J2EE Connector security

 

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  1. Overview
  2. Application managed sign-on
  3. Container-managed sign-on
  4. Map resource references to references
  5. J2C mapping modules and mapping properties


 

Overview

The J2EE connector architecture defines a standard architecture for connecting the J2EE to heterogeneous enterprise information systems (EIS). Examples of EIS include Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), mainframe transaction processing (TP) and database systems.

The connector architecture enables an EIS vendor to provide a standard resource adapter for its EIS. A resource adapter is a system-level software driver that is used by a Java application to connect to an EIS. The resource adapter plugs into an application server and provides connectivity between the EIS, the application server, and the enterprise application. Accessing information in EIS typically requires access control to prevent unauthorized accesses. J2EE applications must authenticate to the EIS to open a connection to it.

The J2EE Connector security architecture is designed to extend the end-to-end security model for J2EE-based applications to include integration with EISs. An application server and an EIS collaborate to ensure the proper authentication of a resource principal, which establishes a connection to an underlying EIS. The connector architecture identifies the following mechanisms as the commonly-supported authentication mechanisms although other mechanisms can be defined:

Applications define whether to use application-managed sign-on or container-managed sign-on in the resource-ref elements in the deployment descriptor. Each resource-ref element describes a single connection factory reference binding. The res-auth element in a resource-ref element, whose value is either Application or Container, indicates whether the enterprise bean code should perform sign-on or whether it should enable the WAS to sign-on to the resource manager using the principal mapping configuration. The resource-ref element is defined at application assembly time. Use the WebSphere Development Toolkit to configure the resource -ref.

 

Application managed sign-on

To access an EIS system, applications locate a connection factory from the JNDI namespace and invoke the getConnection method on that connection factory object. The getConnection method might require a user ID and password argument. A J2EE application can pass in a user ID and password to getConnection, which subsequently passes the information to the resource adapter. Specifying a user ID and password in the application code has some security implications, however.

The user ID and password, if coded into the Java source code, are available to developers and testers in the organization. Also, the user ID and password are visible to users if they de-compile the Java class.

The user ID and password cannot be changed without first requiring a code change. Alternatively, application code might retrieve sets of user IDs and passwords from persistent storage or from an external service. This approach requires that IT administrators configure and manage a user ID and password using the application-specific mechanism.

WebSphere Application Server allows a component-managed authentication alias to be specified on a resource. This authentication data is common to all references to the resource. On the Resource Adapter>Connection Factory configuration panel, select component-managed authentication alias.

With res-auth=Application, the authentication data is taken from, in order:

  1. user id and password passed to getConnection(...)
  2. component-managed auth alias on the Connection Factory or DataSource
  3. Custom Properties UserName and Password on the DataSource

The username and password properties can be initially defined in the RAR file, and can also be defined in the admininstrative console or wsadmin scripting under custom properties. Do not use the custom properties, which enable users to connect to the resources.

 

Container-managed sign-on

The user ID and password for the target EIS can be supplied by the application server. WAS provides container-managed sign-on functionality. It locates the proper authentication data for the target EIS to enable the client to establish a connection. Application code does not have to provide a user ID and password in the getConnection call when it is configured to use container-managed sign-on, nor does authentication data have to be common to all references to a resource. WAS uses a Java Authentication and Authorization Service (JAAS) pluggable authentication mechanism to use a pre-configured JAAS login configuration, and LoginModule(s) to map a client security identity and credentials on the thread of execution to a pre-configured user ID and password.

WebSphere Application Server ships a default many-to-one credential mapping LoginModule that maps any client identity on the thread of execution to a pre-configured user ID and password for a specified target EIS. The default mapping module is a special purpose JAAS LoginModule that returns a PasswordCredential specified by the configured J2C authentication data entry. The default mapping LoginModule performs a table lookup, but does not perform actual authentication. The user ID and password are stored together with an alias in the J2C Authentication data list. The J2C Authentication data list is located on the Global Security panel under Authentication > JAAS Configuration. The default principal and credential mapping function is defined by the DefaultPrincipalMapping application JAAS login configuration.

The DefaultPrincipalMapping login configuration should not be modified since WAS added performance enhancements to this frequently used default mapping configuration. WAS does not support modifying the DefaultPrincipalMapping configuration, changing the default LoginModule, or stacking a custom LoginModule in the configuration.

For most systems, the default configuration with a many-to-one mapping is sufficient. However, WAS does support custom principal and credential mapping configurations. Custom mapping modules can be added to the application logins JAAS configuration by creating a new JAAS login configuration with a unique name. For example, a custom mapping module can provide one-to-one mapping or Kerberos functionality.

You also can use the WAS administrative console to bind the resource manager connection factory references to one of the configured resource factories. If the value of the res-auth element is Container, configure the mapping configuration using the Map resource references to resources link on an enterprise application panel.

 

Map resource references to references

To map resource references to resources, do the following:

  1. Click Applications > Enterprise Applications.

  2. Select an application.

  3. Under Additional Properties, select Map resource references to resources.

  4. Select a connection factory reference binding from the table that has a login configuration of Resource authorization: Container. You must specify an authentication method for the selected connection factory reference binding. Choose either Use default method or Use custom login configuration. If you choose the Use default method option, the WAS DefaultPrincipalMapping login configuration is selected. You must select an authentication data alias from the drop-down list.

  5. After you make a selection, click Apply for the configuration to take effect.

  6. If you choose Use custom login configuration, select a mapping JAAS login configuration from the drop-down list.

  7. Click Apply. The selected login configuration name and an Update button appear in the login configuration field of the particular connection factory reference binding.

  8. Click Update to define mapping properties that you might need to pass to the mapping LoginModule(s).

 

J2C mapping modules and mapping properties

Mapping modules are special JAAS login modules that provide principal and credential mapping functionality. You can define and configure custom mapping modules using the administrative console.

You also can define and pass context data to mapping modules by using login options in each JAAS login configuration. In WAS v6, you also can define context data using mapping properties on each connection factory reference binding.

Login options that are defined under each JAAS login configuration are shared among all resources that use the same JAAS login configuration and mapping modules. Mapping properties that are defined for each connection factory reference binding are used exclusively by that resource reference.

Consider a usage scenario where an external mapping service is used, (such the as Tivoli Access Manager Global Sign-On (GSO) service). You have two EIS servers: DB2 and MQ.

Use the Tivoli Access Manager GSO to locate authentication data for both backend servers. The authentication data for DB2 is different from that for MQ, however. Use the login option in a mapping JAAS login configuration to specify the parameters that are required to establish a connection to the TAM GSO service. Use the mapping properties in a connection factory reference binding to specify which EIS server the user ID and password are required for.

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