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Irean Garland

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since Aug 07, 2008
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Recent posts by Irean Garland

Hello guys,

Of several JSF applications I support, only one does this: the files are in fact jsp but the requests to the server must be done with the jsf extension.

This wasn't a problem until recently when I was asked to add login audit functionality, I realized j_username and j_password were always received as null by the access management filter. Seems they knew about this because worked around it by getting the user name from getRemoteUser().

Problem is getRemoteUser() will be null if the authentication fails, and in this case I simply can't get the provided user name to log an audit record.

It actually took me a while to realize that this was happening because the server login page is set to 'login.jsf' instead of 'login.jsp', the filter won't get the values unless the login page name matches the real file name.

So what I have to do, while having no idea of how, is to change the application so it behaves like the others and stops handling the jsps as jsfs for the web browser.

Thanks for reading/helping.
10 years ago
Hi, I will try to explain to my best.

The reason why I have to keep a DB for app access checks is that we don't use the Groups/Roles functionality of LDAP, no idea why but I had to adhere to the standards.

I didn't know there was this netscape API, I will check it out just in case. Same goes for JAAS. Honestly I have little experience on enterprise environments, I was hired on a "don't worry you'll get it on the go" basis.

Oh, I am not trying to mess with 'j_security_check' calls. What I meant is it has to be named 'j_security_check' for Websphere to see it and know it has to intercept it for LDAP authentication. I wonder if actually Websphere uses JAAS in the backstage, since I saw a few login context exceptions once, when a firewall was messing up the communication with LDAP.

Now, to explain what I did:

Previously this application was not using LDAP, it authenticated users based on a custom DB user/pass, roles were kept in the database too.

My job is to get it to authenticate users with LDAP, user records and role information are still kept in the app DB since we don't use the Groups/Roles functionality of LDAP.

This app is Struts based so I first tried to use a Struts action mapped to 'j_security_check', this failed since the form action must be named exactly 'j_security_check' and that won't do with actions.

So next try was a filter triggered by 'j_security_check' URL, this would do almost the same as the action class the app used previously, check the app DB to see if the userName was registered for the app, if so, grab it and populate session variables with general access and role information which every page in the application verifies when called.

So, when the user was not on the app database, I would simply redirect to the noAccess.jsp page and not even call the LDAP check, if the user was in the app DB but failed the LDAP authentication then Websphere would redirect him to the noAccess.jsp page.

The problem was, if he was in the app DB and also ok LDAP I would have to redirect him to home.jsp, but after calling doFilter to trigger the LDAP check I couldn't issue a redirect anymore.

So what I did was simply change the welcome page for the application to home.jsp, this way upon a successful LDAP authentication (only called if the user was in the app DB) the user would be redirected there.

It was so simple I wanted to for spending hours trying to fix it in code.

Hope this makes things clear.
11 years ago
Well after a good night of sleep I figured out how to do this and it was crazy simple:

-Changed the Websphere welcome page to home.jsp, which is the page that should show upon a successful login both from LDAP and the app access database.
-Changed the filter (triggered when submitting the login form) to only handle the app DB access checks and set session variables acordingly, no redirect duties.

This works thanks to the fact that Websphere will re-redirect to the requested URL by itself after a successful login, if no specific URL is requested it will redirect to the welcome page after a successful login.

So this solved the only thing I couldn't do: redirect when LDAP login was successful. And since all the pages in the app have a session variable based access check routine at the start, I didn't have to change anything at all.

11 years ago
I am pretty sure I gave my name when I signed up, not sure what happened but should be OK now.

11 years ago
Hello, I just stumbled upon the ranch and I am glad I did.

Well the reason I was searching the internets like mad for a few hours is this:

I need to integrate an old application into my employers standard LDAP authentication, using Struts, running on Websphere, replacing the old custom application-database login mechanism.

The way login was achieved was by having the login form action pointing to a Struts action which would then do the DB work and grant (or deny) access thru session variables.

Now, since LDAP login form must be called exactly 'j_security_check' for WAS to intercept it for LDAP authentication, keeping the Struts login action was out of the question (since actions must start with '/').

We decided the simplest way would be to retool the LoginAction class into a Servlet Filter, triggered by the 'j_security_check' URL. Sounded too easy to be true I know.

First thing I found out is, in order for the LDAP validation to go on, chain.doFilter(req, resp) must be called.

Second: The LDAP validation will print a message to the console, if the LDAP validation fails and that's it, no way to know it from the code. Well I was toying with the idea of hijacking the output stream to catch the 'LDAP authentication failed' message but that's just wrong and a huge security hole...

Third: Even if LDAP validation fails, it means nothing to doFilter, it will return to the next line.

At this point I thought it would simply be ugly but functional to ignore the LDAP authentication results and simply redirect to whatever page it was requested. If LDAP was ok it would show it, if not it would simply deny it and redirect back to the login page.


Turns out doing a doFilter call commits the response, making redirecting afterwards impossible.

So I guess that's it, after spending most of the afternoon reading on it I think I understand the problem and why it won't let me redirect, and I come asking you guys for even a hint of a work around this issue that can help me avoid meetings, paperwork and losing face.

Thanks in advance for reading/helping.
11 years ago