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6 Replies Latest reply: Nov 10, 2009 10:10 AM by 843811 RSS

Default security context for signed applets using WinXP+IE8

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What is the default security context for signed applets from the internet zone using Java 6 and WinXP+IE8 combination? My guess is that all file and socket access available for the user's Windows account is provided to the applet as well. Is this correct and if so, is there a way to limit these access privileges for signed applets from the internet zone?

This information is surprisingly difficult to find given how security concious people now are using the internet.
  • 1. Re: Default security context for signed applets using WinXP+IE8
    843811 Newbie
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    Once an Applet is signed, the only restrictions are to the use of System.exit() and those imposed by the OS and those imposed by the policy file.

    The assumption is that if the certificate presented with the Applet is signed by a reputable CA then they will have checked to make sure that the owner is who they say they are. Whether or not the owner is trustworthy is your call.

    Edited by: sabre150 on Nov 10, 2009 10:01 AM
  • 2. Re: Default security context for signed applets using WinXP+IE8
    843811 Newbie
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    Thank you for your swift reply.

    Unfortunately your answer reflects to my worst fears. Frankly I find this security model naiive. Anyone with euros can get their applet signed so that is no security control at all.

    Working for a corporate IT how I am supposed to allow Java installations on any of our computers with internet access? That automatically means I am providing them as platforms to whoever wishes to run Java code on them (given that the user of course visits the web site). I would have expected Sun to put more effort into this but it appers nothig have changed in this regard for 10 years.
  • 3. Re: Default security context for signed applets using WinXP+IE8
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    AntonBoer wrote:
    Thank you for your swift reply.

    Unfortunately your answer reflects to my worst fears. Frankly I find this security model naiive. Anyone with euros can get their applet signed so that is no security control at all.
    The same naive security model applies to just about anything signed and downloaded; not just to Java Applets.

    >
    Working for a corporate IT how I am supposed to allow Java installations on any of our computers with internet access? That automatically means I am providing them as platforms to whoever wishes to run Java code on them (given that the user of course visits the web site). I would have expected Sun to put more effort into this but it appers nothig have changed in this regard for 10 years.
    I don't see this as a Sun problem; it is indicative of what I consider to be a general security weakness for all computer systems. For example, for Windows, Vista just added more user involvement in the trust process but it still allows programs to run pretty much unconstrained if the user agrees to them running.

    For some time I have advocated a more fine grained approach. I would like to see ALL programs run in a sandbox that a user can specify what and what cannot be done by each individual program. Unfortunately, this would annoy the hell out of most users so it has little chance of every of ever being accepted. The average user just wants a run-and-forget-about-security model.
  • 4. Re: Default security context for signed applets using WinXP+IE8
    843811 Newbie
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    Thank you for your comments. For most part I agree. However, I do consider this is Sun's problem as long as they are the ones providing the Java technology. Having other bad examples does not justify anything. Ok, so they are not doing worse than the competition but is that anything to aim for?

    I appreciate what you wrote about added complexity but in my view that is no reason why Sun should not provide corporate ITs with adequate security tools while presenting simplistic choises to regular users.
  • 5. Re: Default security context for signed applets using WinXP+IE8
    843811 Newbie
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    AntonBoer wrote:
    Thank you for your comments. For most part I agree. However, I do consider this is Sun's problem as long as they are the ones providing the Java technology. Having other bad examples does not justify anything. Ok, so they are not doing worse than the competition but is that anything to aim for?
    Sun do more than most to create a secure environment and have done for more than 10 years. If Sun added more security than others than they would be at a disadvantage since products written in Java would be seen as less user friendly than the others.

    A starting point for all security is the OS and of course the biggest player in this and the one with most money is Microsoft. If Microsoft had spent as much on improving the security model of Windows as they have done on coffee and biscuits for directors meetings then maybe we would have a better security model for Java to build on. I understand that from a security point of view Windows 7 is much better but I'm not yet well enough acquainted with Windows 7 to be able to comment.

    >
    I appreciate what you wrote about added complexity but in my view that is no reason why Sun should not provide corporate ITs with adequate security tools while presenting simplistic choises to regular users.
    I don't see this as Sun's responsibility.
  • 6. Re: Default security context for signed applets using WinXP+IE8
    843811 Newbie
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    Do not get me wrong. I would like to see Sun making Java even better. I just don't see how providing more expressive security tools for advanced users would be a disadvantage.

    I do assume Sun wants to see Java technology on more corporate desktops. If so, they just cannot say "hey take this technology, somebody else will make it secure later." That is what Microsoft has been doing and that doesn't cut with internet technologies in 2009.

    All I am saying is that when it comes to the corporation I work for Java doesn't have a place on our desktop systems with internet access any more than ActiveX does. Just like you aptly put it they are unfortunately equal in that sense.