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Re: Java

Perry - 
  This has come up several times on the java list; some of them are 
covered in the papers on java security, but there's no reason to believe 
that the treatment in those papers is necessarily correct. Given the fact 
that it has proved possible to core-dump the jvm interpreter in the 
past, it's possible there may be security leaks in the implementations out 

If anybody is going to perform a more rigorous evaluation of the both the 
theoretical security model, and of the re-ified systems curently extant, 
looking at java the language is not the best place to start. A much 
better place to start is to look at the class loader and the java VM

The major assumptions needed to allow for security are:

	1. It's impossible to upwards modify the JVM  call stack.
	2. It's impossible to construct a pointer to an object except via 
	   controlled calls to the JVM
	3. It's impossible to store a value of one type and access it as 
	4. It's impossible to access non-public fields of an object

I'm not sure if these are sufficient; however they do present the most 
promising candidates for attacks. 

If 1 is false, then it becomes possible for a remote class to pretend 
to be a local class, and thus gain access to the file and networked classes.

If 2 is false, then the method gains un-restricted access to memory.
3 is similar to 2 - if you can turn an int into a pointer, you've won.

4 is imporant for many reasons - one obvious use is to change the the 
class-loader in a remote class to disguise it's origin, with the same 
result as 1. 

Any attack on the Java VM should start with the verifier in the 
class-loader. This is supposed to prevent 2 & 3. One of the sun papers 
refers to the verifier as a theorem prover- to me this implies that the 
design has been formally verfied, but then we know how much that's worth, 
don't we Phil :-)

BTW, source code for the Java VM is available for no cost; you just need 
to send in a request to the java team, and a notarised affidavit 
affirming that X sucks and NEWS was infinitely cooler.

See the java pages for more info  (http://java.sun.com/)

	Strange fact: There's a reference to one of Allan Schiffman's papers 
in the first Java security paper's bibliography. The paper has nothing to do 
with S-HTTP or any other aspect of security. There also doesn't seem to 
be any actual cite in the paper itself. Go Fig...