[javaee-spec users] [jsr342-experts] Re: security manager requirements in Java EE

From: Bill Shannon <>
Date: Thu, 08 Mar 2012 16:01:48 -0800

It's been almost a month and we've gotten very little feedback on the
questions I asked below. I hope this isn't an indication that this
expert group has little interest in security issues. :-(

Given this lack of feedback, we're assuming *all* of you support *all*
of the proposals below. We'll be moving forward accordingly.


Bill Shannon wrote on 02/10/2012 02:01 PM:
> Security has always been a key part of the Java EE platform.
> From the beginning we defined the Java security permissions
> that an application should expect to have, and we expected
> that application servers would want to control what permissions
> applications should have. Several releases ago we clarified
> the requirements so that application servers may run without a
> security manager. This was commonly used in development environments,
> and in non-Java EE application servers such as Tomcat.
> Unfortunately, what we failed to do was to make it clear that
> Java EE applications servers were also required to be able to
> run *with* a security manager, and to be able to enforce Java
> security permissions.
> ***** Unless there are objections, we intend to make this
> ***** requirement explicit in the EE 7 spec.
> One of the reasons this issue comes up is that some library and
> framework developers seem to assume that they can do anything
> they want with any Java API. Users then complain when these
> libraries or frameworks don't work in an application server that
> uses a security manager.
> A degenerate way that an application server could meet the requirement
> to be able to run with a security manager would be to simply grant
> all applications all permissions all the time. Obviously that
> wouldn't address the core problem. Thus, we believe we also need
> a clear requirement that the application server be able to
> *restrict* the set of permissions granted to an application.
> Defining a requirement in this area is a bit tricky. While it
> might seem attractive to require that an application server be
> able to run applications with *only* the minimum permissions
> defined in the spec, it's possible that there could be product
> specific (non-standard) permissions that are needed. Still,
> it seems like it would be good to define some boundaries here.
> ***** Would you support a requirement to be able to run
> ***** applications with a restricted set of permissions?
> We think it's especially likely that a Java EE cloud product
> will use a security manager to maintain control over the
> operational environment. Remember, our target is PaaS, not
> Middleware over IaaS:
> In a true PaaS environment, application permissions are likely
> to be restricted to only what's needed. In such an environment,
> it may be useful to know if the application needs any permissions
> beyond the minimum that the platform spec guarantees.
> Something we've been considering for quite some time is to provide
> a way for an application to include a list of these additional
> permissions it needs. The platform implementation could then
> evaluate these permissions and ensure that the application is
> granted what it needs, or reject deployment of the application.
> ***** Would you support including such a capability in Java EE?
> Other than the first item above, we're not sure how many of these
> items we can address for EE 7, but we wanted to see if there was
> support in principle for these items before we moved forward.
> Let us know what you think.