DP3T SDK Backend Save

The backend implementation for DP3T

Project README


License: MPL 2.0 Java CI with Maven Quality Gate Status Coverage


This project is licensed under the terms of the MPL 2 license. See the LICENSE file.


For an example project using the SDK look at the Swiss contact tracing app SwissCovid.


The Decentralised Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing (DP3T) project is an open protocol for COVID-19 proximity tracing using Bluetooth Low Energy functionality on mobile devices, which ensures that personal data and computation stay entirely on an individual's phone. It was produced by a core team of over 25 scientists and academic researchers from across Europe. It has also been scrutinized and improved by the wider community.

DP3T is a free-standing effort, begun at the EPFL and ETHZ, where the protocol was produced and where the implementation into an open-sourced app and server is taking place.

Contribution Guide

Please read the Contribution Guide before submitting any pull-request.


This documentation describes the backend used for the SwissCovid application. It is focused on providing information for the requests used for the Exposure Notification framework. Although, code of the old format is still provided, no documentation or support is available except the code itself.

Federation Gateway Service


Since multiple countries are now using the Exposure Notifications Framework, the European Union started an effort to allow federation of keys coming from multiple countries. Every country connected to the gateway can then up- and download keys from all participating countries (relayed via the gateway). This means that people e.g. using the Swiss app in Germany can, if they decide to share their keys with Germany, infect people using the German app and vice versa.

For this another module was added, which periodically synchronizes keys, which are marked for sharing to a gateway service. The official European Federation Gateway Service (EFGS) can be found here. The Swiss fork adds Postgres-Support as well as some other minor features.

Further information on the Interoperability Module can be found in the dpppt-backend-sdk-interops module

Reproducible Builds

In order to have reproducible builds the io.github.zlika maven plugin is used. It replaces all timestamp with the timestamp of the last commit, and orders the entries in the JAR alphabetically. The github action then computes the sha256sum of the resulting JAR and adds the output as an build artifact.



For development purposes an hsqldb can be used to run the web service locally. For production systems, it is recommended to connect to a PostgreSQL database (cluster if possible).


The keys that are stored in the database contain the GAEN key data as specified by Google/Apple, as well as some more fields to indicate the origin of the keys, and if the keys should be shared with a federation gateway. For the federation gateway a further field batch_tag is needed to indicate the batch this key has been uploaded with.

Column Description
pk_exposed_id Primary key, autogenerated
key The tek, as Base64 HEX string
rolling_start_number Tek rolling start number, 10-minute interval since UTC epoch
rolling_period Tek rolling period, number of 10-minute intervals that a key is valid for
received_at Rounded timestamp the tek was received,
report_type The reportType indicating how the person uploading the key was "verified" (e.g. confirmed test)
days_since_onset_of_symptoms c.f. Interops documentation
origin String where this key was retrieved from ISO-3166-1-Alpha-2
batch_tag If uploaded to EFGS, indicates the batchTag of the batch this key was uploaded with
share_with_federation_gateway Indicate if this key should be shared with the federation gateway


This schema contains the uuid field to be stored temporarily. This is used to prevent replay attacks of the same token twice and the entry will be removed, after the validity of the token has been expired.

Column Description
pk_redeem_uuid_id Primary key, autogenerated
uuid UUID from JWD token
received_at Rounded timestamp the token was received


To allow a monitoring of uploads to a federation gateway, this table holds log entries indicating different actions and error messages.

Column Description
gateway Which gateway the log originated from
action The action associated with the entry (UPLOAD
batch_tag The batchTag associated with the batch the message was generated for
upload_date The date the batch was uploaded (the parameter given for the API call to the gateway)
start_time When the action started. (end - start = duration)
end_time When the action ended. (end - start = duration)
state If the action was successful (ERROR


To control different behaviors, SpringBoot profiles are used. The idea is to provide an abstract base class, which defines everything needed. Such properties can be defined as abstract, and their implementation can be provided in an extended class.


Currently three non-abstract configs (dev, test, abn and prod) are provided, which are used in the current deployed version of the backend. Those are the CloudConfigs and they are optimized to work with an environment using KeyCloak and CloudFoundry.

Furthermore, two non-abstract configs (dev, prod) are provided, which implement a basic configuration, and which should work out-of-the-box. It generates new key pairs, used to sign the payload, each time the web service is started. For an example on how to persist the keys across startup, have a look at the cloud configs.

Note that the dev config uses a HSQLDB, which is non-persistent, whereas prod needs a running instance of PostgreSQL (either in a docker or native).

If you plan to provide new extensions or make adjustments and want to provide those to the general public, it is recommended to add a new configuration for your specific case. This can be e.g. an abstract class (e.g. WSCloudBaseConfig), which extends the base class providing certain needed keys or functions. If you provide an abstract class, please make sure to add at least one non-abstract class showing the implementation needed.


There is also a possible extension to the base web service provided. The JWT config is intended to implement a possibility to authorize the post requests used to publish the secret keys from the clients. JWTs, which are signed by a health authority, are used. An interface is provided, which can be used to define the behavior of authorization (c.f. the ValidateRequest class and its implementation in NoValidateRequest and JWTValidator).

Fake Requests

Since a client has to send its keys to the backend, it would be possible to filter traffic based on post requests to the backend, in order to find out, which IP addresses are "infected". To minimize such a risk clients will send a fake request, where the time delay is based on a Poisson distribution.

Time Delay

In order to minimize the risk of timing attacks, to find out whether a request was fake or not, a time-delay of 1.5s is introduced for the POST request.

Constant Payload

Clients pad the number of keys with fake keys, if not enough keys are provided by the framework (e.g. the app is installed for less than 14 days). On fake keys the web-service should not validate any dates. The key payload though needs to be the exact same size!


We started with the project before Google and Apple announced the Exposure Notifications. For some time we supported both the old DP3T protocol and the new GAEN protocol, which is based on DP3T. Now that GAEN has become available on most of the versions, we removed DP3T support in the backend to lower the attack surface and make development easier.

Legacy Notifications

Since the Exposure Notifications format has been adopted, we drop support for legacy notifications. Currently no feature-requests are implemented for the old format, but if a PR is provided, it can still be merged.

By default, the legacy controller (DPPPTController) uses the base url /v1/.

Exposure Notifications

Here an implementation for the Exposure Notification Library by Google and Apple is provided.

By default, the EN controller (GaenController) uses the base url /v1/gaen/.

The web-service provides three endpoints, which map the Exposure Notification specifications.

  • /v1/gaen/exposed: POST Send a list of infected keys. If a JWT is used to authorize the request, send a JWT back to authorize the call of the following day. If the request as a whole is a "fake"-request, meaning the JWT has the "fake" claim set to "1", no keys are inserted.

  • /v1/gaen/exposednextday: POST Since the EN framework won't give the key of the current day, the upload has to be split into two. This endpoint receives the key of the last day. This endpoint eventually will be removed, as soon as the EN framework is adjusted. If JWT are activated, this endpoint needs the JWT received from a successfull request to /v1/gaen/exposed.

  • /v1/gaen/exposed/<timestamp>?publishedafter=<publishedAfter>: GET Returns a list of keys, which were used at timestamp. Note that timestamp needs to be epoch milliseconds. Since the behaviour of Android and iOS aren't the same, the optional publishedAfter parameter is added. If set only keys, which were received after publishAfter are returned. This request returns ZIP file containing export.bin and export.sig, where the keys and the signature are stored, as need by the EN framework. The class for signing and serializing is ProtoSignature.

Further endpoints are added to the controller for debugging purposes. Those requests can e.g. be blocked by a WAF rule or similar.

JWT Validation

In order to prevent replay attacks, a JWT is only valid once. After one usage the "jit" claim is stored temporarily (longer than the validity). The JWTs are validated based on the following criteria:

  • JWT needs an expiresAt claim which is valid
  • The expiresAt claim should not be longer than the set value in the config
  • The JWT needs a "jit" claim and the said "jit" should not have been used

Content Signing

In order to provide authenticity, the HttpPayload is signed. The signature is added as a Signature HttpHeader to each 200 or 204 response. The signature consists of a JWT containing the content hash as a claim. Further, if protected-headers are added in the controller (and activated through the respective key in the properties file), those headers are signed as well, thus providing the possibility of signing certain request parameters.


We use Springboot-Swagger-3 to generate a YAML based on settings and controllers found in the project. We include a up-to-date version in each release. Currently they are lacking the documentation, but should provide enough information to use them in Swagger Editor.

Key Handling

There are multiple ways of generating and using key pairs. In the cloud configs, the public key is read from a certificate provided via SpringBoot value injection. The private key is a PKCS8-PEM encoded private key. In the default configs, the key pairs are generated via helper functions from the JWT-library used.

There are two files, GenerateKeyPair.java (outputs directly the keys) and GenerateKeyPairEC.java (preferred way of generating key pairs, uses PEM format) to give an idea on how to generate them by yourselves.

Depending on the key-size and the algorithm and/or if you are using the PemReader, you may need to add BouncyCastle (c.f. Export/Import regulations).

Note that the KeyFactory class provides a getInstance(String algorithm, String provider) overload as well (e.g. you need larger key sizes provided by BouncyCastle). You can essentially exchange EC and RSA whenever you like. For production use, please make sure that you double check the key specifications. The two files provided just use the default parameters, which may or may not be sufficient for your use case.

To load the keys you can use the KeyVault class. The class works by registering functions, which implement a possible decoding from a String to a KeyPair (respectively PrivateKey or PublicKey). To register a new provider, the static functions registerNewPublicEncodingProvider and registerNewPrivateEncodingProvider can be used. Have a look at the KeyVault class to see examples of decoding providers.

There are two possible ways of using the class. The recommended way is, to load it as a Bean and define all the KeyPairs used. The KeyVault is @Autowired into the BaseConfiguration and hence needs a instance, provided by one of the concrete configurations. Here is an example from the DevConfig:

var gaen = new KeyVault.KeyVaultEntry("gaen", getPrivateKey(), getPublicKey(), "EC");
var nextDayJWT = new KeyVault.KeyVaultEntry("nextDayJWT", getPrivateKey(), getPublicKey(), "EC");
var hashFilter = new KeyVault.KeyVaultEntry("hashFilter", getPrivateKey(), getPublicKey(), "EC"); 

try {
  return new KeyVault(gaen, nextDayJWT, hashFilter);
} catch (PrivateKeyNoSuitableEncodingFoundException | PublicKeyNoSuitableEncodingFoundException e) {
  throw new RuntimeException(e);

The constructor inserts the KeyPairs into a hash map, from which you can get the entries.

One does not need to use the constructor though, since the static functions loadPrivateKey and loadPublicKey can be used directly as well. It can be convenient, if one does not need to provide a KeyPair as, for example when only the PublicKey is provided, to verify signatures. The following code shows how to load a PublicKey.

KeyVault.loadPublicKey(loadPublicKey(), "RSA")

In any case the loadPrivateKey and loadPublicKey functions will iterate through all providers until one succeeds, or else an exception is thrown. The following providers are registered, when the class is instantiated (via @Bean for example):


  • loadPrivateKeyFromJavaEncoding: Loads a private key from a Base64 encoded version of the output of PrivateKey.getEncoded().

  • loadPrivateKeyFromPem: Loads the private key from the contents of a PEM file.


  • loadPublicKeyFromJavaEncoding: Loads a public key from a Base64 encoded version of the output of PublicKey.getEncoded().

  • loadPublicKeyFromPem: Loads the public key from the contents of a PEM file.

  • loadPublicKeyFromX509Certificate: Loads the public key from a certificate.


To build you need to install Maven.

cd dpppt-backend-sdk
mvn install

Note to run the PostgreSQL unit tests, dockerd is needed. If you want to skip those tests add -DskipTests to the build command.


java -jar dpppt-backend-sdk-ws/target/dpppt-backend-sdk-ws-*.jar


The Dockerfile includes a base JDK image to run the jar. To actually build the docker container, you need to place the generated jar in the bin folder.

cp dpppt-sdk-backend/dpppt-backend-sdk-ws/target/dpppt-backend-sdk-ws-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT.jar ws-sdk/ws/bin/dpppt-backend-sdk-ws-1.0.0
cd ws-sdk && docker build -t <the-tag-we-use> .
docker run -p 80:8080 -v <path_to_logbackxml>:/home/ws/conf/dpppt-backend-sdk-ws-logback.xml -v <path_to_application_properties>:/home/ws/conf/dpppt-backend-sdk-ws.properties <the-tag-we-use>


You can use the provided makefile to build the backend, build a docker image and generate the documentation.

Without a target, the makefile will generate everything except the docker image.


To build the docker image run

make docker-build

This will build the jar and copy it into the ws-sdk/ws/bin folder, from where it is then added to the container image. The image will be tagged as dp3t-docker.

An example logback.xml is found in the resources folder for the dpppt-backend-sdk-ws Java module.

An example application.properties file is found at the same location. Just make sure the configuration matches with your deployment (c.f. WSBaseConfig for possible properties and WSCloudBaseConfig for some CloudFoundry specific properties)

Open Source Agenda is not affiliated with "DP3T SDK Backend" Project. README Source: DP-3T/dp3t-sdk-backend
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