HTTPD, SAFAPPL and protecting web resources

The HTTPD server can check a userid’s access to a RACF APPLID to enforce checks on resources.

Setting it up to give access seemed trivial, setting it up to deny access took longer.

In my VirtualHost I had

AuthType Basic
AuthBasicProvider saf
Require saf-user ADCDA
Require saf-group SYS1

This says

  • userids must have read access to the APPL profile ZZZ.
  • a request should include the userid and password as part of the request.
  • the userid must be ADCDA or in group SYS1.

If the RACF profile is not set up (or not set up properly) then access defaults to yes.

Setup the profile

setropts raclist(APPL) refresh

The NOTIFY is to notify a user(COLIN) when a user is denied access to the resource. This is useful while testing to check authentication is working. A failed attempt gave me


You do not get a message if a user does not have the right access (as you do with other resources), so the NOTIFY seems the only way of finding out there is a problem.

If I logged on with certificate, the same checks were done.

To give a user access, (actually it is better to give the user’s group access)

permit ZZZ class(APPL) ID(WEB2) access(READ)
setropts raclist(APPL) refresh

Problems with SAFAPPLID

The SAFAPPLID statement is meant to be supported in directory, virtual host, and server sections, but it only accepted it in the <Directory… section.

For example the following fails to parse

<virtualHost *:8833>


AH00526: Syntax error on line 11 of /u/mqweb3/conf/notls.conf: SAFAPPLID not allowed here

Originally I defined APPL ZZZZZZZZ, but used ZZZZZZZ (7 Z’z not 8). And the application continued to have access to HTTPD. By specifying NOTIFY(COLIN) this notified me when the request failed.


<VirtualHost …>
LogLevel debug
ErrorLog “/u/mqweb3/conf/yy.log”

I got the following in the yy.log file

pthread_security_applid_np(__CREATE_SECURITY_ENV, __USERID_IDENTITY, 5, colin, …, 0, ZZZ) returned OK

From this I can see the userid “colin”, the SAFAPPLID “ZZZ”, and the return code “OK”.

Getting HTTPD server to work with TLS on z/OS

This is one of a series of blog posts on HTTPD.

The HTTPD web server is the Apache web server ported to run on z/OS. It runs in Unix Services, and behaves like a proper z/OS program, for example it can use z/OS userids and keyrings.

One catch is that there is Apache SSL, and IBM SSL. For example SSLProtocolEnable is part of IBM SSL support, and does not exist in Apache SSL; and SSLVerifyClient exists in Apache SSL, and not in IBM SSL support.

You need to know which options you need to use. With the wrong options you will get a message like

AH00526: Syntax error on line .. of … Invalid command … , perhaps misspelled or defined by a module not included in the server configuration

This post describes how to get TLS to work with the HTTPD server.

You can use TLS to encrypt the session data, and you can use TLS to use the client certificate as authentication.

The IBM httpd TLS options are described here.

Before you start

  • You need a keyring with certificates. I won’t cover this, as it well documented. I had problems using elliptic keys with size other than 256 and 384. See here.
  • You need to select a port for the TLS sessions. The default for TLS is 443. You may wish to use another port for isolation, and ease of management and configuration.
  • I set up a self contained Virtual Host for the TLS stuff, you do not need to do this.
  • Consider putting your common TLS definitions in a file and including it where needed. For example the list of TLS Ciphers, and the keyring. If you want to change the parameters, you change it once, and restart the server.
  • You can define the SSL parameters in the main server section of the configuration, or within a virtual host. A definition within a virtual host overrides the main server definitions.

Establish a TLS session to encrypt the session data.

Set up permissions

The started task userid needs access to read the keyring. Because WEB2 is not the owner of the ring (START1 is the owner), WEB2 needs CONTROL to get access to the private key.

setropts raclist(RDATALIB) refresh


I was using keyring START1.MQRING,and the httpd server userid is WEB2.

Setup the configuration

For the z/OS SSL support you need

LoadModule ibm_ssl_module modules/

The Apache module does not exist on z/OS, so it, and the facilities it provides cannot be used.

I set up a configuration file tls.conf (and used Include conf/tls.conf in my colin.conf)

Listen 8832
<VirtualHost *:8832>

# SSLTrace
<Location /xxxx.html>


ErrorLog “/u/mqweb3/conf/tls.log”
ErrorLogFormat “[%{%X}t]![%l] %F: %E: [client %a] %M”

KeyFile /saf START1/MQRING#

# SSLVerifyClient None

SSLClientAuth optional

SSLProtocolEnable TLSv12
SSLCipherSpec TLS_AES_128_GCM_SHA256
SSLCipherSpec TLS_AES_256_GCM_SHA384

# TLS 1.3 cipher specs
# SSLCipherSpec TLS_CHACHA20_POLY1305_SHA256
SSLClientAuth none
TLS13Options ServerKeyRefresh=604800


Debugging it

You can either have an SSL VirtualHost wide trace, or a server wide SSL trace (or both)

VirtualHost wide trace

You can use SSLTrace (see above) in your virtual host and it writes it to the error log for that virtual host.

Server wide trace

I changed the environment to create a GSK trace. I added

export GSK_TRACE=0x0f
export GSK_TRACE_FILE=/u/mqweb3/conf/httpd.gsktrace

to /usr/lpp/ihsa_zos/bin/envvars .

You use the gskit command gsktrace /u/mqweb3/conf/httpd.gsktrace > gsk_out to format it.

Testing it

If the httpd server starts, try connecting to it from a web browser. Don’t for get to use https:

If you get

Internal Server Error

This means the TLS handshake worked, you just have not set up the backend application.

When I used

(matching the entry in my VirtualHost definition) I was prompted for userid and password.

Using a client certificate for authentication and identification.

You can use a certificate on a client to authenticate with the server, without having to enter a userid and password. The server needs the CA from the client to be able to authenticate the client certificate. I had problems using elliptic keys on the client with size other than 256 and 384. See here.
You need to set up the certificate in RACF to map from the certificate to a userid.

Map from certificate to userid

My certificate had DN CN=secp256r1,O=cpwebuser,C=GB.

I used the following to map it to userid ADCDA

SDNFILTER(‘CN=secp256r1.O=cpwebuser.C=GB’) –

Note: In the certificate the DN is CN=secp256r1,O=cpwebuser, in the RACF command, the comma is replace with a period CN=secp256r1.O… I get it wrong every time!

To force the client to send a certificate you need

SSLClientAuth Required

instead of SSLClientAuth none in your <VirtualHost>…</VirtualHost>.

You also need to specify SAFRunAs

<Location /xxxx.html>
AuthName colinvh
AuthType Basic
AuthBasicProvider saf
Require saf-user ADCDA
Require saf-user COLIN

The documentation said SAFRunAs can be in “directory, virtual host, server config” , I could only get it to be accepted in the location or the directory statement.

My certificate mapped to ADCDA userid, and so with this certificate I can display page xxxx.html.

SAFAPPLID didn’t work at first.

You can use SAFAPPLID you can say that a user needs access to a profile in the APPL class, for example PAYROLL. The default is OMVSAPPL.

Initially I could not get SAFAPPLID to work. This was due to a set up error. See here for more information.

AuthName didn’t work

When HTTPD prompts you for a userid and password, it is meant to display the authname as the title of the popup window, so you know which userid and password to specify. It didn’t display it for me. I could tell from the network traffic that the AuthName was sent down to the Chromium Browser as WWW-Authenticate: Basic realm=”colinvh“. I believe this is for integrity reasons – someone could change the value, and get you to enter “the wrong” credentials.

Now you’ve go it to work

You should consider

  • How many ports do you need to support.
  • Moving your TLS definitions into one configuration file, and include this where needed.
  • Removing the weak SSL cipher specs.
  • Moving to TLS 1.2 or above.


Extending the HTTPD server on z/OS

The HTTPD web server is the Apache web server ported to run on z/OS. It runs in Unix Services, and behaves like a proper z/OS program, for example it can use z/OS userids and keyrings.

The configuration is easy, it is text driven (rather than XML), can imbed other configuration files, and can substitute variables.

I found the Apache documentation was as good, but the z/OS documentation was not very good. I prefer baby steps, taking the smallest system and adding functions, rather than configure everything and be disappointed when fails to work.

This post follows on Getting started with httpd server on z/OS and describes how to configure your first web page. Other posts on HTTPD server

Baby step number 2 – extending it

My HTTPD instance directory is /u/mqweb3/ .

I like to keep any changes I make to a configuration file, in a different file, and include this file in the original file. This way, if the original file changes, I just have to add the include statement rather than “diff” the my config file with the new config file. I also like to logically group changes, so my TLS configuration are in the tls.conf file, my definitions for port 8800 are in a file 8800.conf.

In the /u/mqweb3/conf is the httpd.conf file.

I edited this, and inserted

Include conf/colin.conf

at the bottom of the file.

I created /u/mqweb3/conf/colin.conf with

LogLevel debug

ErrorLog “/u/mqweb3/conf/error.log”

LoadModule rewrite_module modules/
LoadModule authnz_saf_module modules/
LoadModule ibm_ssl_module modules/

<Location /server-status>
AuthName “Colins Page”
AuthType Basic
AuthBasicProvider saf
Require valid-user
AuthSAFExpiration “EXPIRED! oldpw/newpw/newpw”
AuthSAFReEnter “Enter new password one more time”
CharsetSourceEnc IBM-1047
CharsetDefault ISO8859-1
SetHandler server-status

The LoadModules provide the SAF support for logon

Shutdown the server (use P HTTPPCP6) – do not just cancel it – as there are several address spaces running for the server.

Restart the server (or do S httpcp,action=’restart’ ), fix any problems and try logging on to

This should prompt for userid and password, and display the status of the server. The web browsers remember the userid and password, so if you want to reuse the page it will not prompt you for the userid and password. To change to a different userid and password you will need to restart the browser.

While playing with pages and logging on, I found the curl request

curl -u colin:password -i

a good way of checking the page out, and logging on each time, as the password is not saved.

If you get

BPXP015I HFS PROGRAM /usr/lpp/ihsa_zos/bin/httpd IS NOT MARKED PROGRAM

You need to use the command

extattr +p /usr/lpp/ihsa_zos/bin/httpd

Create your a virtual host (container)

The HTTPD server can support multiple ports, and treat them as isolated environments. These are known as Virtual Hosts.

In my colin.conf I add

Include conf/vhost8831.conf

I created a file vhost8831.conf

Listen 8831
<VirtualHost *.8831>

<Location /xxxx.html>

AuthName colinvh
AuthType Basic
AuthBasicProvider saf
#Require valid-user

Require saf-user COLIN JOE

# CharsetSourceEnc IBM-1047
# CharsetDefault ISO8859-1
# SetHandler server-status

<Directory “/u/mweb3/htdocs”>
Require saf-user COLIN JOE
# Require saf-group SYS1

DocumentRoot “/u/mqweb3/htdocs”
#DirectoryIndex index_ihs.html

ErrorLog “/u/mqweb3/conf/zz.log”
ErrorLogFormat “[%t] [%l] %F: %E: [client %a] %M”


Only userids COLIN and JOE are authorised to this ( service).

Restart the server

If you are authorised to use this service you will get

The requested URL was not found on this server.

Because this has not been set up yet.

The DocumentRoot works with the URL to identify a file.


will look for xxxx.html in DocumentRoot so it looks for file /u/mqweb3/htdocs/xxxx.html .

Baby steps 3 – create a page.

Create a file /u/mqweb3/htdocs/xxxx.html

<html lang="en"> 
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1"> 
<title>Colin's page</title> 
<body width="778" height="556" background="images/ihs/background.gif" resize="no" scroll="no"> 
<h1>Colins header</h1> 

Retry the web browser page.

When this is displayed you get


  • The title maps to the page heading
  • The background image comes from the body

Getting started with HTTPD server on z/OS

Apache web server

The HTTPD web server is the Apache web server ported to run on z/OS. It runs in Unix Services, and behaves like a proper z/OS program, for example it can use z/OS userids and keyrings. It starts in seconds!

The configuration is easy, it is text driven (rather than XML), can imbed other configuration files, and can substitute variables.

I found the Apache documentation was very good, but the z/OS documentation was not as good. I prefer baby steps, taking the smallest system and adding functions, rather than configure everything and be disappointed when it fails to work first time.

Other posts

Getting started

I used the IBM HTTP Server – Powered by Apache Version 9 PDF document. The text below is an addition to the IBM documentation, not a replacement. I’m trying to fill the holes in the documentation.

The product comes pre-installed. Mine was in /usr/lpp/ihsa_zos/bin/httpd

You need a directory for your HTTPD instance.

You need the userid to run the server.

Program(‘/bin/sh’) home(‘/u/mqweb3/’))


When you set up the userid, it is better to use OMVS(AUTOUID .. than to give a specific numeric id, similarly use OMVS(AUTOGID… for the group.

The userid needs OMVS, PROGRAM= /bin/sh, and a home directory.

Setup the system with environment file

The /usr/lpp/ihsa_zos/bin/envvars file allows you to set up an image wide environment file. You can rename /usr/lpp/ihsa_zos/bin/envvars-std to /usr/lpp/ihsa_zos/bin/envvars

I set up this file with


Create the instance

Follow the instructions in the documentation.

cd /usr/lpp/ihsa*
umask 022
bin/install_ihs /u/mqweb3 8300

Note down the port you specified (8300) as you will need it when you try to connect to the server.

The documentation says switch to the instance directory and issue apachectl -v. This failed for me because the path and libpath were not set up. I set up the envvars file (above) and it worked.

/usr/lpp/ihs*/bin/apachectl -v

When I ran it, it produced

test: /usr/lpp/ihsa_zos/bin/apachectl 49: FSUM7351 not found
[: /usr/lpp/ihsa_zos/bin/apachectl 74: FSUM7351 not found
[: /usr/lpp/ihsa_zos/bin/apachectl 87: FSUM7351 not found
[: /usr/lpp/ihsa_zos/bin/apachectl 92: FSUM7351 not found
Server version: IBM_HTTP_Server/ (Unix) (SMP/E, 64-bit)
Server built: Jun 10 2020 16:22:51

The FSUM7351 messages are OK. For example the apachectl script has

if test -f /usr/lpp/ihsa_zos/bin/envvars; then
. /usr/lpp/ihsa_zos/bin/envvars

This checks the file exists before invoking it.

The apachectl takes the following options, so you can display the configuration, or modify the start.

-D name : define a name for use in directives
-d directory : specify an initial ServerRoot
-f file : specify an alternate ServerConfigFile
-C “directive” : process directive before reading config files
-c “directive” : process directive after reading config files
-e level : show startup errors of level (see LogLevel)
-E file : log startup errors to file
-v : show version number
-V : show compile settings
-h : list available command line options (this page)
-l : list compiled in modules
-L : list available configuration directives
-t -D DUMP_VHOSTS : show parsed vhost settings
-t -D DUMP_RUN_CFG : show parsed run settings
-S : a synonym for -t -D DUMP_VHOSTS -D DUMP_RUN_CFG
-t -D DUMP_MODULES : show all loaded modules
-M : a synonym for -t -D DUMP_MODULES
-t -D DUMP_SSL_CONFIG: show parsed SSL vhost configurations
-t -D DUMP_SSL_CIPHERS: show all known SSL ciphers
-t -D DUMP_UNIFIED_CONFIG: show configuration with all includes merged
-t -D DUMP_INCLUDES: show all included configuration files
-t : run syntax check for config files
-T : start without DocumentRoot(s) check
-X : debug mode (only one worker, do not detach)

-t -DDUMP_CONFIG is very useful as it shows what you have configured after any <If…> and after variable substitution. I use this as a standalone command to see what’s configured.

Note:I had problems using //STDENV in the started task, so I had to use the envvars file.

Create the JCL procedure

See the documentation.

// DIR='/usr/lpp/ihsa_zos',
// CONF='/u/mqweb3/conf/httpd.conf'
// PARM='SH &DIR/bin/apachectl -k &ACTION -f &CONF -DNO_DETACH ',

BPXBATCH needs REGION=0M, and at least MEMLIMIT=1236M

Define the STARTED task to RACF.


Start the started task


You cannot just type P HTTPCP. In the syslog I had

CRIHS0001I IHS S0W1 is active. 83951827 unspecified:-1.
Use jobname HTTPCP6 for console commands.

This means you have to issue P HTTPCP6 to stop it.

You can also use

s HTTPCP,action=’start’
s HTTPCP,action=’stop’

To start and stop the server.
Note: When you run these commands it checks the syntax of the configuration file, and if there is a problem, then the command is not executed. I kept wondering why my HTTPD instance was not shutting down; it was because I had a configuration error, and so the stop request was being ignored.

If it starts (there are no helpful messages saying success) try connecting a web browser to it in my case

This gave me page with links to IBM sites. If you get here – you have done the first baby step. You cannot do much with the server.

Don’t try this at home, PKI certificates.

I was trying to generate z/OS certificates which I could use to check out certificate revocation. I can do it in Linux – no problem. Getting it to work on z/OS was the challenge and I don’t think it can be done.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (‘at home’), running z/OS on the zPDT environment on Linux, I found the PKI Server environment does not support PKI for key generation on zPDT or ZD&T, because zPDT does not support ICSF TKDS.

The longer story of why it will not work.

The RACF command RACDCERT GENCERT creates a basic certificate which is suitable for many uses. It does not support the extensions, such as specifying a URI for OCSP checking of the certificate.
The PKI product has these capabilities, and together with ICSF it can store the keys in the ICSF data sets. This product seems complex to set up (two web servers), and a GUI interface instead of a command interface.

There is an API, the RACF callable services R_PKISERV, which allows you to issue API requests to administer certificate.
You can use a SAF interface and pass in a public certificate, certificate request, or use PKI to generate a full certificate with all of the optional fields etc, and do full life cycle management with it.

I could not get this to work, and when I started the PKI SERVER, it reported


This in turn pointed me to ICSF and the TKDS (Token Key Data Set), not being set up – it needed a master key. You enter this master key on a TKE (Trusted Key Entry) workstation which sits inside the z hardware. I was running on zPDT, and following the trail, the zPDT documentation said PKCS#11 (Token Key Data Set) is not available with zPDT. This means it looks like I cannot create certificates which support OCSP on my z/OS.

How to delete a RACF group

It only took me 30 minutes to do so!

I was creating some RACF definitions for a product, and being a good citizen,I wanted to have a script which cleans up after me, and deletes anything I defined. This all worked fine, except for trying to delete a RACF group. For example

DELGROUP  PKIGRP3                            
IKJ56702I INVALID GROUP, PKIGRP3            
ADDGROUP PKIGRP3                            

Hmm the message is not helpful – PKIGRP3 >IS< valid.

IKJ56702I INVALID invalid data
Explanation: The user entered invalid data.

I had a mini project to find out why it was not being deleted. If I list the group it gives

LG PKIGRP3                                                                                
INFORMATION FOR GROUP PKIGRP3                                                            
    SUPERIOR GROUP=SYS1         OWNER=COLIN       CREATED=21.315                          
    NO INSTALLATION DATA                                                                  
    NO MODEL DATA SET                                                                    
    NO SUBGROUPS                                                                          
    USER(S)=      ACCESS=      ACCESS COUNT=      UNIVERSAL ACCESS=                      
      IBMUSER       USE           000000               NONE                              
         CONNECT ATTRIBUTES=NONE                                                          
         REVOKE DATE=NONE                 RESUME DATE=NONE                                

If I remove the userid from the group the delete group works


Easy when you know why.

Having to remove all of the users from a group before deleting the group means I cannot just have code to delete the userids I had created, and delete the groups I created. I’ve raised an RFE on this.

Using RACF ids in LDAP

I stumbled across this useful way of defining userids to LDAP.

In your LDAP configuration file, define the SDBM database

database sdbm GLDBSD31/GLDBSD64
suffix o=myracf

This says for all Distinguished Names (DN) ending in o=myracf, then go to the RACF (SAF) database.

If my DN is RACFID=COLIN,PROFILETYPE=user,o=myracf it will use this. I do not need to set up a special DN in LDAP.

I used

ldapsearch -h -D “RACFID=colin,PROFILETYPE=user,o=myracf” -w ? -b “o=myracf” “(objectClass=*)”

To list all the userids and groups in RACF.

For those IDs which map to a SAF userid, for example

  • defined in LDAP with the attribute ibm-nativeId:
  • using a SAF userid directly RACFID=COLIN,PROFILETYPE=user,o=myracf,
  • via a certificate and RACDCERT MAP

that userid is used to issue the command. For example userid COLIN is a member of group SYS1, and can display information from commands like TSO LU ANOTHER.

Another ID with no special authority returned no data from the ldapsearch command above.

The SDBM backend is virtual directory and is mostly read-only, so the update operations are usually not allowed. RACF configuration is used to restrict a user’s authority to SDBM  and ACLs are not used.
SDBM only supports RACF user IDs or user IDs with RACF mappings, so a user must map to a SAF user to be able to query the RACF data in the SDMB database.

Possible queries

This table gives some LDAP queries.

  • -b “o=myracf” “(objectclass=*)” list all users groups etc
  • b “profiletype=User,o=myracf” “(objectclass=*)” list all users
  • -b “profiletype=Group,o=myracf” “(objectclass=*)” list all users
  • -b “profiletype=Connect,o=myracf” “(objectclass=*)” list all user and group connections
  • -b “racfid=colin,profiletype=user,o=myracf” “(objectclass=*)” list everything about racfid COLIN
  • -b “cn=setropts,o=myracf” “(objectclass=*)” did not work for me
  • -b “profiletype=facility,o=myracf” “(objectclass=*)” did not work for me

Can you send a secret to Mars?

I’ve been reading a book on cryptography, and playing with encryption of data between two sites, and these got me thinking about the history of cryptography.

Hundreds of years ago cryptography was used to send state secrets. With a lot of data, experts could crack and read your correspondence. You could have a “one time pad” where you used a key just once, which helped. The biggest problem was key distribution. In theory you could send the keys (or the pad of keys) through the post, but if people are intercepting and reading your mail – they get to see the keys!

With computers and mathematicians, sending keys to someone has got easier. It is harder to break, but not impossible.

I saw a document recently which said send your key on paper, in an envelope, by courier and not over the network. If people can read documents wrapped in jars from 2000 years ago in a CAT scanner – reading through an envelope should be easy. Also, there may be no rocket going to Mars to take your letter.

There are two common techniques used today for two ends to get a common secret: RSA and Diffie-Hellman


With RSA you have a private key (which only you has access to) and a public key – which every one can have access to. If you want to send me some data then you encrypt it with my public key and send the data to me. I use my private key and can then decrypt it.

Is this good enough ?

If you can afford to send someone to Mars, you can afford to have a team of programmers to create every possible private-public key combination and have a look up – if the public key is x then the private key is X. If you advertise a public key then some people can decrypt your message. If we do not advertise which private/public key to use then it makes it harder. But how do we negotiate in secret which private/public key to use?


From a mathematical perspective I found this is much more interesting. We want to communicate to get a secret key, knowing that people can monitor the network and see what we are sending.

It relies on some number theory properties

  • (x **a ) **b = (x**b) **a for example (a**2) **3 = (a* a*) * (a* a) * (a*a) = (a * a * a) * ( a * a * a) = (a**3) **2
  • modular arithmetic x mod y is the remainder if you divide x by y. 17 mod 5 is 2
  • combining these (x ** a) mod y = (x mod y ) **a mod y. x**a could have hundreds or millions of digits. “x mod y” is less than y, so may fit in 64 bit integers.
  • We agree two numbers x and y, which the spy can snoop. I think of a big number a, you think of a big number b.
  • I calculate (x **a) mod y = X and send it to you. You take X and calculate X ** b mod y.
  • You calculate x **b mod y = Y and send it to me. I take Y and calculate Y**a mod y
  • The two numbers are the same, and we can use it as our secret key. The secret agent who does not know a or b cannot calculate the secret.

The secret agents listening on the connection do not know which values of a and b we used, and there could be an infinite number of ‘a’s which all give the same value of (x **a) mod y. Typically people use a and b with thousands of digits.

If you have an x with thousands of digits, and an a with thousands of digits x **a will have millions of digits so you have to have special routines to do the calculations. Fortunately the mod y calculation reduces the size down to a more manageable number – with only thousands of digits.

Who said mathematics was boring?

Is this good enough ?

If you use small numbers then it is easy to crack. Today’s thinking is using more than 2048 bits will be hard to crack.

Whoops I left my private key unprotected.

I had set up my certificates and private key so I could use them to work with a web server on z/OS. I set them up on Linux and copied them to z/OS. My tests all worked. It wasn’t till this morning when I thought, those test should have failed.

With Python and the requests package you can send REST requests to a backend server, using digital certificates for authentication. You configure which private key to use, but you are unable to specify the password for the private key. As this worked, there must be no password on the key file – whoops.

This is a bit like leaving your front door unlocked with a note “If we are not here, please come in and make yourself at home”.

To generate a private key I had used

openssl ecparam -name prime256v1 -genkey -noout -out $name.key.pem

but there is no way of specifying a password. With hindsight it was obvious there was no password protection.

I had to use

openssl ecparam -name prime256v1 -genkey -noout | openssl ec -out $name.key.pem -passout file:password.file

Where the first part of the command generated a private key, and wrote it to the output stream. The second part does nothing with the data, but wrote it to the output file using the password in password.file.

When I used this private key, the python requests failed because it needed a password!

I should have remembered

I remember helping with some security testing many years ago.

  • Userid1 was able to use resource1, good, that worked
  • Userid2 was able to use resource2, good, that worked
  • Userid1 was able to use resource2, good ,that worked – hang on… that should have failed.

The person customising security had missed one configuration step, so all users had access to all resources, and the test plan did not have any negative testing.

Understanding display authrec match(…) on midrange.

I found the documentation for the display authrec match(…) command hard to understand. There are ambiguous backward references (the profile … which profile?), too many ‘and’s, and I think some ‘or’s are missing. Below is how I interpret it.

  • Match exact: Select the record where the specified profile name specified is an exact match for a setmqauth record
  • Match profile: Display the setmqaut records which would be used to compute permissions, for the specified profile, and (specified userid or specified group).
  • Match membership:
    • For the specified userid do Match: profile() for the userid
    • For each group the specified userid is in, do Match: profile() for that group

I see the processing is in two stages

  1. Stage 1 extract the autrecs for the specified profile name
  2. Stage 2 filter the list using the specified userid or group.

Stage 1: extract the authrecs matching the specified profile name.

For match exact

Select the record where the specified profile name specified is an exact match for a setmqauth record. Profile(‘CP.**.99’) will match only ‘CP.**.99’.

For match profile and membership

If the specified profile has a generic then treat this as match(exact).

If the specified profile has no generics then extract all records which would apply when checking this profile.

For example for queue CP.AA.BB.99 might return

  • profile CP.AA.BB.99 (entity colinpaice) – this userid created the queue
  • profile CP.AA.BB.99 (entity mqm) – this entry is create when the queue is created
  • profile CP.**.99 (entity testuser) – this was done via setmqaut – not selected because less specific generic profile
  • profile CP.*.BB.99 (entity testuser) – this was done via setmqaut.

Stage 2. Filter the records depending on the specified userid or group.

Take the set of records from stage 1 and filter them. You can specify the principal (userid) or group. Note: If your qm.ini has SecurityPolicy=group then even if you have specified you setmqauth with a userid, it will use a group instead. This may mean that displaying a userid may give no results.

Match exact

Compare the specified entity and entity type with those in the the records. If they match display the record.

Match profile

Compare the specified entity, and entity type with those in the the records. If they match display the record.

Match membership

Compare the specified entity, and entity type with those in the the records. If they match display the record.

If the entity type in the record is group, and the specified userid is a member of the group then display it.


Match(profile) principal()

dis authrec profile(CP.AA.99) objtype(queue) match(profile)   principal('testuser')
AMQ8459I: Not found.    

There is no profile defined for the userid ‘testuser’

Match(profile) group()

dis authrec profile(CP.AA.99) objtype(queue) match(profile)   group('testuser')
   PROFILE(CP.*.99)                        ENTITY(testuser)  

There was a setmqauth -m -n “CP.*.99” -t queue -p testuser +get . Because of the qm.ini setting, and userid authorisations were converted to group authorisations. On some Unix systems, when a userid is created, it creates a group with the same name, and connects the userid to the group.

dis authrec profile(CP.AA.99) objtype(queue) match(profile)   group('test') 
AMQ8864I: Display authority record details.

All members of group test, have Display and Inquire permissions on any queue.

Match(membership) principal()

dis authrec profile(CP.AA.99) objtype(queue) match(membership) principal('testuser')
AMQ8864I: Display authority record details.
   PROFILE(CP.*.99)                        ENTITY(testuser)
AMQ8864I: Display authority record details.
   PROFILE(**)                             ENTITY(test)  

The display match(membership) combines all of the above. Any specific records, plus records for any group testuser is in.

Match(membership) group()

dis authrec profile(CP.AA.99) objtype(queue) match(membership) group('testuser')
AMQ8864I: Display authority record details.
   PROFILE(CP.*.99)                        ENTITY(testuser)

Because the group is specified, then this acts the same as match(profile) group(‘testuser’).

Match(profile) no group nor principal

dis authrec profile(CP.AA.99) objtype(queue) match(profile)   
AMQ8864I: Display authority record details.
   PROFILE(CP.AA.99)                       ENTITY(colinpaice)
AMQ8864I: Display authority record details.
   PROFILE(CP.AA.99)                       ENTITY(mqm)
AMQ8864I: Display authority record details.
   PROFILE(CP.*.99)                        ENTITY(testuser)
AMQ8864I: Display authority record details.
   PROFILE(CP.**.99)                       ENTITY(testuser)
AMQ8864I: Display authority record details.
   PROFILE(**)                             ENTITY(test)

No userids or groups were specified, so all relevant autrecs for the profile CP.AA.99 are displayed.

Observation: There is a profile for PROFILE(CP.**.99) ENTITY(testuser) which does not show up when dis authrec profile(CP.AA.99) objtype(queue) match(membership) principal(‘testuser’) is used.

This is because with generic profiles, only the most specific generic profile is used, see Profile Priorities.