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Oracle® HTTP Server Administrator's Guide
10g Release 1 (10.1)

Part Number B12255-01
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Apache is a public domain HTTP server derived from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).


The process of verifying the identity of a user, device, or other entity in a host system, often as a prerequisite to granting access to resources in a system. A recipient of an authenticated message can be certain of the message's origin (its sender). Authentication is presumed to preclude the possibility that another party has impersonated the sender.


The percentage or amount of scheduled time that a computing system provides application service.


See certificate authority.


Also called a digital certificate. An ITU x.509 v3 standard data structure that securely binds an identity to a public key.

A certificate is created when an entity's public key is signed by a trusted identity, a certificate authority The certificate ensures that the entity's information is correct and that the public key actually belongs to that entity.

A certificate contains the entity's name, identifying information, and public key. It is also likely to contain a serial number, expiration date, and information about the rights, uses, and privileges associated with the certificate. Finally, it contains information about the certificate authority that issued it.

certificate authority

A trusted third party that certifies that other entities--users, databases, administrators, clients, servers--are who they say they are. When it certifies a user, the certificate authority first seeks verification that the user is not on the certificate revocation list (CRL), then verifies the user's identity and grants a certificate, signing it with the certificate authority's private key. The certificate authority has its own certificate and public key which it publishes. Servers and clients use these to verify signatures the certificate authority has made. A certificate authority might be an external company that offers certificate services, or an internal organization such as a corporate MIS department.


Common Gateway Interface (CGI) is the industry-standard technique for transferring information between a Web server and any program designed to accept and return data that conforms to the CGI specifications.


Data that has been encrypted. Cipher text is unreadable until it has been converted to plain text (decrypted) with a key. See decryption.

cipher suite

A set of authentication, encryption, and data integrity algorithms used for exchanging messages between network nodes. During an SSL handshake, for example, the two nodes negotiate to see which cipher suite they will use when transmitting messages back and forth.


See plaintext.


The art of protecting information by transforming it (encrypting) into an unreadable format. See encryption.


See database access descriptor.

database access descriptor

A database access descriptor (DAD) is a set of values that specify how an application connects to an Oracle database to fulfill an HTTP request. The information in the DAD includes the username (which also specifies the schema and the privileges), password, connect-string, error log file, standard error message, and national language support (Globalization Support) parameters such as Globalization Support language.


The process of converting the contents of an encrypted message (ciphertext) back into its original readable format (plaintext).


Data Encryption Standard. A commonly used symmetric key encryption method that uses a 56-bit key.

Diffie-Hellman key negotiation algorithm

Diffie-Hellman key negotiation algorithm is a method that lets two parties communicating over an insecure channel to agree upon a random number known only to them. Though the parties exchange information over the insecure channel during execution of the Diffie-Hellman key negotiation algorithm, it is computationally infeasible for an attacker to deduce the random number they agree upon by analyzing their network communications. Oracle Advanced Security uses the Diffie-Hellman key negotiation algorithm to generate session keys.

digital certificate

See certificate.

digital wallet

See wallet.

directory information tree

A hierarchical tree-like structure consisting of the DNs of the directory entries. See distinguished name.

distinguished name

The unique name of a directory entry. It comprises all of the individual names of the parent entries back to the root in the directory information tree.


See directory information tree.


See distinguished name.


The process of disguising a message thereby rendering it unreadable to any but the intended recipient. Encryption is performed by translating data into secret code. There are two main types of encryption: public-key encryption (or asymmetric-key encryption) and symmetric-key encryption.


In the context of a directory service, entries are the building blocks of a directory. An entry is a collection of information about an object in the directory. Each entry is composed of a set of attributes that describe one particular trait of the object. For example, if a directory entry describes a person, that entry can have attributes such as first name, last name, telephone number, or e-mail address.


The ability to reconfigure a computing system to utilize an alternate active component when a similar component fails.


See Hypertext Transfer Protocol.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is the underlying format used by the Web to format and transmit messages and determine what actions Web servers and browsers should take in response to various commands. HTTP is the protocol used between Oracle Database and clients.


A password or a table needed to decipher encoded data.


See Lightweight Directory Access Protocol.

Lightweight Directory Access Protocol

A standard, extensible directory access protocol. It is a common language that LDAP clients and servers use to communicate. The framework of design conventions supporting industry-standard directory products, such as the Oracle Internet Directory.


A hashing algorithm intended for use on 32-bit machines to create digital signatures. MD5 is a one-way hash function, meaning that it converts a message into a fixed string of digits that form a message digest.

message digest

Representation of text as a string of single digits. It is created using a formula called a one-way hash function.


Modules extend the basic functionality of the Web server and support integration between Oracle HTTP Server and other Oracle Database components.

one-way hash function

An algorithm that turns a message into a single string of digits. "One way" means that it is almost impossible to derive the original message from the string of digits. The calculated message digest can be compared with the message digest that is decrypted with a public key to verify that the message has not been tampered with.


See Oracle Process Manager and Notification Server.

Oracle Process Manager and Notification Server

Oracle Process Manager and Notification Server (OPMN) manages Oracle HTTP Server processes within an application server instance. It channels all events from different components to all components interested in receiving them.


Privacy-Enhanced Electronic Mail. An encryption technique that provides encryption, authentication, message integrity, and key management.


PL/SQL is Oracle's proprietary extension to the SQL language. PL/SQL adds procedural and other constructs to SQL that make it suitable for writing applications.


Also called cleartext. Unencrypted data in ASCII format.


A port is a number that TCP uses to route transmitted data to and from a particular program.

private key

In public-key cryptography, this key is the secret key. It is primarily used for decryption but is also used for encryption with digital signatures. See public/private key pair.

proxy server

A proxy server typically sits on a network firewall and enables clients behind the firewall to access Web resources. All requests from clients go to the proxy server rather than directly to the destination server. The proxy server forwards the request to the destination server and passes the received information back to the client. The proxy server channels all Web traffic at a site through a single, secure port; this enables an organization to create a secure firewall by preventing Internet access to internal machines, while allowing Web access.

public key

In public-key cryptography, this key is made public to all. It is primarily used for encryption but can be used for verifying signatures. See public/private key pair.

public-key cryptography

Encryption method that uses two different random numbers (keys). See public key and public-key encryption.

public-key encryption

The process where the sender of a message encrypts the message with the public key of the recipient. Upon delivery, the message is decrypted by the recipient using its private key.

public/private key pair

A set of two numbers used for encryption and decryption, where one is called the private key and the other is called the public key. Public keys are typically made widely available, while private keys are held by their respective owners. Though mathematically related, it is generally viewed as computationally infeasible to derive the private key from the public key. Public and private keys are used only with asymmetric encryption algorithms, also called public-key encryption algorithms, or public-key cryptosystems. Data encrypted with either a public key or a private key from a key pair can be decrypted with its associated key from the key-pair. However, data encrypted with a public key cannot be decrypted with the same public key, and data encrypted with a private key cannot be decrypted with the same private key.


A public-key encryption technology developed by RSA Data Security. The RSA algorithm is based on the fact that it is laborious to factor very large numbers. This makes it mathematically unfeasible, because of the computing power and time required to decode an RSA key.


A measure of how well the software or hardware product is able to adapt to future business needs.


See Secure Hash Algorithm.

Secure Hash Algorithm

Secure Hash Algorithm assures data integrity by generating a 160-bit cryptographic message digest value from given data. If as little as a single bit in the data is modified, the Secure Hash Algorithm checksum for the data changes. Forgery of a given data set in a way that will cause the Secure Hash Algorithm to generate the same result as that for the original data is considered computationally infeasible.

An algorithm that takes a message of less than 264 bits in length and produces a 160-bit message digest. The algorithm is slightly slower than MD5, but the larger message digest makes it more secure against brute-force collision and inversion attacks.

Secure Shell

Secure Shell (SSH) is a well known protocol and has widely available implementation that provide a secure connection tunneling solution. SSH provides a daemon on both the client and server sides of a connection. Clients connect to the local daemon rather than connecting directly to the server. The local SSH daemon then establishes a secure connection to the daemon on the server side. Communication is then routed from the client, through the client side daemon to the server side daemon and then on to the actual server. This enables a client/server program that uses an insecure protocol to be tunneled through a secure channel. For our purposes, the disadvantage of SSH is that it requires two hops to occur and that the implementations available do not perform and scale well enough. More information on SSH can be obtained from

Secure Sockets Layer

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a standard for the secure transmission of documents over the Internet using HTTPS (secure HTTP). SSL uses digital signatures to ensure that transmitted data is not tampered with.


See Secure Sockets Layer.


See Secure Shell.


Also called a digital wallet. A wallet is a data structure used to store and manage security credentials for an individual entity. It implements the storage and retrieval of credentials for use with various cryptographic services. A Wallet Resource Locator (WRL) provides all the necessary information to locate the wallet.

Wallet Resource Locator

A wallet resource locator (WRL) provides all necessary information to locate a wallet. It is a path to an operating system directory that contains a wallet.


See Wallet Resource Locator.


Public keys can be formed in various data formats. The X.509 v3 format is one such popular format.