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Extensible Security Architectures for Java

Dan S. Wallach
Dirk Balfanz
Drew Dean
Edward W. Felten

Mobile code technologies such as Java, JavaScript, and ActiveX generally limit all programs to a single restrictive security policy. However, software-based protection can allow for more extensible security models, with potentially significant performance improvements over traditional hardware-based solutions. An extensible security system should be able to protect subsystems and implement policies that are created after the initial system is shipped. We describe and analyze three implementation strategies for interposing such security policies in software-based security systems. Implementations exist for all three strategies: several vendors have adapted capabilities to Java, Netscape and Microsoft have extensions to Java's stack introspection, and we built a name space management system as an add-on to Microsoft Internet Explorer. Theoretically, all these systems are equivalently secure, but many practical issues and implementation details favor some aspects of each system.

16th Symposium on Operating Systems Principles (Saint-Malo, France), October 1997.

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See Also
Netscape's signed object documentation
Extensible Security Architectures for Java. Dan S. Wallach, Dirk Balfanz, Drew Dean, and Edward W. Felten, Technical Report 546-97, Department of Computer Science, Princeton University, April 1997.

Princeton University
Department of Computer Science