Sun Java System Application Server Platform Edition 8.2 Administration Guide

Overview of Security

Security is about protecting data: how to prevent unauthorized access or damage to it in storage or transit. The Application Server has a dynamic, extensible security architecture based on the J2EE standard. Built in security features include cryptography, authentication and authorization, and public key infrastructure. The Application Server is built on the Java security model, which uses a sandbox where applications can run safely, without potential risk to systems or users. The following topics are discussed:

Understanding Application and System Security

Broadly, there are two kinds of application security:

In addition to application security, there is also system security, which affects all the applications on an Application Server system.

Programmatic security is controlled by the application developer, so this document does not discuss it; declarative security is somewhat less so, and this document touches on it occasionally. This document is intended primarily for system administrators, and so focuses on system security.

Tools for Managing Security

The Application Server provides the following tools for managing security:

The Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition (J2SE) provides two tools for managing security:

For more information on using keytool, policytool, and other Java security tools, see Java 2 SDK Tools and Utilities at

Managing Security of Passwords

In this release of the Application Server, the file domain.xml, which contains the specifications for a particular domain, initially contains the password of the Sun Java System Message Queue broker in clear text. The element in the domain.xml file that contains this password is the admin-password attribute of the jms-host element. Because this password is not changeable at installation time, it is not a significant security impact.

However, use the Admin Console to add users and resources and assign passwords to these users and resources. Some of these passwords are written to the domain.xml file in clear text, for example, passwords for accessing a database. Having these passwords in clear text in the domain.xml file can present a security hazard. You can encrypt any password in domain.xml, including the admin-password attribute or a database password using the following procedure.

ProcedureTo encrypt a password in domain.xml

  1. From the directory where the domain.xml file resides (domain-dir/config by default), run the following asadmin command:

    asadmin create-password-alias --user admin alias-name

    For example,

    asadmin create-password-alias --user admin jms-password

    A password prompt appears (admin in this case). Refer to the man pages for the create-password-alias, list-password-aliases, delete-password-alias commands for more information.

  2. Remove and replace the password in domain.xml. This is accomplished using the asadmin set command. An example of using the set command for this purpose is as follows:

    asadmin set --user admin server.jms-service.jms-host.
  3. Restart the Application Server for the relevant domain.

Protecting files with encoded passwords

Some files contain encoded passwords that need protecting using file system permissions. These files include the following:

ProcedureTo change the master password

The master password (MP) is an overall shared password. It is never used for authentication and is never transmitted over the network. This password is the choke point for overall security; the user can choose to enter it manually when required, or obscure it in a file. It is the most sensitive piece of data in the system. The user can force prompting for the MP by removing this file. When the master password is changed, it is re-saved in the master-password keystore.

  1. Stop the Application Server for the domain. Use the asadmin change-master-password command, which prompts for the old and new passwords, then re-encrypts all dependent items. For example,

    asadmin change-master-password>
    Please enter the master password>
    Please enter the new master password>
    Please enter the the new master password again>
  2. Restart the Application Server.

    Caution – Caution –

    At this point in time, server instances that are running must not be started and running server instances must not be restarted until the SMP on their corresponding node agent has been changed. If a server instance is restarted before changing its SMP, it will fail to come up.

  3. Stop each node agent and its related servers one at a time. Run the asadmin change-master-password command again, and then restart the node agent and its related servers.

  4. Continue with the next node agent until all node agents have been addressed. In this way, a rolling change is accomplished.

ProcedureTo change the admin password

Encrypting the admin password was discussed in Managing Security of Passwords. Encrypting the admin password is strongly encouraged. If you want to change the admin password before encrypting it, use the asadmin set command. An example of using the set command for this purpose is as follows:

asadmin set --user admin 

It is also possible to change the admin password using the Admin Console as in the following procedure.

  1. In the Admin Console tree component, expand the Configuration node.

  2. Expand the Security node.

  3. Expand the Realms node.

  4. Select the admin-realm node.

  5. Click the Manage Users button from the Edit Realm page.

  6. Select the user named admin.

  7. Enter the new password and confirm the password.

  8. Click Save to save or click Close to close without saving.

Assigning Security Responsibilities

Security responsibilities are assigned to the following:

Application Developer

The application developer is responsible for the following:

An application developer can use tools such as deploytool to edit application deployment descriptors. These security tasks are discussed in more detail in the Security chapter of The J2EE 1.4 Tutorial, which can be viewed at

Application Deployer

The application deployer is responsible for:

An application deployer can use tools such as deploytool to edit application deployment descriptors. These security tasks are discussed in more detail in the Security chapter of The J2EE 1.4 Tutorial, which can be viewed at

System Administrator

The system administrator is responsible for:

A system administrator uses the Admin Console to manage server security settings and keytool to manage certificates. This document is intended primarily for system administrators.