[javaee-spec users] [jsr342-experts] Re: Improved Credential and SSL Configuration for EE 7

From: Bill Shannon <>
Date: Fri, 09 Mar 2012 11:02:10 -0800

Jason T. Greene wrote on 03/08/12 22:42:
> On 3/8/12 6:09 PM, Bill Shannon wrote:
>> I've uploaded another proposal from our security team. Please review
>> and give us your feedback.
> Frankly the whole idea of sticking private keys and password databases in
> deployments seems like a major hazard. Developers are used to copying these
> around everywhere. I could easily see someone forgetting they have sensitive
> information in here. People also tend to use short and bad passwords in
> keystores which makes bruteforcing a PKCS12 file not that difficult.

Note that we *already* allow you to include clear text passwords in your code.
That's nothing new. As always, you have to apply judgment when using these

The point of this proposal is to allow you to include passwords in a more
secure manner. The passwords would be encrypted, not clear, and the
encryption password would be supplied separately. If you think we should
have password strength requirements for the keystore password, we could
talk about that.

Developers already complain that portability of their application suffers
greatly once they have to deal with security. Every product provides a
different mechanism for configuring securing, setting passwords, etc.
It's impossible to write a tutorial that tells people how to write
portable and secure *Java EE* applications because you quickly have to
delve into the intricacies of configuring security for GlassFish or
WebLogic or JBoss or WebSphere or ... Because of that, too many people
just ignore security, or suffer from poor and inconsistent advice for how
to secure their applications. We should be making it easier for people
to write secure applications for the Java EE *platform*.

Also, remember that we're targeting PaaS with Java EE 7. In a PaaS
environment it's much less likely that you'll have direct control over
the admin capabilities of the underlying app server. And there's
probably not a system administrator that you can appeal to to set this
up for you.

Remember also that we're trying to create a platform that is both easy
for developers to use when getting started *and* scales to enterprise
deployments. If we *only* allowed things in the platform that made
sense for large enterprise deployments, we would lose lots of developers.
That's why we allow passwords to be included in applications at all.
It's not because we expect large enterprise deployments to have applications
with clear text passwords embedded all over them.

This new proposal tries to bridge the gap between developers and enterprise
deployers by providing the convenience of bundling passwords with applications
but doing so in a way that provides some security for those passwords.
Rather than telling developers "don't include passwords in your application,
you figure out what to do instead", we can tell them "here's a secure and
convenient way to include passwords in your application".