One of Java's most striking claims is that it provides a secure programming environment. Yet despite endless discussion, few people understand precisely what Java's claims mean and how it backs up those claims. If you're a developer, network administrator or anyone else who must understand or work with Java's security mechanisms, Java Security is the in-depth exploration you need.Java Security, 2nd Edition, focuses on the basic platform features of Java that provide security--the class loader, the bytecode ...

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Java Security

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One of Java's most striking claims is that it provides a secure programming environment. Yet despite endless discussion, few people understand precisely what Java's claims mean and how it backs up those claims. If you're a developer, network administrator or anyone else who must understand or work with Java's security mechanisms, Java Security is the in-depth exploration you need.Java Security, 2nd Edition, focuses on the basic platform features of Java that provide security--the class loader, the bytecode verifier, and the security manager--and recent additions to Java that enhance this security model: digital signatures, security providers, and the access controller. The book covers the security model of Java 2, Version 1.3, which is significantly different from that of Java 1.1. It has extensive coverage of the two new important security APIs: JAAS (Java Authentication and Authorization Service) and JSSE (Java Secure Sockets Extension). Java Security, 2nd Edition, will give you a clear understanding of the architecture of Java's security model and how to use that model in both programming and administration.The book is intended primarily for programmers who want to write secure Java applications. However, it is also an excellent resource for system and network administrators who are interested in Java security, particularly those who are interested in assessing the risk of using Java and need to understand how the security model works in order to assess whether or not Java meets their security needs.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Is Java secure? That depends, says Scott Oaks: What are you going to use it for? Fortunately, Oaks doesn't stop there: His latest book presents a systematic, realistic tour of Java security, showing how it's evolved to include options never included in the original Java sandbox (such as support for digital signatures and external auditing security managers). Oaks focuses on what programmers need to know to implement security (with plenty of code samples). However, the book will also be useful to sysadmins and managers who must clearly understand the security issues associated with the Java software they're running.

Java Security, Second Edition covers virtually every Java security-related feature and architectural issue developers will encounter in building secure applications: the security manager; the class loader; security providers; keys and certificates; and many other key topics. Java security continues to evolve rapidly, so Oaks doesn't stop with the major changes introduced by the Java 2 security model; he reviews optional Java 1.3 security extensions that will move into the core SDK in release 1.4. These include the Java Secure Sockets Extension (JSSE) 1.0.2 (for performing key management and SSL operations); and the Java Authentication and Authorization Service (JAAS) 1.0.

You'll learn how to build Java applications that implement your organization's custom security policies; as well as how to leverage "generic" security features such as digital signatures. He pulls no punches; to the extent that Java security remains limited, he tells you ("If you really need conformance with a U.S. government-approved definition of security, Java is not the platform for you.") (Bill Camarda)

Bill Camarda is a consultant and writer with nearly 20 years' experience in helping technology companies deploy and market advanced software, computing, and networking products and services. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.

From The Critics
Focusing on security from the perspective of the Java programmer, this guide describes the architecture of Java's security model and explains its uses, both for programming and administration. The book covers Java's basic platform security features as well as recent additions that enhance its utility. In so doing, it describes the default policies and offers advice on designing and implementing customized polices. Particular attention is paid to APIs within Java. Oaks is a software engineer. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781449372118
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/17/2001
  • Series: Java Series
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 620
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Scott Oaks is a Java Technologist at Sun Microsystems, where he has worked since 1987. While at Sun, he has specialized in many disparate technologies, from the SunOS kernel to network programming and RPCs. Since 1995, hes focused primarily on Java and bringing Java technology to end-users. Scott also authored OReillys Java Security, Java Threads and Jini in a Nutshell titles.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Java Application Security

In this chapter:
  • What Is Security?
  • Software Used in this Book
  • The Java Sandbox
  • Security Debugging
When Java was first released by Sun Microsystems, it attracted the attention of programmers throughout the world. These developers were attracted to Java for different reasons: some were drawn to Java because of its cross-platform capabilities, some because of its ease of programming (especially compared to object-oriented languages like C++), some because of its robustness and memory management, some because of Java's security, and some for still other reasons.

Just as different developers came to Java with different expectations, so too did they bring different expectations as to what was meant by the ubiquitous phrase "Java is secure." Security means different things to different people, and many developers who had certain expectations about the word "security" were surprised to find that their expectations were not necessarily shared by the designers of Java.

This book discusses the features of Java that make it secure. In this book, we'll discuss why Java is said to be secure, what that security means (and doesn't mean), and--most importantly--how to use the security features of the Java platform within your own programs. This last point is actually the focus of this book: while some of Java's security features are automatically a part of all Java programs, many of them are not. In this book, we'll learn about all those features and how to utilize them in our own Java applications.

What Is Security?

The first thing that we must do to facilitate our discussion of Java security is to discuss just what Java's security goals are. The term "security" is vague unless it is discussed in some context; different expectations of the term "security" might lead us to expect that Java programs would be:

Safe from malevolent programs

Programs should not be allowed to harm a user's computing environment. This includes Trojan horses as well as harmful programs that can replicate themselves--computer viruses.


Programs should be prevented from discovering private information on the host computer or the host computer's network.


The identity of parties involved in the program--both the author and the user of the program--should be verified.


Data that the program sends and receives--over the network or through a persistent store such as a filesystem or database--should be encrypted.


Potentially sensitive operations should always be logged.


A well-defined security specification should be followed.


Rules of operation should be set and verified.


Programs should be prevented from consuming too many system resources: too much CPU time, too much memory, and so on.

C2 or B1 certified

Programs should have certification from the U.S. government that certain security procedures are followed.

In fact, while all of these features could be part of a secure system, only the first two were within the province of Java's 1.0 default security model. Other items in the list have been introduced in later versions of Java: authentication was added in 1.1, encryption is available as an extension to the Java 2 platform, and auditing can be added to any Java program by providing an auditing security manager. Still others of these items will be added in the future. But the basic premise remains that Java security was originally and fundamentally designed to protect the information on a computer from being accessed or modified (including a modification that would introduce a virus) while still allowing the Java program to run on that computer.

The point driving this notion of security is the new distribution model for Java programs. One of the driving forces behind Java, of course, is its ability to download programs over a network and run those programs on another machine. This is something most computer users do today within the context of a Java-enabled browser, although the idea behind portable code like this is beginning to seep into other applications, such as those based on Jini technology. Coupled with the widespread growth of Internet use--and the public-access nature of the Internet--Java's ability to bring programs to a user on an as-needed, just-in-time basis has been a strong reason for its rapid deployment and acceptance.

The nature of the Internet created a new and largely unprecedented requirement for programs to be free of viruses and Trojan horses. Computer users had always been used to purchasing shrink-wrapped software. Many soon began downloading software via ftp or other means and then running that software on their machines. But widespread downloading also led to a pervasive problem of malevolent attributes both in free and (ironically) in commercial software, a problem which continues unabated. The introduction of Java into this equation had the potential to multiply this problem by orders of magnitude, as computer users now download programs automatically and frequently.

For Java to succeed, it needed to circumvent the virus/trojan horse problems that plagued other models of software distribution. Hence, the early work on Java focused on just that issue: Java programs are considered safe because they cannot install, run, or propagate viruses and because the program itself cannot perform any action that is harmful to the user's computing environment. And in this context, safety means security. This is not to say that the other issues in the above list are not important--each has its place and its importance (in fact, we'll spend a great deal of time in this book on the third and fourth topics in that list). But the issues of protecting information and preventing viruses were considered most important; hence, features to provide that level of security were the first to be adopted. Like all parts of Java, its security model is evolving (and has evolved through its various releases); many of the notions about security in our list will eventually make their way into Java.

One of the primary goals of this book, then, is to explain Java's security model and its evolution with each subsequent release. In the final analysis, whether or not Java is secure is a subjective judgment that individual users will have to make based on their own requirements. If all you want from Java is freedom from viruses, any release of Java should meet your needs. If you need to introduce authentication or encryption into your program, you'll need to use a 1.1 or later release of Java. If you have a requirement that all operations be audited, you'll need to build that auditing into your applications. If you really need conformance with a U.S. government-approved definition of security, Java is not the platform for you. We take a very pragmatic view of security in this book: the issue is not whether a system that lacks a particular feature qualifies as "secure" according to someone's definition of security. The issue is whether Java possesses the features that meet your needs....

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Table of Contents

Preface xi
1. Java Application Security 1
What Is Security? 1
Software Used in This Book 4
The Java Sandbox 10
Security Debugging 15
Summary 17
2. The Default Sandbox 18
Elements of the Java Sandbox 18
Permissions 20
Keystores 32
Code Sources 32
Policy Files 33
The Default Sandbox 38
The java.security File 41
Comparison with Previous Releases 41
Summary 42
3. Java Language Security 43
Java Language Security Constructs 44
Enforcement of the Java Language Rules 50
Comparisons with Previous Releases 56
Summary 57
4. The Security Manager 58
Overview of the Security Manager 59
Operating on the Security Manager 64
Methods of the Security Manager 65
Comparison with Previous Releases 80
Summary 82
5. The Access Controller 84
The CodeSource Class 85
Permissions 86
The Policy Class 98
Protection Domains 101
The AccessController Class 102
Guarded Objects 109
Comparison with Previous Releases 110
Summary 111
6. Java Class Loaders 112
The Class Loader and Namespaces 112
Class Loading Architecture 115
Implementing a Class Loader 117
Miscellaneous Class Loading Topics 127
Comparison with Previous Releases 129
Summary 130
7. Introduction to Cryptography 131
The Need for Authentication 132
The Role of Authentication 137
Cryptographic Engines 138
Summary 144
8. Security Providers 146
The Architecture of Security Providers 146
The Provider Class 152
The Security Class 158
The Architecture of Engine Classes 163
Comparison with Previous Releases 164
Summary 164
9. Keys and Certificates 166
Keys 167
Generating Keys 172
Key Factories 181
Certificates 189
Keys, Certificates, and Object Serialization 202
Comparison with Previous Releases 203
Summary 204
10. Key Management 205
Key Management Terms 206
The keytool 209
The Key Management API 221
A Key Management Example 228
Secret Key Management 234
Comparison with Previous Releases 241
Summary 243
11. Message Digests 244
Using the Message Digest Class 244
Secure Message Digests 248
Message Digest Streams 251
Implementing a MessageDigest Class 255
Comparison with Previous Releases 260
Summary 260
12. Digital Signatures 261
The Signature Class 261
Signed Classes 272
Implementing a Signature Class 281
Comparison with Previous Releases 286
Summary 287
13. Cipher-Based Encryption 288
The Cipher Engine 288
Cipher Streams 305
Sealed Objects 309
Comparison with Previous Releases 310
Summary 310
14. SSL and HTTPS 311
An Overview of SSL and JSSE 311
SSL Client and Server Sockets 321
SSL Sessions 324
SSL Contexts and Key Managers 327
Miscellaneous SSL Issues 337
The HTTPS Protocol Handler 341
Debugging JSSE 344
Summary 345
15. Authentication and Authorization 346
JAAS Overview 347
Simple JAAS programming 349
Simple JAAS Administration 352
Advanced JAAS Topics 362
Summary 378
A. The Java.security File 379
B. Security Resources 382
C. Identity-Based Key Management 392
D. The Secure Java Container 420
E. Implementing a JCE Security Provider 450
F. Quick Reference 458
Index 567
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