Monday, December 22, 2014

Java Security Manager: Troubshooting Security

In [1], we have discussed how to fix security violations when Java Security Manager is enabled at WebLogic Server start-up.  In this article, we will look at how to troubleshoot security policy-related issues by using the option.

To troubleshoot security policy-related issues, you can configure Java Security Manager with the level of security-related information to be reported using:  
To find out what the debug option offers, do:
If using JDK 7, you can find more information from [2].  As for JDK 8, we have included the list of debugging options in the Addendum for your convenience.  Note that you need to separate multiple options with a comma.  For example, we will look at the output from the following combination of debug options:,access

policy Option

Setting "policy" option will allow Security Manager to report the details of
Loading and granting permissions with policy file
For example, from the WebLogic Server log file, you can find the following entries:

policy: Adding policy entry: 
policy:   signedBy null
policy:   codeBase file:/home/myusername/wls1221141208/wlserver/server/lib/-
policy:   ("" "" "")
policy: Adding policy entry: 
policy:   signedBy null
policy:   codeBase file:/home/myusername/wls1221141208/wlserver/modules/-
policy:   ("" "" "")

which correspond to grant entries from the weblogic.policy:[5]

grant codeBase "file:/home/myusername/wls1221141208/wlserver/server/lib/-" {

grant codeBase "file:/home/myusername/wls1221141208/wlserver/modules/-" {

Beside of policy loading entries, you could also find other entries (e.g. permission granting entries) such as:

policy:   granting ("java.util.PropertyPermission" "java.version" "read")
policy:   granting ("java.util.PropertyPermission" "java.vendor" "read")

access Option

Enabling access option, allows Security Manager to print all results from the AccessController.checkPermission method.

You can use the following options with the access option:
  • stack: Include stack trace
  • domain: Dump all domains (i.e., protection domain) in context
  • failure:[3] Before throwing exception, dump stack and domain that do not have permission
You can also use the following options with the stack and domain options:
  • permission=<classname>[4]
    • Only dump output if specified permission is being checked 
  • codebase=<URL>
    • This option would be useful when customer desires to trace the permissions impact of only the code in a given code souce, such as jar file.
    • URL is the location of the specified code base. 
      • Note that because the comma (',") is used as multi options separator, if the URL contains comma, the security debugger would not work properly as expected, it is recommended that the URL should not include character comma (','), semicolon (';'), and  space.


$ jdk-hs/bin/java

all           turn on all debugging
access        print all checkPermission results
certpath      PKIX CertPathBuilder and
              CertPathValidator debugging
combiner      SubjectDomainCombiner debugging
              GSS LoginConfigImpl debugging
configfile    JAAS ConfigFile loading
configparser  JAAS ConfigFile parsing
jar           jar verification
logincontext  login context results
jca           JCA engine class debugging
policy        loading and granting
provider      security provider debugging
pkcs11        PKCS11 session manager debugging
              PKCS11 KeyStore debugging
sunpkcs11     SunPKCS11 provider debugging
scl           permissions SecureClassLoader assigns
ts            timestamping

The following can be used with access:

stack         include stack trace
domain        dump all domains in context
failure       before throwing exception, dump stack
              and domain that didn't have permission

The following can be used with stack and domain:

              only dump output if specified permission
              is being checked
              only dump output if specified codebase
              is being checked

The following can be used with provider:

              only dump output for the specified list
              of JCA engines. Supported values:
              Cipher, KeyAgreement, KeyGenerator,
              KeyPairGenerator, KeyStore, Mac,
              MessageDigest, SecureRandom, Signature.


  1. Java Security Manager: access denied (Xml and More)
  2. Troubshooting Security
  3. Debugging Security Policy Issues
  4. Fine granularity diagnosis on security
  5. Java SecurityManager: "" and "java.policy" Files (Xml and More)

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