Developer's Guide to Oracle® Solaris 11 Security

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Updated: July 2014

System Security

For system security, the Oracle Solaris OS provides process privileges. Process privileges are an alternative to the standard, superuser-based UNIX model for granting access to privileged applications. The system administrator assigns users a set of process privileges that permit access to privileged applications. A user does not need to become superuser to use a privileged application.

Privileges enable system administrators to delegate limited permission to users to override system security instead of giving users complete root access. Accordingly, developers who create new privileged applications should test for specific privileges instead of checking for UID = 0. See Chapter 2, Developing Privileged Applications.

For highly stringent system security, the Oracle Solaris OS provides the Trusted Extensions feature, which is outside of the scope of this book. The Trusted Extensions feature enables system administrators to specify the applications and files that a particular user can access. See Trusted Extensions Developer's Guide and the Trusted Extensions User's Guide for more information.

    Oracle Solaris provides the following public interfaces for security:

  • Cryptographic framework – The cryptographic framework is the backbone of cryptographic services in the Oracle Solaris OS. The framework provides standard Extended PKCS#11, v2.20 Amendment 3 Library , henceforth referred to as PKCS #11, interfaces to accommodate consumers and providers of cryptographic services. The framework has two parts: the user cryptographic framework for user-level applications and the kernel cryptographic framework for kernel-level modules. Consumers that are connected to the framework need no special knowledge of the installed cryptographic mechanisms. Providers plug into the framework with no special code necessary for the different types of consumers.

    The consumers of the cryptographic framework include security protocols, certain mechanisms, and applications that need to perform cryptography. The providers to the framework are cryptographic mechanisms as well as other mechanisms in hardware and software plug-ins. See Chapter 8, Introduction to the Oracle Solaris Cryptographic Framework for an overview of the cryptographic framework. See Chapter 9, Writing User–Level Cryptographic Applications to learn how to write user-level applications that consume services from the framework.

    The library for the cryptographic framework is an implementation of the RSA PKCS #11 specification. Both consumers and providers communicate with the user-level cryptographic framework through standard PKCS #11 calls.

  • Java API – Java security technology includes a large set of APIs, tools, and implementations of commonly used security algorithms, mechanisms, and protocols. The Java security APIs span a wide range of areas, including cryptography, public key infrastructure, secure communication, authentication, and access control. Java security technology provides the developer with a comprehensive security framework for writing applications, and also provides the user or administrator with a set of tools to securely manage applications. See