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An evaluation of Java application containers according to security requirements
Linköping University, Department of Computer and Information Science, IISLAB - Laboratory for Intelligent Information Systems. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Computer and Information Science, IISLAB - Laboratory for Intelligent Information Systems. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2005 (English)In: Proceedings of the 14th IEEE International Workshops on Enabling Technologies, 2005, 178-183 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Web browsers, Web servers, Java application servers and OSGi frameworks are all instances of Java execution environments that tun more or less untrusted Java applications. In all these environments, Java applications can come from different sources. Consequently, application developers rarely know which other applications exist in the target Java execution environment. This paper investigates the requirements that need to be imposed on such a container from a security point of view and how the requirements have been implemented by different Java application containers. More specifically, we show a general risk analysis considering assets, threats and vulnerabilities of a Java container. This risk analysis exposes generic Java security problems and leads to a set of security requirements. These security requirements are then used to evaluate the security architecture of existing Java containers for Java applications, applets, servlets, OSGi bundles, and Enterprise Java Beans. For comparison, the requirements are also examined for a C++ application.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. 178-183 p.
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14429DOI: 10.1109/WETICE.2005.18OAI: diva2:23494
Available from: 2007-04-27 Created: 2007-04-27 Last updated: 2009-05-18
In thesis
1. Usable Security Policies for Runtime Environments
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Usable Security Policies for Runtime Environments
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The runtime environments provided by application-level virtual machines such as the Java Virtual Machine or the .NET Common Language Runtime are attractive for Internet application providers because the applications can be deployed on any platform that supports the target virtual machine. With Internet applications, organisations as well as end users face the risk of viruses, trojans, and denial of service attacks. Virtual machine providers are aware of these Internet security risks and provide, for example, runtime monitoring of untrusted code and access control to sensitive resources.

Our work addresses two important security issues in runtime environments. The first issue concerns resource or release control. While many virtual machines provide runtime access control to resources, they do not provide any means of limiting the use of a resource once access is granted; they do not provide so-called resource control. We have addressed the issue of resource control in the example of the Java Virtual Machine. In contrast to others’ work, our solution builds on an enhancement to the existing security architecture. We demonstrate that resource control permissions for Java-mediated resources can be integrated into the regular Java security architecture, thus leading to a clean design and a single external security policy.

The second issue that we address is the usability

DiVA Web Form and security of the setup of security policies for runtime environments. Access control decisions are based on external configuration files, the security policy, which must be set up by the end user. This set-up is security-critical but also complicated and errorprone for a lay end user and supportive, usable tools are so far missing. After one of our usability studies signalled that offline editing of the configuration file is inefficient and difficult for end users, we conducted a usability study of personal firewalls to identify usable ways of setting up a security policy at runtime. An analysis of general user help techniques together with the results from the two previous studies resulted in a proposal of design guidelines for applications that need to set up a security policy. Our guidelines have been used for the design and implementation of the tool JPerM that sets the Java security policy at runtime. JPerM evaluated positively in a usability study and supports the validity of our design guidelines.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutionen för datavetenskap, 2007
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1075
Information security, Usability, Java, Resource control, Virtual machine
National Category
Computer Science
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-8809 (URN)978-91-85715-65-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2007-05-29, Visionen, Hus B, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2007-04-27 Created: 2007-04-27 Last updated: 2009-04-29

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Herzog, AlmutShahmehri, Nahid
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IISLAB - Laboratory for Intelligent Information SystemsThe Institute of Technology
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