Java Security, Second Edition Scott Oaks

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Normally when the need for the bytecode verifier is discussed, it's in terms of an evil compiler −− that is, a compiler that someone has written in such a way that the code produced by the compiler is not legal Java code. The theory is that code from such a compiler could be constructed in order to create and exploit a security hole by ignoring a rule in the Java language. Such an attack might seem to be difficult to achieve in that it would require some detailed knowledge of the Java compiler.

We then have two class files and the Test class file contains Java code that illegally accesses the private instance variable acctNo of the CreditCard class. The above example shows an innocent mistake, but a malicious programmer could use just this technique to produce illegal Java bytecodes. In order to modify the contents of a string, for example, all we need to do is: 1. String source file into our classpath. 2. In the copy of the file, modify the definition of value −− the private array that holds the actual characters of the string −− to be public.

However, advanced applications are allowed to grant additional permissions to code that they load, and standard Java class loaders grant some additional permissions to every class that they load. Classes that are loaded from the filesystem are always granted permission to read files in the directory hierarchy from which they were loaded. Classes that are loaded via HTTP are always granted permission to establish a connection back to the host from which they were loaded; they are also granted permission to accept a connection from that host.

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