Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Secure only login page

Web applications that do not use SSL to protect all their resources run faster than the ones that do. However, passing sensitive information about the users (user id's and passwords) over the network unencrypted is not a fair trade for improving performance. The best way is to protect only the login page and leave the rest of the pages unencrypted, that is if you do not have to encrypt each and every user transaction. In this way you will be able to successfully implement authentication and authorization on your web application without significantly impacting performance.
J2EE based web application can use container provided features to protect only certain pages of the application with SSL and leave the rest unencrypted. This is done by placing a security constraint (in the web deployment descriptor) on the specific page (login.jsp) and add a user-data-constraint to it. The user-data-constraint element contains a single required child element transport-guarantee. Assigning a value of CONFIDENTIAL to this element will enable secure transport for the selected resource. The following table shows the security constraint definition in the web deployment descriptor.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    The only problem is when other resources are protected and the login.jsp form is invoked, the URL does not changed to login.jsp, but remains with the original resource we need to protect.
    Therefore no SLL is enforced on the login page, since the URL never changes to login.jsp.

    Do you have any solution?

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