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From Chad La Joie <laj...@georgetown.edu>
Subject Re: Feature Request: Optional No Cert validation on SSL connector
Date Tue, 28 Jun 2005 11:08:58 GMT
Yeah, I know what mod-ssl says, and for most cases it's probably right,
however the optional_no_ca option is interesting to us because it
provides exactly the functionality that we need; accepting the client
cert, putting it in a standard place, and allowing our application to do
the verification for us.

As you said, PKCS12 wouldn't help us.  The problem isn't that the Java
keystore is some how flawed.  It's that that's just not a viable
mechanism for us.  Our certificates are communicated in SAML2 metadata
files.  These files change periodically (when new service or identity
providers come online or old ones go offline).  We had discussed a
process whereby we'd extract the certs from the file and create a
keystore but that has and unacceptable drawback, in our opinion.  With
the SAML2 metadata files we can get fresh copies of those files and use
them immediately in a running system.  With the keystore mechanism
Tomcat would need to be restarted because the keystore, or at least part
of it, is cached in memory and as far as I can tell, the cache is never
refreshed.  Given the indeterminate frequency for metadata updates, we
do not see this as a viable solution for a production level system.

jean-frederic clere wrote:
> Chad La Joie wrote:
> 
>> Hey guys,
>>   I was wondering if there were any thoughts on this particular
>> suggestion.  I hadn't seen anything on the list.
> 
> 
> BTW: mod-ssl says:
> +++
> In practice only levels none and require are really interesting, because
> level optional doesn't work with all browsers and level optional_no_ca
> is actually against the idea of authentication (but can be used to
> establish SSL test pages, etc.)
> +++
> 
> And keystoreType= "PKCS12" doesn't help.
> 
>>
>> Chad La Joie wrote:
>>
>>> Good Morning,
>>>  I work on the Internet2 Shibboleth project and we've run in to an
>>> issue with client cert authentication in a stand alone Tomcat
>>> environment (i.e. without Apache HTTPD in front of it).  Shibboleth
>>> clients use client cert auth when talking with the Shibboleth server,
>>> however, the certificate chains for the clients are not in a Java
>>> keystore.  Instead they are in XML files that contain a large amount of
>>> metadata needed by both the client and the server.
>>>  Our current, supported, deployment configuration is to have Apache
>>> HTTPD in front of Tomcat and to use "SSLVerifyClient optional_no_ca"
>>> HTTPD directive.  This allows the client to send its certificate, but
>>> instead of HTTPD trying to validate the cert, it just passes the cert on
>>> to the Shibboleth server.  This allows us to validate the certificate
>>> against the cert chains in the metadata files within the server code (a
>>> huge support boon for us).  What we'd like to request is a similar
>>> option for the SSL connector when client cert auth is used so that we
>>> can support a stand alone Tomcat set up too.
>>>  Would this be possible?
>>
>>
>>
> 
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-- 
Chad La Joie             315Q St. Mary's Hall
Project Sentinel         202.687.0124

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