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CHAPTER 8 SECURING YOUR APPLICATIONS
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Like HTTP some other types of network connections such as Bluetooth and plain sockets offer , secure versions. In the case of Bluetooth, again the work is done for you behind the scenes. Authenticating the other party and optionally also encrypting the data transmissions is merely a question of changing some of the connection parameters as long as the device supports authentication and encryption. However, unless your application is transferring billing interactions or other security-critical data through Bluetooth, it generally isn t worth the bother. Connecting to another player in a multiplayer game isn t terribly security critical since the players can tell if they ve correctly connected to one another. In the case of plain sockets, switching a MIDP client program from using a SocketConnection to using a SecureConnection (in other words, switching from using a plain socket to using SSL) is almost as trivial as switching from HTTP to HTTPS. In fact, just as with HTTP versus HTTPS, it s sufficient to just change the URL. (In this case, switch the beginning of the URL from socket:// to ssl://, and change the port number if necessary.) Even though setting the right URL is all that s required for creating a SecureConnection, you should probably also programmatically verify that the certificate that the server is using is the right one. When you create a SecureConnection, the application management software will accept any valid certificate (as long as it s from a recognized CA). This means that unless you verify the name on the certificate yourself, you still may be making an SSL connection with the wrong host even though the host has a real certificate. Checking the certificate is quite easy. To demonstrate, I ve written a simple verification method (see Listing 8-1). Listing 8-1. Verification Method /** * This takes a secure connection and makes sure that * the corresponding certificate is the right one. * @throws SecurityException if the certificate isn't * issued to the correct entity. */ private void verifyCertificate(SecureConnection conn) throws Exception { SecurityInfo info = conn.getSecurityInfo(); Certificate cert = info.getServerCertificate(); String sub = cert.getSubject(); // the subject should end with CN=DOMAIN_NAME where // DOMAIN_NAME is the name of the domain that you // expect to be communicating with. if(! sub.endsWith("CN=" + DOMAIN_NAME)) { // you'll give it one more chance in case the CN // attribute wasn't the last attribute in the list: if(sub.indexOf("CN=" + DOMAIN_NAME + ";") == -1) { // if it fails both these tests, then the certificate // isn't the right one... throw(new SecurityException("Certificate CN wrong"));
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CHAPTER 8 SECURING YOUR APPLICATIONS
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} } } To understand Listing 7-1, keep in mind that the method getSubject() (of the Certificate interface) returns the name of the certificate owner in Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) format. This means that the subject string will look something like this: C=US;O=Any Company, Inc.;CN=www.anycompany.com. The part of the subject you probably want to verify is the value of the CN attribute. This should be the URL of the site that owns the certificate. Technically it doesn t have to be, but in practice it usually is. The CN attribute should appear at the end of the subject string. That s why I used the method endsWith() to check if the CN of the certificate is right. If the end of the subject string isn t what I expected, the certificate owner is probably the wrong one. In Listing 7-1 I give the certificate a second chance to have the correct CN somewhere in it (by using the method indexOf() to determine if the correct CN is present). If you re using SSL in a commercial application, you may not want to be so lenient.
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Summary
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Java security seems to focus around protecting the device and user from your program, but ultimately it s a good thing, because that means the user won t be hesitating over worries about whether your game is untrustworthy before installing it. If the game has been approved and signed by the manufacturer or operator, it has more permissions than if it is merely identified by a Certificate Authority, and if it s not identified at all, it can still perform restricted actions (such as sending an SMS) as long as the user is aware of the action and clicks OK. Digital signatures and encryption techniques help ensure the integrity of the data as well as authenticate the source and destination of communications.
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