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Chapter 40. Security > Executable Content and Security

Executable Content and Security

Java has changed the face of the Web from a static publishing medium to an interactive application development platform by providing executable "live" content embedded in HTML documents. This is a frightening thought to many system administrators. After all, it's bad enough that people can download software that might contain viruses that could damage their machines. How can the network stay secure with programs coming in and running on the host machines all on their own? Malicious code such as the "LoveBug" virus has made us all wonder, what is to keep somebody from reading sensitive data, wiping out hard drives, setting up back doors to the network, or something worse? Fortunately, the folks at Sun gave this matter some thought and designed Java with security in mind from the ground up, starting with the language and continuing on through the compiler, compiled code, and runtime environment.

To understand Java's preventative measures, this chapter starts by reviewing the special security concerns that apply to interactive content. Then it covers the types of attacks that unscrupulous programmers attempt and the kinds of security issues that relate to a well-intentioned but poorly written program. You'll also learn about the security features of the Java language, the Java compiler, and the Java Virtual Machine. Finally, you'll hear about the remaining open issues related to Java security and what you can (and can't) do about them, as well as the Security API implemented in Java 2.


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