Is Java a secure programming language

Java programs are not as vulnerable as you might think at first glance.

Java security is a generic term that encompasses a variety of features and services in the Java programming language and runtime.  From the point of view of a programmer or network security engineer, there are three categories of security tools provided by the language and working environment of the java outsourcing company – Dataxdev:

Means that enhance the program’s ability to protect its access rights from damage caused by hostile codes or a hostile work environment.  In other words, they are tools that allow you to write safe programs.

Means that restrict the access rights of the program.  These are tools that enable programs to run safely.

Tools that provide additional security services.

The Java developers have created a programming system that is strong in some respects but weak in others.

Table of Contents

Developing a secure program

Prior to the advent of the Java language, developing a secure program was usually limited to writing a privileged program that was resistant to malicious attempts to use its access rights.  A privileged program is a program that interacts with other programs that do not have the same access rights.  These programs include primarily network services, SUID / SGID programs, and network clients.  Attacks on these programs are usually the result of software defects, although software configuration errors or improper programming can also cause them.  Common attacks of this kind include buffer overflow attacks, file conflict attacks, and input validation attacks.

Based on the ultimate probability that a programmer can introduce bugs into the software, which cybercriminals subsequently exploit for their own purposes, then the programming language can, to a greater or lesser extent, affect the vulnerability of applications to attacks.  For example, the absence in the C language of such a first-class data type as string variables, as well as automatic control of array boundaries, contributes to the appearance of programming errors associated with the control of array boundaries, and this, in turn, makes programs written in C vulnerable to  buffer overflow attacks.

To minimize the risk of software bugs, programmers can use the Least Privilege Principle.  According to this principle, any part of the program code should be executed with the minimum access rights required for the tasks assigned to it.  This limits the number of access rights that will be captured if the program is compromised.  Moreover, a program that requires certain access privileges to run must activate them only when they are needed and disable them — when they are no longer needed.  This allows you to reduce the amount of code that works with privileges.

One of the problems that Java programmers have to deal with is that different platforms use very different concepts for granting access rights and how they are implemented.  Java’s need for cross-platform compatibility and the decision to provide an API based on the minimum number of similar capabilities supported by the platforms in use means that Java programs cannot follow the principle of the least privilege when it relates to the underlying platform.

The same problem befell Java when it comes to interoperating with other underlying platform security services.  For example, Java programs have no idea about file permissions or Access Control Lists (ACLs).  A Java program that is going to take advantage of the security and services of the underlying OS must resort to non-portable code such as Java NMI (Native Method Invocation) code.

It might be wiser to isolate security features and services that are common across a subset of supported platforms (such as ACLs for multiple users and files), provide APIs for them, and throw an appropriate error when running on platforms that do not support dedicated features, and  service.  In truth, some aspects of security architectures implemented by different platforms can be markedly different from each other, and yet they have a sufficient number of tools to satisfy the above described process of separating them into a separate subset.

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