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Java & Netscape security (reply to misc. postings)

Hi Harry & Perry & Jeff & Dr Cohen & "Alice" -

1.  Netscape security: 

Like Jeff said, Netscape 2.0beta has all the same security features as
JDK beta.  (JDK = Java Developer's Kit, the name for our current
product.)  Netscape and Sun have been cooperating closely to
implement, and test, and document the applet security model.  The
applet security manager and the applet class loader are implemented at
the Java layer, for which source code is available from Sun.

Granted, some elements of the the applet security model are
implemented at the Java<-->runtime level, and that's why we have tests
that we run on the appletviewer and on Netscape Navigator.

2.  Corporate security class: 

  Harry asks: 

  | My question is, can a corporate user replace the security class in
  | Netscape. I understand that all the class libs are in an external
  | file. While a virus might exploit this... my reason for asking is for
  | corporate developers who are building "intra"net systems.. making some
  | tweaks to the security class would give them the flexibility they need.
  | Otherwise we have taken much of the fun out of Java. (for good
  | reasons).

The best thing to do if you want to implement your own
intra-corporation security model in the short run is to get a copy of
the beta source code, and take a look at AppletSecurity.java and
AppletClassLoader.java.  You can substitute your own versions of those
for your inhouse use.  This is relatively easy to do with the
appletviewer, and although it's possible to do some binary hack on
moz2_0.car and replace certain files with your own, it's probably not
everyone's cup of tea.  I mean, there's a difference between what you
can do, and what you want to do ... I understand that!

For the next release, we are working on how to enable people to
accomplish what you want to accomplish, in a standard way and in a
usable way, which preserves the applet security model.  The goal is to
design the APIs so that applets can have access to more system
functionality in a secure way.  Presumably what you really want to do
is write applets that have access to file i/o (or what have you), not
re-implement the security manager.

3.  Postscript considered dangerous:   (insert-smiley) 

As for the question of someone invoking a postscript interpreter via a
browser and thus opening up their system to some rogue postscript
file: I think it would be great if either of these two things were to
magically happen:

	1) people would stop putting postscript docs on web pages
	because it's the wrong technology for WWW - it wastes
	bandwidth - it's hard to view & hence often ugly - everyone
	just prints it out anyway and then complains because there
	is no one "standard" implementation of postscript printing
	worldwide and there are dozens of minor problems

	2) someone could implement a secure postscript previewer
	(whatever that means!) 

I doubt either of those two things will happen.  The average Jo on the
internet needs to understand that when s/he downloads binary files
over the internet and run them from insecure programs on their local
computer, well, s/he runs some risk.  This risk might be tiny, but
it's impossible to quantify loss.  If I lose a poem that I'm writing,
to me that's priceless, so I do not intend to imply that loss of data
isn't tragic for the person who loses it.  If you have data you can't
bear to lose, be sure to practice safe computing.  Perform backups
regularly, and use judgement about which interpreters and executable
programs you allow to run on your PC.


internet fan, [email protected]
Java Products Group, [email protected]