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From pete <>
Subject Re: Programmatic security with servlet mappings in tomcat
Date Mon, 02 Jul 2001 23:00:06 GMT

there are several ways to implement this kind of security check. If you 
want a fullblown MVC model, you might consider looking at Struts or one 
of the other Apache-driven frameworks (Struts is the only one i have 
personal experience with).

with the example you give, i don't understand the need for a 
'controller' jsp in this context.

The way i handle security in one of my apps is that i have a method in a 
session-bean (public void isAuthenticated()) that checks the user has a 
valid login, so all my jsps (except login.jsp) are wrapped in a 
statement like

<jsp:useBean id="Authentication" scope="session" 

<%if (Authentication.isAuthenticated())

.... rest of JSP goes here


If a valid session key is already assigned, the method returns true. If 
username and password are supplied in request scope, isAuthenticated 
does a lookup to our authentication database, and if successful, sets a 
valid session key, and returns true.

If neither of these are true, isAuthenticated sets a 'you are not 
authenticated' message to be displayed by login.jsp,  returns false, and 
the user is redirected back to login.jsp

In our struts projects, we have a custom tag library that checks 
authentication details, so its even simpler than the above.

This example lacks exhaustive detail, but it is pretty easy to implement 
a security model like this. There are a number of foibles you can make, 
however. I'd tell you what they are, but that would spoil your fun now, 
wouldn't it ;)

Hope that helps


> Hi,
> (Tomcat 3.2.1, windows 2000, JdK1.3.1)
> I want to use a Request Controller architecture for a webapp (i.e. one JSP
> that receives all requests and then dispatches the requests to other JSPs
> for servicing of the request). Of course I want to ensure that these
> "servicing" JSPs are not accessible without passing through the controller
> jsp. Is a secure solution to this problem to use a servlet mapping of the
> following form in web.xml:
> <web-app>
> <servlet>
> <servlet-name>controller</servlet-name>
> <jsp-file>controller.jsp</jsp-file>
> </servlet>
> <servlet-mapping>
> <servlet-name>controller</servlet-name>
> <url-pattern>/*</url-pattern>
> </servlet-mapping>
> </web-app>
> And to include in Controller.jsp a session bean for each user to check
> whether they have logged on to the site before forwarding their request to
> the "servicing" JSP.
> I have tried this out "empirically" myself and it seems to work but I would
> quite like a "theoretical" confirmation that this is secure and that this
> solution makes it impossible for a malicious user to get access to the
> "servicing" JSPs (without passing through Controller.jsp which will force a
> logon).
> Thanks.
> Tim.
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