Administrative console and naming service authorization

 

WebSphere Application Server extends the J2EE security role-based access control to protect the product administrative and naming subsystems.

 

Administrative console

Four administrative roles are defined to provide degrees of authority needed to perform certain WAS administrative functions from either the administrative console or the system management scripting interface. The authorization policy is only enforced when global security is enabled. The four administrative security roles are defined in the following table:

Role Description
monitor Least privileged where a user can view the WAS configuration and current state.
configurator Monitor privilege plus the ability to change the WAS configuration.
operator Monitor privilege plus the ability to change the run-time state, such as starting or stopping services.
administrator Operator plus configuration privilege and the permission required to access sensitive data including the server password, LTPA password, LTPA, keys, and so on.

When global security is enabled, the administrative subsystem role-based access control is enforced. The administrative subsystem includes security server, user registry, and all the Java Management Extensions (JMX) MBeans. When security is enabled, both the administrative console and the administrative scripting tool require users to provide the required authentication data. Moreover, the administrative console is designed so the control functions that display on the pages are adjusted according to the security roles that a user has. For example, a user who has only the monitor role can see only the non-sensitive configuration data. A user with the operator role can change the system state.

If a LDAP or Custom registry is specified, ensure that customization provided to facilitate using Local OS is removed. Once an LDAP or Custom registry is used, the configured server identities are used for work executed by the system instead of by the started task identities. You must delete pre-configured WebSphere Configuration Group and Administrator identity from the console group and console users respectively.

The server identity specified when enabling global security is automatically mapped to the administrative role. You can add or remove users and groups to or from the administrative roles from the WAS administrative console. However, a server restart is required for the changes to take effect. A best practice is to map a group, rather than specific users, to administrative roles because it is more flexible and easier to administer. By mapping a group to an administrative role, adding or removing users to or from the group occurs outside of WAS and does not require a server restart for the change to take effect.

Administrative roles

In addition to mapping users or groups, one can map a special-subject to the administrative roles. A special-subject is a generalization of a particular class of users. The AllAuthenticated special subject means that the access check of the administrative role ensures that the user making the request has at least been authenticated. The Everyone special subject means that anyone, authenticated or not, can perform the action, as if security is not enabled.

When global security is enabled, WAS run under the server identity that is defined under the active user registry configuration. Although it is not shown on the administrative console and in other tools, a special Server subject is mapped to the administrator role. The WAS run-time code, which runs under the server identity, requires authorization to runtime operations. If no other user is assigned administrative roles, one can log into the administrative console or to the wsadmin scripting tool using the server identity to perform administrative operations and to assign other users or groups to administrative roles. Because the server identity is assigned to the administrative role by default, the administrative security policy requires the administrative role to perform the following operations:

When enabling security, one can assign one or more users and groups to administrative roles. For more information, see Assigning users to naming roles. However, before assigning users to naming roles, configure the active user registry. User and group validation depends on the active user registry. For more information, see Configuring user registries.

 

Naming service authorization

CosNaming security offers increased granularity of security control over CosNaming functions. CosNaming functions are available on CosNaming servers such as the WAS. They affect the content of the WAS name space. There are generally two ways in which client programs result in CosNaming calls. The first is through the Java Naming and Directory Interface (JNDI) call. The second is with CORBA clients invoking CosNaming methods directly.

Four security roles are introduced :

The roles have authority levels from low to high:

CosNamingRead

Users can query of the WAS name space, using, for example, the JNDI lookup method. The special-subject Everyone is the default policy for this role.

CosNamingWrite

Users can perform write operations such as JNDI bind, rebind, or unbind, and CosNamingRead operations. The special-subject AllAuthenticated is the default policy for this role.

CosNamingCreate

Users can create new objects in the name space through such operations as JNDI createSubcontext and CosNamingWrite operations. The special subject AllAuthenticated is the default policy for this role.

CosNamingDelete

Users can destroy objects in the name space, for example using the JNDI destroySubcontext method and CosNamingCreate operations. The special-subject AllAuthenticated is the default policy for this role.

Additionally, a Server special-subject is assigned to all the four CosNaming roles by default. The Server special-subject provides a WAS server process, which runs under the server identity, access to all the CosNaming operations. Note that the Server special-subject does not display and cannot be modified through the administrative console or other administrative tools.

No special configuration is required to enable the server identity (as specified) when enabling global security for administrative use because the server identity is automatically mapped to the administrator role.

Users, groups, or the special subjects AllAuthenticated and Everyone can be added or removed to or from the naming roles from the WAS administrative console at any time. However, a server restart is required for the changes to take effect. A best practice is to map groups or one of the special-subjects, rather than specific users, to naming roles because it is more flexible and easier to administer in the long run. By mapping a group to a naming role, adding or removing users to or from the group occurs outside of WAS and does not require a server restart for the change to take effect.

The CosNaming authorization policy is only enforced when global security is enabled. When global security is enabled, attempts to do CosNaming operations without the proper role assignment result in an org.omg.CORBA.NO_PERMISSION exception from the CosNaming Server.

Each CosNaming function is assigned to only one role. Therefore, users who are assigned the CosNamingCreate role cannot query the name space unless they have also been assigned CosNamingRead. And in most cases a creator needs to be assigned three roles: CosNamingRead, CosNamingWrite, and CosNamingCreate. The CosNamingRead and CosNamingWrite roles assignment for the creator example are included in the CosNamingCreate role. In most of the cases, WAS administrators do not have to change the roles assignment for every user or group when they move to this release from a previous one.

Although the ability exists to greatly restrict access to the name space by changing the default policy, unexpected org.omg.CORBA.NO_PERMISSION exceptions can occur at run time. Typically, J2EE applications access the name space and the identity they use is that of the user that authenticated to WAS when they access the J2EE application. Unless the J2EE application provider clearly communicates the expected Naming roles, use caution when changing the default naming authorization policy.


 

Related Tasks


Assigning users to naming roles
Configuring user registries

 



 

 

WebSphere is a trademark of the IBM Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both.
IBM is a trademark of the IBM Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both.