Java Dynamic Management Kit 5.0 Tutorial

Legacy Security

Because Java DMK 5.0 implements an SNMPv3 adaptor, and all SNMPv3 security aspects are handled completely by this adaptor, MIB instrumentation does not depend on the version of SNMP via which it is accessed. MIBs that were developed under previous releases of Java DMK can thus be directly registered into the new SnmpV3AdaptorServer, and benefit from all the SNMPv3 security mechanisms.

However, earlier versions of Java DMK provided a hook via the SnmpPduFactory, that enabled the implementation of authentication and encryption on top of the SNMPv1 and v2 protocol adaptor. This can be used to implement proprietary security over the regular SNMPv1 and v2 PDUs. This hook has been preserved in Java DMK 5.0, for reasons of backwards compatibility.

Note –

Although the SNMPv1 and v2 community-based security mechanism is still available in Java DMK 5.0, you should migrate applications that require better security to SNMPv3. When migrating your applications to SNMPv3, applications which have implemented their own PDU factory must be revised before they can be imported into the SnmpV3AdaptorServer, as the SnmpPduFactory class developed for SNMPv1/v2 PDUs is not compatible with SNMPv3 PDUs.

Decoding and Encoding SNMP Packets

The SnmpPduFactory hook provided by Java DMK 5.0 involves the following Java classes:

Defines the interface of the object in charge of encoding and decoding SNMP packets


The default implementation of the SnmpPduFactory interface

The fully decoded representation of an SNMP packet

A partially decoded representation of an SNMP packet, containing the information stored in any SNMPv1, SNMPv2 or SNMPv3 message

After receiving an SNMP packet, Java DMK 5.0 performs the following steps:

  1. The received bytes are translated into an SnmpMsg object by the message processing subsystem. If the SNMP protocol version of the original request was either v1 or v2, this step simply involves the BER decoding of the ASN.1 Message sequence as defined in RFC 1901. If the SNMP protocol version of the original request was v3, the message processing subsystem will in addition invoke the security subsystem to authenticate and decrypt the message.

  2. The SnmpMsg object is then translated into an SnmpPdu object

  3. The SnmpPdu is analyzed and the corresponding operation is performed

Before sending an SNMP packet, Java DMK 5.0 performs the following steps:

  1. An SnmpPdu object is initialized according to the requested operation. This could be either an SnmpPduPacketfor SNMPv1or v2, or an SnmpScopedPduPacket for SNMPv3

  2. The SnmpPdu object is translated into an SnmpMsg

  3. The SnmpMsg is then passed to the message processing subsystem, and translated into bytes. If SNMPv1 or SNMPv2 is being used, this step simply involves the BER encoding of the ASN.1 message sequence as defined in RFC 1901. If SNMPv3 is being used, the message processing subsystem also invokes the security subsystem to sign and encrypt the message.

The SnmpPdu object is the fully decoded description of the SNMP request. In particular, it includes the operation type (get, set, and so on), the list of variables to be operated upon, the request identifier, and the protocol version, as shown in Example 20–12.

Example 20–12 Using the SnmpPdu Class

abstract class SnmpPdu {
             public int version ;
             public int type ;
             public int requestId ;
             public SnmpVarBind[] varBindList ;

The use of the SnmpMsg class is shown in Example 20–13. The SnmpMsg class is a partially decoded representation of the SNMP request. Only the protocol version and security parameters are decoded. All the other parameters remain encoded.

The SnmpMsg class is the base class derived from the message syntax from RFC 1157 and RFC 1901, and SNMPv3Message from RFC 2572. The SnmpMessage class that was present in releases of Java DMK before 5.0 derives from SnmpMsg and represents an SNMPv1 or SNMPv2 message. Because SNMPv3 introduces additional security parameters, the SnmpMessage class can only be used for SNMPv1 or SNMPv2 messages. SnmpPduFactory implementations that make direct use of SnmpMessage will therefore need to be updated if they are to be imported into a Java DMK 5.0 SNMPv3 protocol adaptor. However, they do not need to be changed as long if the old SnmpAdaptorServer is used instead of SnmpV3AdaptorServer.

Example 20–13 Using the SnmpMsg Class

abstract class SnmpMsg {
             public int version ;

     class SnmpMessage extends SnmpMsg {
             public byte[] community ;
             public byte[] data ;

SnmpPduFactory Interface

When Java DMK 5.0 needs to translate an SnmpMsg object into an SnmpPdu object, it delegates this task to an object which implements SnmpPduFactory, as shown in Example 20–14:

Example 20–14 Using the SnmpPduFactory Interface

interface SnmpPduFactory {

       // Makes an SnmpPdu from an SnmpMsg
       public SnmpPdu decodeSnmpPdu(SnmpMsg msg) 
       throws SnmpStatusException ;
       // Makes an SnmpMsg from an SnmpPdu
       public SnmpMsg encodeSnmpPdu(SnmpPdu pdu, int maxPktSize)
       throws SnmpStatusException, SnmpTooBigException ;

Note –

SnmpPduFactory has two additional methods inherited from Java DMK 4.2, decodePdu and encodePdu, that are now deprecated but are kept for backwards compatibility.

Java DMK 5.0 provides a default implementation of theSnmpPduFactory, called SnmpPduFactoryBER. SnmpPduFactoryBER is used automatically unless stated otherwise. The SnmpPduFactoryBER methods control every incoming or outgoing SNMP PDU.

Therefore, it is possible to implement a security policy using an SnmpPduFactory class. However, it is recommended to rely rather on the standard SNMPv3 policy. Using the SnmpPduFactory to implement additional levels of security only makes sense on an SNMPv1 or SNMPv2 framework, when SNMPv3 is not an option.

Implementing a New SnmpPduFactory Class

Java DMK expects decodeSnmpPdu to behave as follows:

Java DMK expects encodeSnmpPdu to behave as follows:

Because SnmpPdu and SnmpMsg are abstract classes, you should delegate their creation and initialization to an instance of SnmpPduFactoryBER and work on the result returned.

You can change the SnmpPduFactory object used by the SNMP adaptor by using the setPduFactory method, shown in Example 20–15.

Example 20–15 Changing the SnmpPduFactory object Using setPduFactory

       myAdaptor.setPduFactory(new MyFireWallPduFactory()) ;

In Java DMK 4.2, the SnmpPduFactory was attached to the SnmpPeer object. In Java DMK 5.0, the SnmpPduFactory is attached to the SnmpSession. Factories set via the deprecated SnmpPeer API are reused in Java DMK 5.0. They can be changed using the setPduFactory method, as shown in Example 20–16:

Example 20–16 Updating Deprecated SnmpPeer Factories Using setPduFactory

SnmpSession mySession = new SnmpSession() ;
mySession.setPduFactory(new MyFireWallPduFactory()) ;
mySession.snmpGet(myPeer, this, myVarBindList) ;

Caution – Caution –

Setting two different factories in the peer and in the session can lead to unpredictable behavior. Use the same factory at both levels.