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Java JNLP program as postgresql client using tomcat6

Posted on 2011-03-06
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I think I briefly explain my problem.

What I have is a java JNLP program that connects to a PostgreSQL backend.  A user will login using their assigned credentials.  Internally, the program knows the master (and only) DB user.  This internal DB user can query the database will check the user's entered username and password from a DB table program_users.  If this passes, then window becomes visible and allows the user to continue.  All queries in this program are also using the master DB user but the user can not run any queries unless they are authenticated.

The issue is that this requires that the DB port be open to enable the user to connect.  Is there a way to use tomcat6 like you can do with a web application and use j_security_check?  If this is possible, I would like to avoid opening a postgres port such as port 5432 and just use https port 443 or with tomcat6, use 8443.



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Question by:mock5c
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by:CEHJ
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>> If this is possible, I would like to avoid opening a postgres port such as port 5432 and just use https port 443 or with tomcat6, use 8443.

How can you query Postgres if the db is not listening on its port?
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by:mock5c
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Perhaps the tomcat6 server can connect to the db?  tomcat would be open to world and the db server could allow access from tomcat6.  Is this possible?
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by:CEHJ
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That would mean you'd have to convert http requests to postgres ones, unless you have the db access code, server-side. The latter might involve calling a servlet from your client-side (the web start app).

What exactly is the problem having the postgres port open though?
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by:mock5c
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The network security team has concerns about opening the port as likely susceptible to brute force attacks, they say.  I'm trying to see if there are alternatives.  
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by:CEHJ
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The usual way would be to access the db from the web container in a web app. This would remove any security problems. You've opted to have client-side code, which is going to complicate the issue
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by:mock5c
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Yes, the application is a web start.  It checks and verifies hundreds or thousands of files on the client machine.  If they check out OK, they user can proceed to subsequent steps.  I did not want to upload all of the files to a web server for processing prior to verifying them.  
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CEHJ earned 500 total points
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You'll probably need to divide up your code and forward database access to a dedicated servlet, so it can be done server-side
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by:objects
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you can use http tunneling if you want the connection to go though tomcat
another option would be to use ssl tunneling to go directly to the database, if its just ssl you need.
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by:CEHJ
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That's not really an example of tunneling in the real sense, as it operates at the application level. It's actually more of an example of what i discussed earlier
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by:mock5c
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If I understand you correctly, I could have servlets handle http requestions.  Once such request may be authenticate user.  Another example may be requesting a list of items to populate a combobox in the application.  The servlet would handle this and return the results that would be parsed by the client program.

Would this mean that any client could access the servet (if the url is known)?  Or would there be a way to authenticate and set up some sort of session?
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by:objects
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there are two ways, using a servlet to do the tunnelling is one. In which case you would need to secure the servlet.
the second way is you can tunnel directly to the database.
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>>Would this mean that any client could access the servet (if the url is known)?  Or would there be a way to authenticate and set up some sort of session?

If you're using the 'adapter' version that i suggested originally (where a servlet gets the request and makes a db query) then you can have the url require authentication
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by:CEHJ
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:)
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