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From Richard Troy <rt...@ScienceTools.com>
Subject Re: Client-Cert authentication with Tomcat 4
Date Tue, 06 Nov 2001 14:40:30 GMT

Antony,

unless I'm mistaken, and I could be, the password on the client side is
used for encrypting and decrypting the clients certificate. When the
certificate is first created, the password is given. without the password,
there's no authentication that the user of the certificate really is the
user, so it's required. This puts confidence of the certificates
authenticity in the hands of the user - it's no more nor any less secure
than any other password scheme, except as you point out, there's no way
for the server-side to enforce password selection criteria. That would
have to come from the certificate generation process...

Hope this helps,

RT


-- 
Richard Troy, Chief Scientist
Science Tools Corporation
rtroy@ScienceTools.com, 510-567-9957, http://ScienceTools.com/

On Tue, 6 Nov 2001, Antony Bowesman wrote:

> Date: Tue, 06 Nov 2001 08:30:38 +0200
> From: Antony Bowesman <adb@teamware.com>
> Reply-To: Tomcat Users List <tomcat-user@jakarta.apache.org>
> To: Tomcat Users List <tomcat-user@jakarta.apache.org>
> Subject: Re: Client-Cert authentication with Tomcat 4
>
> Timothy Fisher wrote:
> >
> > You will get prompted for your password by the browser
> > when using client-cert authentication.  The password
> > is necessary to unlock your private key.
>
> Oh yes.  It never asked me because it was set to the default of only ask
> the 'first' time the cert is needed.  (Netscape) Anyway, it still seems
> odd to delegate password security to the workstation where there is no
> way of an administrator enforced password policy (e.g. min length,
> alpha/numeric, forced changes) such as would be available by a back end
> password mechanism.
>
> Once you have access to the browser via a possibly guessable password it
> gives you access to the powerful certificate with no further
> authentication done by the server to authenticate the user.
>
> I can't see the use for CLIENT-CERT authentication, it seems like form
> or digest authentication over SSL with clientAuth=true set in server.xml
> would achieve better security.
>
> Rgds
> Antony
>
> > > Hi,
> > >
> > > I have followed the comments in server.xml to get
> > > SSL working and have
> > > set up the security example to have client-cert as
> > > the auth method in
> > > web.xml.  When I first connect to my host, the
> > > browser asks which
> > > certificate I want to send.  However, the browser
> > > then prompts me for a
> > > username/password (as in basic authentication) when
> > > I try to connect to
> > > the protected page.
> > >
> > > I am using my own realm, however, from the Realm
> > > code, it seems that
> > > none of the realm implementations (including my own)
> > > implement the
> > > abstract getPrincipal)() method in RealmBase.java,
> > > i.e. they all return
> > > null so it seems that this will never work with the
> > > supplied realms.
> > >
> > > Am I missing something, does anyone have this
> > > working?
> > >
> > > Rgds
> > > --
> > > Antony Bowesman
>
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