Security Role Assignment Example

Programming WebLogic Security

Securing Web Applications

WebLogic Server supports the Java EE architecture security model for securing Web applications, which includes support for declarative authorization (also referred to in this document as declarative security) and programmatic authorization (also referred to in this document as programmatic security).

This section covers the following topics:

Note:You can use deployment descriptor files and the Administration Console to secure Web applications. This document describes how to use deployment descriptor files. For information on using the Administration Console to secure Web applications, see Securing WebLogic Resources Using Roles and Policies.

WebLogic Server supports the use of the and methods and the use of the element in deployment descriptors to implement programmatic authorization in Web applications.

 


Authentication With Web Browsers

Web browsers can connect to WebLogic Server over either a HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) port or an HTTP with SSL (HTTPS) port. The benefits of using an HTTPS port versus an HTTP port are two-fold. With HTTPS connections:

  • All communication on the network between the Web browser and the server is encrypted. None of the communication, including the user name and password, is in clear text.
  • As a minimum authentication requirement, the server is required to present a digital certificate to the Web browser client to prove its identity.

If the server is configured for two-way SSL authentication, both the server and client are required to present a digital certificate to each other to prove their identity.

User Name and Password Authentication

WebLogic Server performs user name and password authentication when users use a Web browser to connect to the server via the HTTP port. In this scenario, the browser and an instance of WebLogic Server interact in the following manner to authenticate a user (see Figure 3-1):

  1. A user invokes a WebLogic resource in WebLogic Server by entering the URL for that resource in a Web browser. The URL contains the HTTP listen port, for example, .
  2. The Web server in WebLogic Server receives the request.
  3. Note:WebLogic Server provides its own Web server but also supports the use of Apache Server, Microsoft Internet Information Server, and Netscape Enterprise Server as Web servers.
  4. The Web server determines whether the WebLogic resource is protected by a security policy. If the WebLogic resource is protected, the Web server uses the established HTTP connection to request a user name and password from the user.
  5. When the user’s Web browser receives the request from the Web server, it prompts the user for a user name and password.
  6. The Web browser sends the request to the Web server again, along with the user name and password.
  7. The Web server forwards the request to the Web server plug-in. WebLogic Server provides the following plug-ins for Web servers:
    • Apache-WebLogic Server plug-in
    • Netscape Server Application Programming Interface (NSAPI)
    • Internet Information Server Application Programming Interface (ISAPI)
    • The Web server plug-in performs authentication by sending the request, via the HTTP protocol, to WebLogic Server, along with the authentication data (user name and password) received from the user.

  8. Upon successful authentication, WebLogic Server proceeds to determine whether the user is authorized to access the WebLogic resource.
  9. Before invoking a method on the WebLogic resource, the WebLogic Server instance performs a security authorization check. During this check, the server security extracts the user’s credentials from the security context, determines the user’s security role, compares the user’s security role to the security policy for the requested WebLogic resource, and verifies that the user is authorized to invoke the method on the WebLogic resource.
  10. If authorization succeeds, the server fulfills the request.
  11. Figure 3-1 Secure Login for Web Browsers



Digital Certificate Authentication

WebLogic Server uses encryption and digital certificate authentication when Web browser users connect to the server via the HTTPS port. In this scenario, the browser and WebLogic Server instance interact in the following manner to authenticate and authorize a user (see Figure 3-1):

  1. A user invokes a WebLogic resource in WebLogic Server by entering the URL for that resource in a Web browser. The URL contains the SSL listen port, for example, .
  2. The Web server in WebLogic Server receives the request.
  3. Note:WebLogic Server provides its own Web server but also supports the use of Apache Server, Microsoft Internet Information Server, and Netscape Enterprise Server as Web servers.
  4. The Web server checks whether the WebLogic resource is protected by a security policy. If the WebLogic resource is protected, the Web server uses the established HTTPS connection to request a user name and password from the user.
  5. When the user’s Web browser receives the request from WebLogic Server, it prompts the user for a user name and password. (This step is optional.)
  6. The Web browser sends the request again, along with the user name and password. (Only supplied if requested by the server.)
  7. WebLogic Server presents its digital certificate to the Web browser.
  8. The Web browser checks that the server’s name used in the URL (for example, ) matches the name in the digital certificate and that the digital certificate was issued by a trusted third party, that is, a trusted CA
  9. If two-way SSL authentication is in force on the server, the server requests a digital certificate from the client.
  10. Note:Even though WebLogic Server cannot be configured to enforce the full two-way SSL handshake with Web Server proxy plug-ins, proxy plug-ins can be configured to provide the client certificate to the server if it is needed. To do this, configure the proxy plug-in to export the client certificate in the HTTP Header for WebLogic Server. For instructions on how to configure proxy plug-ins to export the client certificate to WebLogic Server, see the configuration information for the specific plug-in in Using Web Server Plug-Ins With WebLogic Server.
  11. The Web server forwards the request to the Web server plug-in. If secure proxy is set (this is the case if the HTTPS protocol is being used), the Web server plug-in also performs authentication by sending the request, via the HTTPS protocol, to the WebLogic resource in WebLogic Server, along with the authentication data (user name and password) received from the user.
  12. Note:When using two-way SSL authentication, you can also configure the server to do identity assertion based on the client’s certificate, where, instead of supplying a user name and password, the server extracts the user name and password from the client’s certificate.
  13. Upon successful authentication, WebLogic Server proceeds to determine whether the user is authorized to access the WebLogic resource.
  14. Before invoking a method on the WebLogic resource, the server performs a security authorization check. During this check, the server extracts the user’s credentials from the security context, determines the user’s security role, compares the user’s security role to the security policy for the requested WebLogic resource, and verifies that the user is authorized to invoke the method on the WebLogic resource.
  15. If authorization succeeds, the server fulfills the request.

For more information, see the following documents:

 


Multiple Web Applications, Cookies, and Authentication

By default, WebLogic Server assigns the same cookie name () to all Web applications. When you use any type of authentication, all Web applications that use the same cookie name use a single sign-on for authentication. Once a user is authenticated, that authentication is valid for requests to any Web Application that uses the same cookie name. The user is not prompted again for authentication.

If you want to require separate authentication for a Web application, you can specify a unique cookie name or cookie path for the Web application. Specify the cookie name using the parameter and the cookie path with the parameter, defined in the WebLogic-specific deployment descriptor element. For more information, see session-descriptor in Developing Web Applications, Servlets, and JSPs for WebLogic Server.

If you want to retain the cookie name and still require independent authentication for each Web application, you can set the cookie path parameter () differently for each Web application.

WebLogic Server allows a user to securely access HTTPS resources in a session that was initiated using HTTP, without loss of session data. This feature enables Web site designers to prevent session stealing. For more information on this feature, see Using Secure Cookies to Prevent Session Stealing.

Using Secure Cookies to Prevent Session Stealing

A common Web security problem is session stealing. This happens when an attacker manages to get a copy of your session cookie, generally while the cookie is being transmitted over the network. This can only happen when the data is being sent in clear-text; that is, the cookie is not encrypted.

WebLogic Server allows a user to securely access HTTPS resources in a session that was initiated using HTTP, without loss of session data. To enable this feature, add to the element in :

Setting to , which is the default setting, causes the WebLogic Server instance to send a new secure cookie, , to the browser when authenticating via an HTTPS connection. Once the secure cookie is set, the session is allowed to access other security-constrained HTTPS resources only if the cookie is sent from the browser.

Note:This feature will work even when cookies are disabled because WebLogic Server will use URL rewriting over secure connections to rewrite secure URLs in order to encode the in the URL along with the .

Thus, WebLogic Server uses two cookies: the cookie and the cookie. By default, the cookie is never secure, but the cookie is always secure. A secure cookie is only sent when an encrypted communication channel is in use. Assuming a standard HTTPS login (HTTPS is an encrypted HTTP connection), your browser gets both cookies.

For subsequent HTTP access, you are considered authenticated if you have a valid cookie, but for HTTPS access, you must have both cookies to be considered authenticated. If you only have the cookie, you must re-authenticate.

With this feature enabled, once you have logged in over HTTPS, the secure cookie is only sent encrypted over the network and therefore can never be stolen in transit. The cookie is still subject to in-transit hijacking. Therefore, a Web site designer can ensure that session stealing is not a problem by making all sensitive data require HTTPS. While the HTTP session cookie is still vulnerable to being stolen and used, all sensitive operations require the, which cannot be stolen, so those operations are protected.

You can also specify a cookie name for or using the parameter defined in the deployment descriptor’s element, as follows:

<session-descriptor>
<cookie-name></cookie-name>
</session-descriptor>

In this case, Weblogic Server will not use and , but and to serve the same purpose, as shown in Table 3-1.

User-Specified in Deployment Descriptor

HTTP Session

HTTPS Session

No - uses the default

Yes - specified as

 


Developing Secure Web Applications

WebLogic Server supports three types of authentication for Web browsers:

The following sections cover the different ways to use these types of authentication:

Developing BASIC Authentication Web Applications

With basic authentication, the Web browser pops up a login screen in response to a WebLogic resource request. The login screen prompts the user for a user name and password. Figure 3-2 shows a typical login screen.

Figure 3-2 Authentication Login Screen

To develop a Web application that provides basic authentication, perform these steps:

  1. Create the deployment descriptor. In this file you include the following information (see Listing 3-1):
    1. Define the welcome file. The welcome file name is .
    2. Define a security constraint for each set of Web application resources, that is, URL resources, that you plan to protect. Each set of resources share a common URL. URL resources such as HTML pages, JSPs, and servlets are the most commonly protected, but other types of URL resources are supported. In Listing 3-1, the URL pattern points to the file located in the Web application’s top-level directory; the HTTP methods that are allowed to access the URL resource, POST and GET; and the security role name, .
    3. Note:When specifying security role names, observe the following conventions and restrictions:
      • The proper syntax for a security role name is as defined for an in the Extensible Markup Language (XML) recommendation available on the Web at: http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-xml#NT-Nmtoken.
      • Do not use blank spaces, commas, hyphens, or any characters in this comma-separated list: \t, < >, #, |, &, ~, ?, ( ), { }.
      • Security role names are case sensitive.
      • The BEA suggested convention for security role names is that they be singular.
    4. Use the <login-config> tag to define the type of authentication you want to use and the security realm to which the security constraints will be applied. In Listing 3-1, the BASIC type is specified and the realm is the default realm, which means that the security constraints will apply to the active security realm when the WebLogic Server instance boots.
    5. Define one or more security roles and map them to your security constraints. In our sample, only one security role, , is defined in the security constraint so only one security role name is defined here (see the <security-role> tag in Listing 3-1). However, any number of security roles can be defined.
    6. Listing 3-1 Basic Authentication web.xml File

      <?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
      <web-app xmlns="http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/j2ee" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
          <web-app>
      <welcome-file-list>
      <welcome-file>welcome.jsp</welcome-file>
      </welcome-file-list>
      <security-constraint>
      <web-resource-collection>
      <web-resource-name>Success</web-resource-name>
      <url-pattern>/welcome.jsp</url-pattern>
      <http-method>GET</http-method>
      <http-method>POST</http-method>
      </web-resource-collection>
      <auth-constraint>
      <role-name>webuser</role-name>
      </auth-constraint>
      </security-constraint>
      <login-config>
      <auth-method>BASIC</auth-method>
      <realm-name>default</realm-name>
      </login-config>
      <security-role>
      <role-name>webuser</role-name>
      </security-role>
      </web-app>
  2. Create the deployment descriptor. In this file you map security role names to users and groups. Listing 3-2 shows a sample file that maps the security role defined in the <security-role> tag in the file to a group named . Note that principals can be users or groups, so the can be used for either. With this configuration, WebLogic Server will only allow users in to access the protected URL resource—.
  3. Note:Starting in version 9.0, the default role mapping behavior is to create empty role mappings when none are specified in . In version 8.x, if you did not include a file, or included the file but did not include mappings for all security roles, security roles without mappings defaulted to any user or group whose name matched the role name. For information on role mapping behavior and backward compatibility settings, see the section Understanding the Combined Role Mapping Enabled Setting in the Securing WebLogic Resources Using Roles and Policies manual.

    Listing 3-2 BASIC Authentication weblogic.xml File

    <?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
    <weblogic-web-app xmlns="http://www.bea.com/ns/weblogic/90" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
    <security-role-assignment>
    <role-name>webuser</role-name>
    <principal-name>myGroup</principal-name>
    </security-role-assignment>
    </weblogic-web-app>
  4. Create a file that produces the Welcome screen that displays when the user enters a user name and password and is granted access. Listing 3-3 shows a sample file. Figure 3-3 shows the Welcome screen.
  5. Listing 3-3 BASIC Authentication welcome.jsp File

    <html>
    <head>
    <title>Browser Based Authentication Example Welcome Page</title>
    </head>
    <h1> Browser Based Authentication Example Welcome Page </h1>
    <p> Welcome <%= request.getRemoteUser() %>!
    </blockquote>
    </body>
    </html>
Note:In Listing 3-3, notice that the JSP is calling an API () to get the name of the user that logged in. A different API, , could be used instead. To use this API to get the name of the user, use it with the API as follows:
String username = weblogic.security.SubjectUtils.getUsername(
weblogic.security.Security.getCurrentSubject());

Figure 3-3 Welcome Screen



  1. Start WebLogic Server and define the users and groups that will have access to the URL resource. In the file (see Listing 3-2), the <principal-name> tag defines as the group that has access to the . Therefore, use the Administration Console to define the group, define a user, and add that user to the group. For information on adding users and groups, see Users, Groups, and Security Roles in Securing WebLogic Resources Using Roles and Policies.
  2. Deploy the Web application and use the user defined in the previous step to access the protected URL resource.
    1. For deployment instructions, see Deploying Web Applications on page 3-26.
    2. Open a Web browser and enter this URL:
    3. Enter the user name and password. The Welcome screen displays.

Using HttpSessionListener to Account for Browser Caching of Credentials

The browser caches user credentials and frequently re-sends them to the server automatically. This can give the appearance that WebLogic Server sessions are not being destroyed after logout or timeout. Depending on the browser, the credentials can be cached just for the current browser session, or across browser sessions.

You can validate that a WebLogic Server's session was destroyed by creating a class that implements the interface. Implementations of this interface are notified of changes to the list of active sessions in a web application. To receive notification events, the implementation class must be configured in the deployment descriptor for the web application in .

To configure a session listener class:

  1. Open the deployment descriptor of the Web application for which you are creating a session listener class in a text editor. The file is located in the WEB-INF directory of your Web application.
  2. Add an event declaration using the listener element of the web.xml deployment descriptor. The event declaration defines the event listener class that is invoked when the event occurs. For example:
    See Configuring an Event Listener Class for additional information and guidelines.

Write and deploy the session listener class. The example shown in Listing 3-4 uses a simple counter to track the session count.

Listing 3-4 Tracking the Session Count

import javax.servlet.http.HttpSessionListener;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpSessionEvent;
public class MySessionListener implements HttpSessionListener {
private static int sessionCount = 0;

public void sessionCreated(HttpSessionEvent se) {
sessionCount++;
// Write to a log or do some other processing.
}
public void sessionDestroyed(HttpSessionEvent se) {
if(sessionCount > 0)
sessionCount--;
//Write to a log or do some other processing.
}

Understanding BASIC Authentication with Unsecured Resources

For WebLogic Server versions 9.2 and later, client requests that use HTTP BASIC authentication must pass WebLogic Server authentication, even if access control is not enabled on the target resource.

The setting of the Security Configuration MBean flag determines this behavior. (The DomainMBean can return the new Security Configuration MBean for the domain.) It specifies whether or not the system should allow requests with invalid HTTP BASIC authentication credentials to access unsecured resources.

Note:The Security Configuration MBean provides domain-wide security configuration information. The enforce-valid-basic-auth-credentials flag effects the entire domain.

The flag is true by default, and WebLogic Server authentication is performed. If authentication fails, the request is rejected. WebLogic Server must therefore have knowledge of the user and password.

You may want to change the default behavior if you rely on an alternate authentication mechanism. For example, you might use a backend web service to authenticate the client, and WebLogic Server does not need to know about the user. With the default authentication enforcement enabled, the web service can do its own authentication, but only if WebLogic Server authentication first succeeds.

If you explicitly set the flag to false, WebLogic Server does not perform authentication for HTTP BASIC authentication client requests for which access control was not enabled for the target resource.

In the previous example of a backend web service that authenticates the client, the web service can then perform its own authentication without WebLogic Server having knowledge of the user.

Setting the enforce-valid-basic-auth-credentials Flag

To set the e flag, perform the following steps:

  1. Add the element to within the element.
  2. Start or restart all of the servers in the domain.

Using WLST to Check the Value of enforce-valid-basic-auth-credentials

The Administration Console does not display or log the setting. However, you can use WLST to check the value in a running server. Remember that is a domain-wide setting.

The WLST session shown in Listing 3-5 demonstrates how to check the value of the flag in a sample running server.

Listing 3-5 Checking the Value of enforce-valid-basic-auth-credentials

wls:/offline> connect('weblogic','weblogic','t3://localhost:7001')
Connecting to t3://localhost:7001 with userid weblogic ...
Successfully connected to Admin Server 'examplesServer' that belongs to domain '
wl_server'.
wls:/wl_server/serverConfig> cd('SecurityConfiguration')
wls:/wl_server/serverConfig/SecurityConfiguration> ls()
wls:/wl_server/serverConfig/SecurityConfiguration> cd('wl_server')
wls:/wl_server/serverConfig/SecurityConfiguration/wl_server> ls()
-r-- AnonymousAdminLookupEnabled false
-r-- CompatibilityConnectionFiltersEnabled false
-r-- ConnectionFilter null
-r-- ConnectionFilterRules null
-r-- ConnectionLoggerEnabled false
-r-- ConsoleFullDelegationEnabled false
-r-- CredentialEncrypted ******
-r-- CrossDomainSecurityEnabled false
-r-- DowngradeUntrustedPrincipals false
-r-- EnforceStrictURLPattern true

Developing FORM Authentication Web Applications

When using FORM authentication with Web applications, you provide a custom login screen that the Web browser displays in response to a Web application resource request and an error screen that displays if the login fails. The login screen can be generated using an HTML page, JSP, or servlet. The benefit of form-based login is that you have complete control over these screens so that you can design them to meet the requirements of your application or enterprise policy/guideline.

The login screen prompts the user for a user name and password. Figure 3-4 shows a typical login screen generated using a JSP and Listing 3-6 shows the source code.

Figure 3-4 Form-Based Login Screen (login.jsp)

Listing 3-6 Form-Based Login Screen Source Code (login.jsp)

<html>
<head>)
<title>Security WebApp login page</title>
</head>
<body bgcolor="#cccccc">
<blockquote>
<img src=BEA_Button_Final_web.gif align=right>
<h2>Please enter your user name and password:</h2>
<p>
<form method="POST" action="j_security_check">
<table border=1>
<tr>
<td>Username:</td>
<td><input type="text" name="j_username"></td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Password:</td>
<td><input type="password" name="j_password"></td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td colspan=2 align=right><input type=submit
value="Submit"></td>
</tr>
</table>
</form>
</blockquote>
</body>
</html>

Figure 3-5 shows a typical login error screen generated using HTML and Listing 3-7 shows the source code.

Figure 3-5 Login Error Screen

Listing 3-7 Login Error Screen Source Code

<html>
<head>
<title>Login failed</title>
</head>
<body bgcolor=#ffffff>
<blockquote>
<img src=/security/BEA_Button_Final_web.gif align=right>
<h2>Sorry, your user name and password were not recognized.</h2>
<p><b>
<a href="/security/welcome.jsp">Return to welcome page</a> or
<a href="/security/logout.jsp">logout</a>
</b>
</blockquote>
</body>
</html>

To develop a Web application that provides FORM authentication, perform these steps:

  1. Create the deployment descriptor. In this file you include the following information (see Listing 3-8):
    1. Define the welcome file. The welcome file name is .
    2. Define a security constraint for each set of URL resources that you plan to protect. Each set of URL resources share a common URL. URL resources such as HTML pages, JSPs, and servlets are the most commonly protected, but other types of URL resources are supported. In Listing 3-8, the URL pattern points to /admin/edit.jsp, thus protecting the file located in the Web application’s sub-directory, defines the HTTP method that is allowed to access the URL resource, , and defines the security role name, .
    3. Note:Do not use hyphens in security role names. Security role names with hyphens cannot be modified in the Administration Console. Also, the BEA suggested convention for security role names is that they be singular.
    4. Define the type of authentication you want to use and the security realm to which the security constraints will be applied. In this case, the type is specified and no realm is specified, so the realm is the default realm, which means that the security constraints will apply to the security realm that is activated when a WebLogic Server instance boots.
    5. Define one or more security roles and map them to your security constraints. In our sample, only one security role, , is defined in the security constraint so only one security role name is defined here. However, any number of security roles can be defined.
    6. Listing 3-8 FORM Authentication web.xml File

      <?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
      <web-app xmlns="http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/j2ee" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
      <welcome-file-list>
      <welcome-file>welcome.jsp</welcome-file>
      </welcome-file-list>
      <security-constraint>
      <web-resource-collection>
      <web-resource-name>AdminPages</web-resource-name>
      <description>
      These pages are only accessible by authorized
      administrators.
      </description>
      <url-pattern>/admin/edit.jsp</url-pattern>
      <http-method>GET</http-method>
      </web-resource-collection>
      <auth-constraint>
      <description>
      These are the roles who have access.
      </description>
      <role-name>
      admin
      </role-name>
      </auth-constraint>
      <user-data-constraint>
      <description>
      This is how the user data must be transmitted.
      </description>
      <transport-guarantee>NONE</transport-guarantee>
      </user-data-constraint>
      </security-constraint>
      <login-config>
      <auth-method>FORM</auth-method>
      <form-login-config>
      <form-login-page>/login.jsp</form-login-page>
      <form-error-page>/fail_login.html</form-error-page>
      </form-login-config>
      </login-config>
      <security-role>
      <description>
      An administrator
      </description>
      <role-name>
      admin
      </role-name>
      </security-role>
      </web-app>
  2. Create the deployment descriptor. In this file you map security role names to users and groups. Listing 3-9 shows a sample file that maps the security role defined in the <security-role> tag in the file to the group . With this configuration, WebLogic Server will only allow users in the group to access the protected WebLogic resource. However, you can use the Administration Console to modify the Web application’s security role so that other groups can be allowed to access the protected WebLogic resource.
  3. Listing 3-9 FORM Authentication weblogic.xml File

    <?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
    <weblogic-web-app xmlns="http://www.bea.com/ns/weblogic/90" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
    <security-role-assignment>
    <role-name>admin</role-name>
    <principal-name>supportGroup</principal-name>
    </security-role-assignment>
    </weblogic-web-app>
  4. Create a Web application file that produces the welcome screen when the user requests the protected Web application resource by entering the URL. Listing 3-10 shows a sample file. Figure 3-3 shows the Welcome screen.
  5. Listing 3-10 Form Authentication welcome.jsp File

    <html>
    <head>
    <title>Security login example</title>
    </head>
    <%
    String bgcolor;
    if ((bgcolor=(String)application.getAttribute("Background")) ==
    null)
    {
    bgcolor="#cccccc";
    }
    %>
    <body bgcolor=<%="\""+bgcolor+"\""%>>
    <blockquote>
    <img src=BEA_Button_Final_web.gif align=right>
    <h1> Security Login Example </h1>
    <p> Welcome <%= request.getRemoteUser() %>!
    <p> If you are an administrator, you can configure the background
    color of the Web Application.
    <br> <b><a href="admin/edit.jsp">Configure background</a></b>.
    <% if (request.getRemoteUser() != null) { %>
    <p> Click here to <a href="logout.jsp">logout</a>.
    <% } %>
    </blockquote>
    </body>
    </html>
Note:In Listing 3-3, notice that the JSP is calling an API () to get the name of the user that logged in. A different API, , could be used instead. To use this API to get the name of the user, use it with the API as follows:
String username = weblogic.security.SubjectUtils.getUsername(
weblogic.security.Security.getCurrentSubject());
  1. Start WebLogic Server and define the users and groups that will have access to the URL resource. In the file (see Listing 3-9), the <role-name> tag defines as the group that has access to the , file and defines the user as a member of that group. Therefore, use the Administration Console to define the group, and define user and add to the group. You can also define other users and add them to the group and they will also have access to the protected WebLogic resource. For information on adding users and groups, see Users, Groups, and Security Roles in Securing WebLogic Resources Using Roles and Policies.
  2. Deploy the Web application and use the user(s) defined in the previous step to access the protected Web application resource.
    1. For deployment instructions, see Deploying Web Applications on page 3-26.
    2. Open a Web browser and enter this URL:
    3. Enter the user name and password. The Welcome screen displays.

Using Identity Assertion for Web Application Authentication

You use identity assertion in Web applications to verify client identities for authentication purposes. When using identity assertion, the following requirements must be met:

  1. The authentication type must be set to CLIENT-CERT.
  2. An Identity Assertion provider must be configured in the server. If the Web browser or Java client requests a WebLogic Server resource protected by a security policy, WebLogic Server requires that the Web browser or Java client have an identity. The WebLogic Identity Assertion provider maps the token from a Web browser or Java client to a user in a WebLogic Server security realm. For information on how to configure an Identity Assertion provider, see Configuring Identity Assertion Providers in Securing WebLogic Server.
  3. The user corresponding to the token’s value must be defined in the server’s security realm; otherwise the client will not be allowed to access a protected WebLogic resource. For information on configuring users on the server, see Users, Groups, and Security Roles in Securing WebLogic Resources Using Roles and Policies.

Using Two-Way SSL for Web Application Authentication

You use two-way SSL in Web applications to verify that clients are whom they claim to be. When using two-way SSL, the following requirements must be met:

  1. The authentication type must be set to CLIENT-CERT.
  2. The server must be configured for two-way SSL. For information on using SSL and digital certificates, see Using SSL Authentication in Java Clients.. For information on configuring SSL on the server, see Configuring SSL in Securing WebLogic Server.
  3. The client must use HTTPS to access the Web application on the server.
  4. An Identity Assertion provider must be configured in the server. If the Web browser or Java client requests a WebLogic Server resource protected by a security policy, WebLogic Server requires that the Web browser or Java client have an identity. The WebLogic Identity Assertion provider allows you to enable a user name mapper in the server that maps the digital certificate of a Web browser or Java client to a user in a WebLogic Server security realm. For information on how to configure security providers, see Configuring Security Providers in Managing WebLogic Security.
  5. The user corresponding to the Subject's Distinguished Name (SubjectDN) attribute in the client’s digital certificate must be defined in the server’s security realm; otherwise the client will not be allowed to access a protected WebLogic resource. For information on configuring users on the server, see Users, Groups, and Security Roles in Securing WebLogic Resources Using Roles and Policies.
Note:When you use SSL authentication, it is not necessary to use and files to specify server configuration because you use the Administration Console to specify the server’s SSL configuration.

Providing a Fallback Mechanism for Authentication Methods

The Servlet 2.4 specification allows you to define the authentication method (BASIC, FORM, etc.) to be used in a Web application. WebLogic Server provides an security module that allows you to define multiple authentication methods (as a comma separated list), so the container can provide a fall-back mechanism. Authentication will be attempted in the order the values are defined in the list.

For example, you can define the following list in the element of your file:

<login-config>
<auth-method>CLIENT-CERT,BASIC</auth-method>
</login-config>

Then the container will first try to authenticate by looking at the CLIENT-CERT value. If that should fail, the container will challenge the user-agent for BASIC authentication.

If either FORM or BASIC are configured, then they must exist at the end of the list since they require a round-trip communication with the user. However, both FORM and BASIC cannot exist together in the list of values.

Configuration

The authentication security can be configured in two ways:

  • Define a comma separated list of values in the element of your file.
  • Define the values as a comma separated list on the and in the element of your use the REALM value, then the Web application will pick up the authentication methods from the security realm.

WebLogic Java Management Extensions (JMX) enables you to access the to create and manage the securtity resources. For more information, see “Overview of WebLogic Server Subsystem MBeans” in Programming WebLogic JMX Management Interfaces Guide.

Developing Swing-Based Authentication Web Applications

Web browsers can also be used to run graphical user interfaces (GUIs) that were developed using Java Foundation Classes (JFC) Swing components; the Swing component kit is integrated into the Java 2 platform, Standard Edition (J2SE).

For information on how to create a graphical user interface (GUI) for applications and applets using the Swing components, see the Creating a GUI with JFC/Swing tutorial (also known as The Swing Tutorial) produced by Sun Microsystems, Inc. You can access this tutorial on the Web at http://java.sun.com/docs/books/tutorial/uiswing/.

After you have developed your Swing-based GUI, refer to Developing FORM Authentication Web Applications and use the Swing-based screens to perform the steps required to develop a Web application that provides FORM authentication.

Note:When developing a Swing-based GUI, do not rely on the Java Virtual Machine-wide user for child threads of the swing event thread. This is not Java EE compliant and does not work in thin clients, or in IIOP in general. Instead, take either of the following approaches:
  • Make sure an is created before any Swing artifacts.
  • Or, use the Java Authentication and Authorization Service (JAAS) to log in and then use the method inside the Swing event thread and its children.

Deploying Web Applications

To deploy a Web application on a server running in development mode, perform the following steps:

Note:For more information about deploying Web applications in either development of production mode, see Deploying Applications and Modules in Deploying Applications to WebLogic Server.
  1. Set up a directory structure for the Web application’s files. Figure 3-6 shows the directory structure for the Web application named . The top-level directory must be assigned the name of the Web application and the sub-directory must be named .
  2. Figure 3-6 Basicauth Web Application Directory Structure



  3. To deploy the Web application in exploded directory format, that is, not in the Java archive (jar) format, simply move your directory to the directory on your server. For example, you would deploy the Web application in the following location:
  4. If the WebLogic Server instance is running, the application should auto-deploy. Use the Administration Console to verify that the application deployed.

    If the WebLogic Server instance is not running, the Web application should auto-deploy when you start the server.

  5. If you have not done so already, use the Administration Console to configure the users and groups that will have access to the Web application. To determine the users and groups that are allowed access to the protected WebLogic resource, examine the file. For example, the file for the sample (see Listing 3-2) defines as the only group to have access to the file.

For more information on deploying secure Web applications, see Deploying Applications and Modules in Deploying Applications to WebLogic Server.

 


Using Declarative Security With Web Applications

There are three ways to implement declarative security:

Which of these three methods is used is defined by the JACC flags and the security model. (Security models are described in Options for Securing EJB and Web Application Resources in Securing WebLogic Resources Using Roles and Policies.)

To implement declarative security in Web applications, you can use deployment descriptors ( and ) to define security requirements. The deployment descriptors map the application’s logical security requirements to its runtime definitions. And at runtime, the servlet container uses the security definitions to enforce the requirements. For a discussion of using deployment descriptors, see Developing Secure Web Applications.

For information about how to use deployment descriptors and the element to configure security in Web applications declaratively, see externally-defined.

For information about how to use the Administration Console to configure security in Web applications, see Securing WebLogic Resources Using Roles and Policies.

 


Web Application Security-Related Deployment Descriptors

The following topics describe the deployment descriptor elements that are used in the and l files to define security requirements in Web applications:

web.xml Deployment Descriptors

The following security-related deployment descriptor elements are supported by WebLogic Server:

auth-constraint

The optional element defines which groups or principals have access to the collection of Web resources defined in this security constraint.

The following table describes the elements you can define within an element.

Element

Required/
Optional

Description

Optional

A text description of this security constraint.

Optional

Defines which security roles can access resources defined in this . Security role names are mapped to principals using the elementSee security-role-ref.

Used Within

The element is used within the element.

Example

See Listing 3-11 for an example of how to use the element in a file.

security-constraint

The element is used in the file to define the access privileges to a collection of resources defined by the element.

The following table describes the elements you can define within a security-constraint element.

Element

Required/
Optional

Description

Required

Defines the components of the Web Application to which this security constraint is applied. For more information, see web-resource-collection.

Optional

Defines which groups or principals have access to the collection of web resources defined in this security constraint.For more information, see auth-constraint.

Optional

Defines defines how data communicated between the client and the server should be protected. For more information, see user-data-constraint

Example

Listing 3-11 shows how to use the element to defined security for the SecureOrdersEast resource in a file.

Listing 3-11 Security Constraint Example

entries:
<security-constraint>
     <web-resource-collection>
          <web-resource-name>SecureOrdersEast</web-resource-name>
          <description>
             Security constraint for
             resources in the orders/east directory
          </description>
          <url-pattern></url-pattern>
          <http-method></http-method>
          <http-method></http-method>
     </web-resource-collection>
     <auth-constraint>
          <description>
           constraint for east coast sales
          </description>
          <role-name>east</role-name>
          <role-name>manager</role-name>
     </auth-constraint>
 <user-data-constraint>
          <description>SSL not required</description>
          <transport-guarantee>NONE</transport-guarantee>
     </user-data-constraint>
</security-constraint>
...

security-role

The element contains the definition of a security role. The definition consists of an optional description of the security role, and the security role name.

The following table describes the elements you can define within a element.

Element

Required/
Optional

Description

Optional

A text description of this security role.

Required

The role name. The name you use here must have a corresponding entry in the WebLogic-specific deployment descriptor, which maps roles to principals in the security realm. For more information, see security-role-assignment.

Example

See Listing 3-14 for an example of how to use the element in a file.

security-role-ref

The element links a security role name defined by to an alternative role name that is hard-coded in the servlet logic. This extra layer of abstraction allows the servlet to be configured at deployment without changing servlet code.

The following table describes the elements you can define within a element.

Element

Required/
Optional

Description

Optional

Text description of the role.

Required

Defines the name of the security role or principal that is used in the servlet code.

Required

Defines the name of the security role that is defined in a element later in the deployment descriptor.

Example

See Listing 3-17 for an example of how to use the element in a file.

user-data-constraint

The element defines how data communicated between the client and the server should be protected.

The following table describes the elements you can define within a element.

Element

Required/
Optional

Description

Optional

A text description.

Required

Specifies data security requirements for communications between the client and the server.

Range of values:

The application does not require any transport guarantees.

The application requires that the data be sent between the client and server in such a way that it cannot be changed in transit.

The application requires that data be transmitted so as to prevent other entities from observing the contents of the transmission.

WebLogic Server establishes a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connection when the user is authenticated using the or transport guarantee.

Used Within

The element is used within the element.

Example

See Listing 3-11 for an example of how to use the element in a file.

web-resource-collection

The element identifies a subset of the resources and methods on those resources within a Web application to which a security constraint applies. If no methods are specified, the security constraint applies to all methods.

The following table describes the elements you can define within a element.

Element

Required/
Optional

Description

Required

The name of this web resource collection.

Optional

Text description of the Web resource.

Required

The mapping, or location, of the Web resource collection.

URL patterns must use the syntax defined in section 11.2 of JSR-000154, Java Servlet Specification Version 2.4.

The pattern applies the security constraint to the entire Web application.

Optional

The methods to which the security constraint applies when clients attempt to access the Web resource collection. If no methods are specified, then the security constraint applies to all methods.

Used Within

The element is used within the element.

Example

See Listing 3-11 for an example of how to use the element in a file.

weblogic.xml Deployment Descriptors

The following security-related deployment descriptor elements are supported by WebLogic Server:

In computer systems security, role-based access control (RBAC)[1][2] is an approach to restricting system access to authorized users. It is used by the majority of enterprises with more than 500 employees,[3] and can implement mandatory access control (MAC) or discretionary access control (DAC). RBAC is sometimes referred to as role-based security.

Role-based-access-control (RBAC) is a policy neutral access control mechanism defined around roles and privileges. The components of RBAC such as role-permissions, user-role and role-role relationships make it simple to perform user assignments. A study by NIST has demonstrated that RBAC addresses many needs of commercial and government organizations. RBAC can be used to facilitate administration of security in large organizations with hundreds of users and thousands of permissions. Although RBAC is different from MAC and DAC access control frameworks, it can enforce these policies without any complication. Its popularity is evident from the fact that many products and businesses are using it directly or indirectly.

Design[edit]

Within an organization, roles are created for various job functions. The permissions to perform certain operations are assigned to specific roles. Members or staff (or other system users) are assigned particular roles, and through those role assignments acquire the computer permissions to perform particular computer-system functions. Since users are not assigned permissions directly, but only acquire them through their role (or roles), management of individual user rights becomes a matter of simply assigning appropriate roles to the user's account; this simplifies common operations, such as adding a user, or changing a user's department.

Three primary rules are defined for RBAC:

  1. Role assignment: A subject can exercise a permission only if the subject has selected or been assigned a role.
  2. Role authorization: A subject's active role must be authorized for the subject. With rule 1 above, this rule ensures that users can take on only roles for which they are authorized.
  3. Permission authorization: A subject can exercise a permission only if the permission is authorized for the subject's active role. With rules 1 and 2, this rule ensures that users can exercise only permissions for which they are authorized.

Additional constraints may be applied as well, and roles can be combined in a hierarchy where higher-level roles subsume permissions owned by sub-roles.

With the concepts of role hierarchy and constraints, one can control RBAC to create or simulate lattice-based access control (LBAC). Thus RBAC can be considered to be a superset of LBAC.

When defining an RBAC model, the following conventions are useful:

  • S = Subject = A person or automated agent
  • R = Role = Job function or title which defines an authority level
  • P = Permissions = An approval of a mode of access to a resource
  • SE = Session = A mapping involving S, R and/or P
  • SA = Subject Assignment
  • PA = Permission Assignment
  • RH = Partially ordered Role Hierarchy. RH can also be written: ≥ (The notation: x ≥ y means that x inherits the permissions of y.)
    • A subject can have multiple roles.
    • A role can have multiple subjects.
    • A role can have many permissions.
    • A permission can be assigned to many roles.
    • An operation can be assigned many permissions.
    • A permission can be assigned to many operations.

A constraint places a restrictive rule on the potential inheritance of permissions from opposing roles, thus it can be used to achieve appropriate separation of duties. For example, the same person should not be allowed to both create a login account and to authorize the account creation.

Thus, using set theorynotation:

  • and is a many to many permission to role assignment relation.
  • and is a many to many subject to role assignment relation.

A subject may have multiple simultaneous sessions with/in different roles.

Standardized levels[edit]

See also: NIST RBAC model

The NIST/ANSI/INCITS RBAC standard (2004) recognizes three levels of RBAC:[4]

  1. core RBAC
  2. hierarchical RBAC, which adds support for inheritance between roles
  3. constrained RBAC, which adds separation of duties

Relation to other models[edit]

RBAC is a flexible access control technology whose flexibility allows it to implement DAC[5] or MAC.[6]DAC with groups (e.g., as implemented in POSIX file systems) can emulate RBAC.[7]MAC can simulate RBAC if the role graph is restricted to a tree rather than a partially ordered set.[8]

Prior to the development of RBAC, the Bell-LaPadula (BLP) model was synonymous with MAC and file system permissions were synonymous with DAC. These were considered to be the only known models for access control: if a model was not BLP, it was considered to be a DAC model, and vice versa. Research in the late 1990s demonstrated that RBAC falls in neither category.[9][10] Unlike context-based access control (CBAC), RBAC does not look at the message context (such as a connection's source). RBAC has also been criticized for leading to role explosion,[11] a problem in large enterprise systems which require access control of finer granularity than what RBAC can provide as roles are inherently assigned to operations and data types. In resemblance to CBAC, an Entity-Relationship Based Access Control (ERBAC, although the same acronym is also used for modified RBAC systems,[12] such as Extended Role-Based Access Control[13]) system is able to secure instances of data by considering their association to the executing subject.[14]

Comparing with ACL[edit]

RBAC differs from access control lists (ACLs), used in traditional discretionary access-control systems, in that it assigns permissions to specific operations with meaning in the organization, rather than to low level data objects. For example, an access control list could be used to grant or deny write access to a particular system file, but it would not dictate how that file could be changed. In an RBAC-based system, an operation might be to 'create a credit account' transaction in a financial application or to 'populate a blood sugar level test' record in a medical application. The assignment of permission to perform a particular operation is meaningful, because the operations are granular with meaning within the application. RBAC has been shown to be particularly well suited to separation of duties (SoD) requirements, which ensure that two or more people must be involved in authorizing critical operations. Necessary and sufficient conditions for safety of SoD in RBAC have been analyzed. An underlying principle of SoD is that no individual should be able to effect a breach of security through dual privilege. By extension, no person may hold a role that exercises audit, control or review authority over another, concurrently held role.[15][16]

Then again, a "minimal RBAC Model", RBACm, can be compared with an ACL mechanism, ACLg, where only groups are permitted as entries in the ACL. Barkley (1997)[17] showed that RBACm and ACLg are equivalent.

In modern SQL implementations, like ACL of theCakePHP framework, ACL also manage groups and inheritance in a hierarchy of groups. Under this aspect, specific "modern ACL" implementations can be compared with specific "modern RBAC" implementations, better than "old (file system) implementations".

For data interchange, and for "high level comparisons", ACL data can be translated to XACML.

Attribute based access control[edit]

Attribute-based access control or ABAC is a model which evolves from RBAC to consider additional attributes in addition to roles and groups. In ABAC, it is possible to use attributes of:

  • the user e.g. citizenship, clearance,
  • the resource e.g. classification, department, owner,
  • the action, and
  • the context e.g. time, location, IP.

ABAC is policy-based in the sense that it uses policies rather than static permissions to define what is allowed or what is not allowed.

Use and availability[edit]

The use of RBAC to manage user privileges (computer permissions) within a single system or application is widely accepted as a best practice. A 2010 report prepared for NIST by the Research Triangle Institute analyzed the economic value of RBAC for enterprises, and estimated benefits per employee from reduced employee downtime, more efficient provisioning, and more efficient access control policy administration.[3]

In an organization with a heterogeneous IT infrastructure and requirements that span dozens or hundreds of systems and applications, using RBAC to manage sufficient roles and assign adequate role memberships becomes extremely complex without hierarchical creation of roles and privilege assignments.[18] Newer systems extend the older NIST RBAC model[19] to address the limitations of RBAC for enterprise-wide deployments. The NIST model was adopted as a standard by INCITS as ANSI/INCITS 359-2004. A discussion of some of the design choices for the NIST model has also been published.[20]

RBAC and employees' responsibilities alignment[edit]

In Aligning Access Rights to Governance Needs with the Responsibility MetaModel (ReMMo) in the Frame of Enterprise Architecture[21] an expressive Responsibility metamodel has been defined and allows representing the existing responsibilities at the business layer and, thereby, allows engineering the access rights required to perform these responsibilities, at the application layer. A method has been proposed to define the access rights more accurately, considering the alignment of the responsibility and RBAC.[22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^Ferraiolo, D.F. & Kuhn, D.R. (October 1992). "Role-Based Access Control"(PDF). 15th National Computer Security Conference: 554–563. 
  2. ^Sandhu, R., Coyne, E.J., Feinstein, H.L. and Youman, C.E. (August 1996). "Role-Based Access Control Models"(PDF). IEEE Computer. IEEE Press. 29 (2): 38–47. doi:10.1109/2.485845. 
  3. ^ abA.C. O'Connor & R.J. Loomis (March 2002). Economic Analysis of Role-Based Access Control(PDF). Research Triangle Institute. 
  4. ^Alberto Belussi; Barbara Catania; Eliseo Clementini; Elena Ferrari (2007). Spatial Data on the Web: Modeling and Management. Springer. p. 194. ISBN 978-3-540-69878-4. 
  5. ^Ravi Sandhu; Qamar Munawer (October 1998). "How to do discretionary access control using roles". 3rd ACM Workshop on Role-Based Access Control: 47–54. 
  6. ^Sylvia Osborn; Ravi Sandhu & Qamar Munawer (2000). "Configuring role-based access control to enforce mandatory and discretionary access control policies". ACM Transactions on Information and System Security: 85–106. 
  7. ^Brucker, Achim D.; Wolff, Burkhart (2005). "A Verification Approach for Applied System Security". International Journal on Software Tools for Technology (STTT). doi:10.1007/s10009-004-0176-3. 
  8. ^D.R. Kuhn (1998). "Role Based Access Control on MLS Systems Without Kernel Changes"(PDF). Third ACM Workshop on Role Based Access Control: 25–32. 
  9. ^National Institute of Standards and Technology FAQ on RBAC models and standards
  10. ^David Ferraiolo and Richard Kuhn
  11. ^A. A. Elliott & G. S. Knight (2010). "Role Explosion: Acknowledging the Problem"(PDF). Proceedings of the 2010 International Conference on Software Engineering Research & Practice. 
  12. ^[1]
  13. ^Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham and Srinivasan Iyer (PPT)
  14. ^Kalle Korhonen: tapestry-security-jpa, a JPA/Tapestry 5 specific implementation of the ERBAC concept
  15. ^D.R. Kuhn (1997). "Mutual Exclusion of Roles as a Means of Implementing Separation of Duty in Role-Based Access Control Systems"(PDF). 2nd ACM Workshop Role-Based Access Control: 23–30. 
  16. ^Ninghui Li, Ziad Bizri, and Mahesh V. Tripunitara . Tripunitara (2004). "On mutually exclusive roles and separation-of-duty,"(PDF). 11th ACM conference on Computer and Communications Security: 42–51. 
  17. ^J. Barkley (1997) "Comparing simple role based access control models and access control lists", In "Proceedings of the second ACM workshop on Role-based access control", pages 127-132.
  18. ^Beyond Roles: A Practical Approach to Enterprise User Provisioning
  19. ^Sandhu, R., Ferraiolo, D.F. and Kuhn, D.R. (July 2000). "The NIST Model for Role-Based Access Control: Toward a Unified Standard"(PDF). 5th ACM Workshop Role-Based Access Control: 47–63. 
  20. ^Ferraiolo, D.F., Kuhn, D.R., and Sandhu, R. (Nov–Dec 2007). "RBAC Standard Rationale: comments on a Critique of the ANSI Standard on Role-Based Access Control"(PDF). IEEE Security & Privacy. IEEE Press. 5 (6): 51–53. doi:10.1109/MSP.2007.173. 
  21. ^Feltus C. (2014). Aligning Access Rights to Governance Needs with the Responsibility MetaModel (ReMMo) in the Frame of Enterprise Architecture(PDF). 
  22. ^Feltus, c., Petit, M., Sloman, M. (2010). "Enhancement of Business IT Alignment by Including Responsibility Components in RBAC"(PDF). CEUR-WS. 599. 

Further reading[edit]

  • David F. Ferraiolo; D. Richard Kuhn; Ramaswamy Chandramouli (2007). Role-based Access Control (2nd ed.). Artech House. ISBN 978-1-59693-113-8. 

External links[edit]

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