Generic Security Services Application Program Interface

Generic Security Services Application Program Interface

Generic Security Services Application Program Interface

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The Generic Security Services Application Program Interface (GSSAPI, also GSS-API) is an application programming interface for programs to access security services.

The GSSAPI is an IETF standard that addresses the problem of many similar but incompatible security services in use today.

How it works

The GSSAPI, by itself, does not provide any security.Instead, security service vendors provide GSSAPI implementations usually in the form of libraries installed with their security software.These libraries present a GSSAPI-compatible interface to application writers who can write their application to use only the vendor-independent GSSAPI.If the security implementation ever needs replacing, the application need not be rewritten.

The definitive feature of GSSAPI applications is the exchange of opaque messages (tokens)that hide the implementation detail from the higher level application.The client and server sides of the application are written to convey the tokens given to them bytheir respective GSSAPI implementations.GSSAPI tokens can usually be sent over an insecure network as the mechanisms provide inherent message security.After some number of tokens have been exchanged, the GSSAPI implementations at both ends inform their local application that a security context has been established.

Once a security context is established, sensitive application messages can be wrapped (encrypted) by the GSSAPI for secure communication between client and server.Typical protections...
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