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PSK Authentication

Pre-Shared Key (PSK) authentication is a method of authentication that relies on a pre-shared key for identity verification. Using the PSK authentication method, both the client and EMQX must pre-share the same key before establishing a secured connection. The pre-shared key is then used to encrypt and decrypt data in establishing the TLS connection between the client and EMQX and in subsequent communications. With the PSK authentication enabled, the client and EMQX can authenticate each other and establish a secure connection without the need for certificates or certificate authorities.

This page introduces how to enable PSK authentication in EMQX.

  1. Create a file data/psk_file.txt in any directory, containing the identity and secret value of the pre-shared key.


    The secret value can be any string.

    # One data per line, in the format of PSKIdentity:SharedSecret
  2. Add the psk_authentication configuration group in the emqx.conf configuration file.

    psk_authentication {
      enable = true
      init_file = "data/psk_file.txt"
  3. Configure the SSL listener in the emqx.conf configuration file. Modify the listeners.ssl.default group by adding the following options.

    • ssl_options.versions: Remove tlsv1.3 support, since tlsv1.3 version configuration suppresses PSK ciphers.
    • ssl_options.ciphers: Configure to use PSK cipher suits.


    If the RSA-PSK cipher suites are used, the RSA certificate is still required, see RFC4279 for details.

    listeners.ssl.default {
      acceptors = 4
      bind = 8883
      ssl_options {
        ciphers = ["RSA-PSK-AES256-GCM-SHA384","RSA-PSK-AES256-CBC-SHA384","RSA-PSK-AES128-GCM-SHA256","RSA-PSK-AES128-CBC-SHA256","RSA-PSK-AES256-CBC-SHA","RSA-PSK-AES128-CBC-SHA"]
        versions = ["tlsv1.2", "tlsv1.1", "tlsv1"]