Home > Articles > Security > Network Security

  • Print
  • + Share This
Like this article? We recommend

Like this article? We recommend

9.5.7 Java Security

The Java programming language and accompanying run-time system were designed to allow a program to be written and compiled once and then shipped over the Internet in binary form and run on any machine supporting Java. Security was a part of the Java design from the beginning. In this section we will describe how it works.

Java is a type-safe language, meaning that the compiler will reject any attempt to use a variable in a way not compatible with its type. In contrast, consider the following C code:

   naughty 3 func( )
     char * p;
     p = rand( );
     * p =0;

It generates a random number and stores it in the pointer p. Then it stores a 0 byte at the address contained in p, overwriting whatever was there, code or data. In Java, constructions that mix types like this are forbidden by the grammar. In addition, Java has no pointer variables, casts, user-controlled storage allocation (such as malloc and free) and all array references are checked at run time.

Java programs are compiled to an intermediate binary code called JVM (Java Virtual Machine) byte code. JVM has about 100 instructions, most of which push objects of a specific type onto the stack, pop them from the stack, or combine two items on the stack arithmetically. These JVM programs are typically interpreted, although in some cases they can be compiled into machine language for faster execution. In the Java model, applets sent over the Internet for remote execution are JVM programs.

When an applet arrives, it is run through a JVM byte code verifier that checks if the applet obeys certain rules. A properly compiled applet will automatically obey them, but there is nothing to prevent a malicious user from writing a JVM applet in JVM assembly language. The checks include

  1. Does the applet attempt to forge pointers?

  2. Does it violate access restrictions on private class members?

  3. Does it try to use a variable of one type as another type?

  4. Does it generate stack overflows or underflows?

  5. Does it illegally convert variables of one type to another?

If the applet passes all the tests, it can be safely run without fear that it will access memory other than its own.

However, applets can still make system calls by calling Java methods (procedures) provided for that purpose. The way Java deals with that has evolved over time. In the first version of Java, JDK (Java Development Kit) 1.0. applets were divided into two classes: trusted and untrusted. Applets fetched from the local disk were trusted and allowed to make any system calls they wanted. In contrast, applets fetched over the Internet were untrusted. They were run in a sandbox, as shown in Fig. 9-7, and allowed to do practically nothing.

After some experience with this model, Sun decided that it was too restrictive. In JDK 1.1, code signing was employed. When an applet arrived over the Inter-net, a check was made to see if it was signed by a person or organization the user trusted (as defined by the user's list of trusted signers). If so, the applet was allowed to do whatever it wanted. If not, it was run in a sandbox and severely restricted.

After more experience, this proved unsatisfactory as well, so the security model was changed again. JDK 1.2 provides a configurable fine-grain security policy that applies to all applets, both local and remote. The security model is complicated enough that an entire book can be written describing it (Gong, 1999), so we will just briefly summarize some of the highlights.

Each applet is characterized by two things: where it came from and who signed it. Where it came from is its URL; who signed it is which private key was used for the signature. Each user can create a security policy consisting of a list of rules. A rule may list a URL, a signer, an object, and an action that the applet may perform on the object if the applet's URL and signer match the rule. Conceptually, the information provided is shown in the table of Fig. 9-9, although the actual formatting is different and is related to the Java class hierarchy.

One kind of action permits file access. The action can specify a specific file or directory, the set of all files in a given directory, or the set of all files and directories recursively contained in a given directory. The three lines of Fig. 9-9 correspond to these three cases. In the first line, the user, Susan, has set up her permissions file so that applets originating at her tax preparer's machine, http://www.taxprep.com and signed by the company, have read access to her tax data located in the file 1040.xls. This is the only file they can read and no other applets can read this file. In addition, all applets from all sources, whether signed or not, can read and write files in /usr/tmp.

Figure 9-9 Some examples of protection that can be specified with JDK 1.2.

Furthermore, Susan also trusts Microsoft enough to allow applets originating at its site and signed by Microsoft to read, write, and delete all the files below the Office directory in the directory tree, for example, to fix bugs and install new versions of the software. To verify the signatures, Susan must either have the necessary public keys on her disk or must acquire them dynamically, for example in the form of a certificate signed by a company she trusts and whose public key she already has.

Files are not the only resources that can be protected. Network access can also be protected. The objects here are specific ports on specific computers. A computer is specified by an IP address or DNS name; ports on that machine are specified by a range of numbers. The possible actions include asking to connect to the remote computer and accepting connections originated by the remote computer. In this way, an applet can be given network access, but restricted to talking only to computers explicitly named in the permissions list. Applets may dynamically load additional code (classes) as needed, but user-supplied class loaders can precisely control on which machines such classes may originate. Numerous other security features are also present.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020