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From André Warnier ...@ice-sa.com>
Subject Re: Usage of Tomcat SSL in client-side class
Date Tue, 16 Nov 2010 17:54:02 GMT
Moley Harey wrote:
> Hello folks,
> 
> I have a set of web services installed in Tomcat 6.0.26 that I would like to
> access using HTTPs, I have following the instructions in Tomcat web side to
> set up JSSE support and now I can access the web services using SSH.
> 
> My question is what do I have to do in my Java client-side classes to work
> with HTTPs requests from Tomcat? Do I have to accept somehow the certificate
> provided by Tomcat in my Java classes? Well, I'm totally newbie in these
> security issues :-/
> 

Only because you mention that you are a total newbie, and because I am myself not far 
above that level, some beginning pointers :

It helps to give things their correct name (or acronym), so as to be able to find the 
correct documentation and understand their relationship.
SSL is "Secure Socket Layer". (Google : SSL RFC)
SSH is an acronym for "Secure Shell" (Google : SSH RFC)
HTTP is an acronym for "HyperText Transport Protocol". (Google : HTTP RFC)
HTTPS (with a big S) is an acronym for "HTTP over SSL". (Google : HTTPS RFC)

So you are not accessing the web services over SSH, you are accessing your web services 
over HTTPS, which itself "lives" above an SSL connection, which itself lives above a TCP 
connection, which itself lives above an IP link (which itself lives over an Ethernet link

(probably) etc..).

And on top of it all, you have the application (both at the client side, and at the server

side).

Schematically :

Client application                            Server application
Client "container" (?) (e.g. a JVM)           Server container (e.g. JVM + Tomcat)
Client O.S.                                   Server OS
Client SSL layer (optional)                   Server SSL layer (optional)
Client OS TCP/IP layer                        Server OS TCP/IP layer
Client-side Ethernet layer                    Server-side Ethernet layer
Client-side hardware layer <-------------->   Server-side hardware layer

When the client side application sends something to the server-side application, whatever

data is sent goes through all the layers on the client side, then over the physical 
connection, then through all the layers on the server side up to the server application.
The encryption/decryption, if any, takes place at the SSL layer level, automatically.

So basically, to answer our question, you do not /have/ to do something special at the 
application level.  The container and the OS take care of the interface, so that your 
application can just use the standard "read" and "write" and "open" and "close" and 
request.getParameters() calls, no matter if the connection uses an SSL layer or not.

But you /can/ make use of some of the SSL-specific things, if you want.
For example, the server-side application setup /could/ tell the container that it will 
only accept requests that come over a secure channel, and only if they come from a client

identified as "X" or "Y".


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