does not support FIPS 140-2.
  • By default, Microsoft Internet Explorer might not have TLS enabled. To enable TLS, open the Internet Explorer browser and click Tools > Internet Options. On the Advanced tab, select the Use TLS 1.0 check box.
  • The IBM Tivoli Directory Server provides the Use FIPS certified implementation option, which enables the directory server the FIPS-certified encryption algorithms uses. For information, see "Setting the level of encryption" within the IBM Tivoli Directory Server Administration Guide.
  • IBMJSSEFIPS is not supported on the HP-UX platform.
  • You can use FIPS-certified JSSE providers if your servers and clients are using WebSphere Application Server.
  • If you are trying to enable FIPS processing mode with GSKit bundled with ITDS, see technote 1578181.