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Jini Security
A Conversation with Bob Scheifler, Part I
by Bill Venners
July 8, 2002

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Bob Scheifler talks with Bill Venners about the big picture of Jini Security.

Many potential applications of Jini require network security. Although various third parties have made proprietary security extensions to Jini, until now the only security available to users of the standard Jini release is the security infrastructure of the Java platform. The Jini Community's Davis project is about to change that. Bob Scheifler is leading the development of the next release of Jini, in which security is the central concern, as part of the Davis project. On Friday, April 12, 2002 Bill Venners visited the Sun Microsystems campus in Burlington, Massachusettes and interviewed Bob Scheifler, Sun Distinguished Engineer and architect in the Jini Group. In this first installment of the interview, Scheifler discusses the need for security in Jini and the special security considerations of dynamically downloaded code.

Bill Venners: What is the need for security in Jini? What problem you are trying to solve?

Bob Scheifler: The basic problem is to fill in the blanks from what the Java platform provides for security today. If you look at the Java platform, it has built-in security mechanisms for protection against code running in your VM. But Java, RMI, and Jini don't have any standardized concepts for security as they apply to network communication.

If I am a Jini client, and I talk to you as a Jini service, there are standard notions of network security that should come into play. The basic notions of network security, authentication, confidentially, and integrity are not new with Jini. These are standard network security concepts. And Jini, since it uses the network, ought to have some way of supporting those standard concepts.

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