Installing AMS on midrange for end to end message protection

Installing AMS on the server.

I tried to follow the instructions here but they use .rpm files. I had downloaded the MQ Developer Edition from here.

The download was mqadv_dev921_ubuntu_x86-64.tar.gz.

I extracted the ./ibmmq-ams_9.2.1.0_amd64.deb file, and used

sudo apt install ./ibmmq-ams_9.2.1.0_amd64.deb

I don’t know what you need to install just for the client.

Testing the setup

A scenario is documented Quick Start Guide for AMS on AIX. There is not a quick start guide for Linux; and the AIX guide wasn’t very quick. You have to create additional userids (which my “Enterprise security team” will not allow) do additional setup for these ids, and did not tell you how to clean up afterwards.

Below is my “quicker start to configuring AMS on Ubuntu”

Even quicker start up guide for AMS on Linux (and other Unix platforms), and this would be a good start for Windows

The examples in the IBM documentation implement the classic picture of Alice sending an encrypted message to Bob. This requires a lot of set up, new queue manager, userids etc – most of which are not needed when you use AMS.

In the example below, it takes a working system and adds AMS functions to an existing queue.

Note: although Structure of the keystore.config file refers to the different key store parameters, for example CMS and JKS, the C client needs cms keystore.

A userid using AMS needs a key store and a certificate; and a file to hold configuration information.

In summary the steps are:

  • Initial set up – to define shell variables
  • Define a queue to be protected, and an alias
  • Check that your userid can put and get messages to/from this queue
  • Define the keystore and certificate
  • Change the queue to have AMS protection
  • Check the id can put to the queue
  • Checking the message on the queue is protected
  • Getting the message

I used a shell script, and commented/uncommented statements as I progressed. I did this as it took several iterations before it all worked. It was easy to mistype a parameter, and hard to tell when you had made a mistake.

Initial set up – to define shell variables

It is less error prone to use environment variables to hold constants to avoid spelling mistakes, or using the wrong case.

export dn=”CN=CCP,C=GB,O=MINE”
export mydir=”$HOME/.mqs”
export keystore=$d/”colins”
export label=”COLINS

# create the default directory
mkdir $mydir -p

# optionally clear out this directory
# rm $mydir/*

#create the AMS configuration file
echo “cms.keystore = $key” > $mydir/keystore.conf
echo “cms.certificate = $label” >> $mydir/keystore.conf

Define a queue to be protected and an alias

If you access the protected queue you will get the AMS protection. If you define the queue as the target of an alias queue, you can bypass protection and see the message on the queue, so you can check it is protected as you expect.

You can use runmqsc to

define ql (AMSQ)
define qalias(AAMSQ) targq(AMSQ)

Or use a command in a shell script


echo “define ql ($q)” | runmqsc $qm
echo “define qalias(A$q) targq($q)” |runmqsc $qm

Check that your userid can put and get messages to/from this queue

Use the amqsput sample to put data, until a null line is entered, then use amqsget to get the messages, and leave the queue empty. Note the amqsput does not prompt for input, just enter the data and press enter; no data and enter ends it.

/opt/mqm/samp/bin/amqsput AMQS QMA
/opt/mqm/samp/bin/amqsget AMQS QMA

Resolve any problems. Do this before your protect the queue, so you know you have a working environment.

Define the keystore and certificate

C programs need a cms keystore. Using the environment variables defined above

runmqakm -keydb -create -db $key.kdb -pw passw0rd -stash
runmqakm -cert -create -db $key.kdb -pw passw0rd -label $label -dn $dn -default_cert yes

Change the queue to have AMS protection

setmqspl -m $qm -p $q -s SHA1
dspmqspl -m $qm -p $q

#remove it if required
#setmqspl -m $qm -p $q -remove

Check the userid can still put to the queue

Now the setmqspl command has been issued for the queue, any put will create a protected message. It uses the default environment variable MQS_KEYSTORE_CONF pointing to “$HOME/.mqs” to point to the configuration file $HOME/.mqs/keystore.conf (created above).

/opt/mqm/samp/bin/amqsput $q $qm

Enter some data (AAAAA) and press return, then press return again to give null data.

If this was not successful, resolve the problems. See below for some help on this.

Check the message on the queue is protected.

A couple of times I though the AMS set up had worked, as the put and get both worked without error. I later found that the messages were not protected. I like to check the messages on the queue are protected.

You can browse the message from the alias queue, it should contain additional data before the message, including distinquished name of the signer.

/opt/mqm/samp/bin/amqsbcg $qm $q

This displays the data in hex. The data should start with the header PDMQ showing there is protected data on the queue. Within the PDMQ header, should be the encoded signing information.

If you get the same data as you put (AAAAA) then the protection has failed; check the set up.

Example data showing the content of the queue after the data has been signed.

00000000:  5044 4D51 0200 0200 7000 0000 7000 0000           'PDMQ....p...p...'
00000010:  0400 0000 B804 0000 0800 0000 0000 0000           '................'
00000020:  4D51 5354 5220 2020 0000 0000 0000 0000           'MQSTR   ........'
00000030:  0000 0000 0000 0000 414D 5351 2020 2020           '........AMSQ    '
00000040:  2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020           '                '
00000050:  2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020 2020           '                '
00000060:  2020 2020 2020 2020 0000 0000 0000 0000           '        ........'
00000070:  3082 0527 0609 2A86 4886 F70D 0107 02A0           '0..'..*.H.......'
00000080:  8205 1830 8205 1402 0101 310F 300D 0609           '...0......1.0...'
00000090:  6086 4801 6503 0402 0305 0030 1706 092A           '`.H.e......0...*'
000000A0:  8648 86F7 0D01 0701 A00A 0408 4141 4141           '.H..........AAAA'
000000B0:  4141 4141 A082 0300 3082 02FC 3082 01E4           'AAAA....0...0...'
000000C0:  A003 0201 0202 0859 7651 E018 1827 E030           '.......YvQ...'.0'
000000D0:  0D06 092A 8648 86F7 0D01 0105 0500 301C           '...*.H........0.'
000000E0:  310B 3009 0603 5504 0613 0247 4231 0D30           '1.0...U....GB1.0'
000000F0:  0B06 0355 0403 1304 4343 5032 301E 170D           '...U....CCP20...'
00000100:  3231 3033 3239 3134 3433 3335 5A17 0D32           '210329144335Z..2'
00000110:  3230 3333 3031 3434 3333 355A 301C 310B           '20330144335Z0.1.'
00000120:  3009 0603 5504 0613 0247 4231 0D30 0B06           '0...U....GB1.0..'
00000130:  0355 0403 1304 4343 5032 3082 0122 300D           '.U....CCP20.."0.'
00000140:  0609 2A86 4886 F70D 0101 0105 0003 8201           '..*.H...........'


  • PDMQ is the AMS header
  • AMSQ is the original queue name
  • AAAAAAAA is the original message data – note this is visible because encryption is not being used
  • GB comes from C=GB in the DN. This is part of the encoded DN
  • CCP2 comes from CN=CCP2 in the DN. This is part of the encoded DN

Destructively get the message

/opt/mqm/samp/bin/amqsget AMQS QMA

Should display the original message.

If this was not successful, resolve the problems. See below for some help on this.

Encrypt the messages

If you specify “use encryption with AES256”, and “this id” as a recipient, you will get encrypted messages on the queue

setmqspl -m $qm -p $q -e AES256 -s SHA512 -r $dn

and repeat the put, and browse from the alias queue, you will see the the PDMQ in the header, and parts of the signing DN in the header, as before. The message payload will be encrypted.

Giving another user access or using a different DN and certificate

By default, the configuration file ~/.mqs/keystore.conf contains information as to which key store, and which key within the key store to use.

You can override the location of the config file using the environment variable MQS_KEYSTORE_CONF .

This means one userid can use a different keystore.conf file file for each application, or you can have a group of userids using the same keystore.conf and so the same certificate keystore file, and certificate.

If it did not work…

Check the error logs, for example the /var/mqm/qmgrs/QMA/errors/*01* .

Most of the errors I introduced had a clear message description of the problem.

GSKIT return codes are described here.

While setting up, it is worth clearing the queue if you get errors, for example there may be a message left on the queue which you are not expecting.

Here is the full script I use ( with extra stuff in it)

mkdir $d -p
rm $d/*
rm "COLIN.pem"
echo "define ql ("$q")" | runmqsc $qm
echo "define qalias(A$q) targq($q)" |runmqsc $qm
runmqakm -keydb -create -db $key.kdb -pw passw0rd -stash

# chmod +r $key
runmqakm -cert -create  -db $key.kdb -pw passw0rd  -label COLIN -dn $dn -default_cert yes
runmqakm -cert -extract -db $key.kdb -pw passw0rd  -label COLIN -target COLIN.pem  -format ascii 
/opt/mqm/bin/runmqckm -cert -add  -db $key.jks -type jks  -file ~/ssl/ssl2/zADCDB.pem -label zADCDB -pw passw0rd
chmod 600 $key.kdb
# chmod 777 $key.kdb

echo "cms.keystore = $key" > $d/keystore.conf
echo "cms.certificate = COLIN" >> $d/keystore.conf 
chmod 777 $d/keystore.conf 
cat $d/keystore.conf 
setmqspl -m $qm -p $q   -remove

# setmqspl -m $qm -p $q   -s SHA1 -a $dn 
setmqspl -m $qm -p $q  -s SHA512 
# setmqspl -m $qm -p $q  -e AES256  -s SHA512 -r $dn
dspmqspl -m $qm -export 
#sudo rm /var/mqm/trace/*
# strmqtrc -m $qm

export MQS_KEYSTORE_CONF=/home/colinpaice/.mqs/keystore.conf
printenv |grep MQ
# print echo in bold 
NC='\033[0m' # No Color

echo "${BOLD}type some data and press enter, then press enter again${NC}"
/opt/mqm/samp/bin/amqsput $q  $qm
#display it in hex from qalias
opt/mqm/samp/bin/amqsbcg A$q $qm 
# /opt/mqm/samp/bin/amqsgbr $qm $q  
/opt/mqm/samp/bin/amqsget $q $qm

# less /var/mqm/qmgrs/$qm/errors/*01*

Other AMS blog posts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s