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268334f Oct 6, 2018
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JCA Security Services on Substrate VM

This section refers to the use of the services provided by the Java Cryptography Architecture (JCA) framework. The JCA framework relies on reflection to achieve algorithm independence and extensibility, therefore it requires a custom configuration on Substrate VM. Additionally, seed generators that use system files like /dev/random or /dev/urandom need to be re-initialized at runtime.

By default a native image is built with support for the SecureRandom and MessageDigest engines from the SUN provider. These are core security services needed by the VM itself. All the other Java security services (Signature, Cipher, Mac, KeyPair, KeyGenerator, KeyFactory, KeyStore, etc.) must be enabled adding the --enable-all-security-services option to the native-image command. The reason behind enabling only core security services by default is that you can start with a basic image and add more security services as you need them. This helps keeping the overall image size small.

Note: The --enable-all-security-services option is enabled by default when https support is enabled. See the documentation on URL protocols for more details.

Provider registration

The image builder captures the list of providers and their preference order from the underlying JVM. The provider order is specified in the file under <java-home>/lib/security/ New security providers cannot be registered at run time, all providers must be statically configured during native image building.

Native implementations

Some security providers, like SunEC, are implemented in native code and accessed via JNI. When --enable-all-security-services is used then JNI support is enabled by default. If your app uses a provider implemented in a native library that library needs to be delivered together with the generated native image. For example the SunEC provider requires for its full implementation. This library is usually shipped as part of the JDK and can be found under <JAVA_HOME>/jre/lib/<platform>/ It is loaded at run time via System.loadLibrary("sunec"), the first time services from SunEC are accessed. To use this provider's services the java.library.path system property needs to be set accordingly to point to a location that contains Note that if java.library.path is not set it defaults to the current working directory.

Alternative to --enable-all-security-services

Registering all security services doesn't come for free. The additional code increases the native image size. If your application only requires a subset of the security services you can manually register the corresponding classes for reflection and push the initialization of some seed generators to runtime. However this requires deep knowledge of the JCA architecture. We are investigating the posibility to provide a finer grain declarative configuration of security services for future releases. If you want to take on this task youreslf you can start by reading the class. This is where most of the code behind the --enable-all-security-services option is implemented.