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Java Security Domains

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Latest revision as of 02:50, 18 November 2013

Article Metadata
Article
Created: hartti (30 Mar 2007)
Last edited: hamishwillee (18 Nov 2013)
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15 Feb
2010

Contents

[edit] Introduction

There are some restrictions for accessing certain method calls and APIs from MIDlets. In those cases it is possible that the user will either be prompted for confirmation to allow a certain method call or the access is blocked altogether, resulting a SecurityException to be thrown.

Making these prompts appear less frequently requires the developer to sign the MIDlet and the user to manually change the API access settings. Signing to the operator or manufacturer domain will remove the prompts completely, but this requires close collaboration with those parties.

[edit] Security domains

Mobile information device profile (MIDP) 2.0 specification defines four security domains to which the MIDlet can be installed:

  • Third party protection domain (untrusted 3rd party)
  • Identified third party protection domain (trusted 3rd party)
  • Operator protection domain
  • Manufacturer protection domain

[edit] API protection groups

Each of the protection domains have certain level of access to the protected (sensitive APIs). The access rights are grouped to a function groups:

  • Net access (MIDP specification also defines low-level net access, but this has been combined on many phones to the Net access function group)
  • Messaging (MIDP specification also defines restricted messaging)
  • Application auto-start
  • Local connectivity
  • Multimedia recording
  • Read user data (including files and PIM)
  • Write/Edit user data (including files and PIM)
  • Location
  • Landmark store
  • Smart card communication
  • Authentication
  • (Call control)
  • (Phone call)

The MIDlet will have access settings defined to each of the function groups above that are supported by the phone. The setting can be one of the following, defined by the security domain policy of the phone:

  • Always allow / Blanket access
  • Ask first time / Ask once per session
  • Ask every time
  • Not allowed

[edit] API access definitions in Java ME standards

Java specifications include a number of versions for the available API access rights (Note that it is possible that there might not be a device available which would support the API access rights exactly the way they are defined in the specification!)

NOTE: The MIDP specification defines that even a trusted 3rd party MIDlet cannot have networking and auto-start permissions simultaneously as Always Allowed!

A MIDlet which has not been signed will be placed in the untrusted domain, which has most restrictions for accessing certain APIs. If the MIDlet has been signed and the corresponding certificate is stored in the certificate store of the phone, the MIDlet will be placed in the protection domain to which the certificate has been tied to (there are some complex checks which are done at the installation time, please see the MIDP 2 specification for more info).

[edit] Certificates to sign to a trusted 3rd party domain

If your application passes Java Verified testing, it will be signed with UTI root certificate, which will place your MIDlet to the trusted 3rd party domain. Other common certificates that place your MIDlet to the trusted 3rd party domain are available from:

Note that there are differences between different phone models on which certificates are installed on the phones. Additionally, the same phone model may have a different set of certificates depending on which region it was sold in. Operator variants of the phones can also have additional changes in the certificate availability.

Also note that the MIDP specification does not allow new certificates to be added on the phones to allow signing to the trusted 3rd party domain. This is, however, possible on S60 2nd Edition devices due to Archived:Signing certificates for MIDlets (Known Issue) implementation (instructions). Some operators have also implemented so-called developer certificates for their devices (Sprint and China Unicom). Consequently, make sure to check the available code-signing CA-certificates (or check this posting).

[edit] Security Domain policies some carriers that deviate from the standard

As the MIDP spec security domain policy is just a recommendation, some operators have defined their own security domains and API access rights. These include:

[edit] Security domain information from other manufacturers than Nokia

Note: Motorola handsets do not support Thawte or VeriSign Certificates, only Motorola certs and JavaVerified [1]

[edit] API access settings on real phones

Generic phones also have different versions of the API access rights implemented:

It is not possible to change the default settings available on the phone, but after MIDlet installation it is possible to change the API access settings from the default to the the available ones (not all options are available to untrusted MIDlets).

[edit] References

This page was last modified on 18 November 2013, at 02:50.
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