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From "Bill Barker" <>
Subject Re: org.apache.catalina.authenticator.SSLAutheticator
Date Mon, 08 Nov 2004 20:04:55 GMT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ken Sims" <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, November 08, 2004 8:25 AM
Subject: org.apache.catalina.authenticator.SSLAutheticator

>I am curious why SSLAuthenticator does not/cannot compare some attribute
>of the client cert with the remote address (requestor)?  Without such a
>check, it seems to me that certificates are as easily shared as the
>credentials used in basic authentication.
There are plenty of tutorials on CLIENT-CERT auth out there.  I suggest that
you read one :).

>Also, why do the realm implementations always return null for
>getPrincipal?  Couldn't they lookup the user on the  users database,
>ignoring password, to establish authorized roles?
Usually when you seriously want CLIENT-CERT, you find that you need a custom
Realm anyway.  There isn't really a one-size-fits-all solution.  Where it is
implemented in TC (MemoryRealm, and UDBRealm in 5.5.x), it authenticates
against the Subject.  In a lot of cases, you really only want the CN, or the
CN+EMAIL fields.  In other cases (e.g. JNDI, JAAS) you might want the entire
cert.  You can look through BZ for TC 4 to find several examples of proposed

That said, patches are always welcome :).

>The combination of these two things seems to me to really limit the
>usefulness of client certificate authentication because authentication
>provides little guarantee of who the client is, and even if it did, the
>client is denied access to any protected resources.

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