Using the MIT Kerberos GSS-API with wolfSSL on Android

Are you interested on using the GSS-API with Kerberos on Android? If so, you’ll be happy to hear about wolfSSL’s port of the MIT GSS-API library to Android platform – complete with an org.ietf.jgss (RFC 5653) compatible application programming interface, CyaSSL cryptography integration, and NDK sample application.

You may have read our previous blog entries about porting the MIT Kerberos libraries and CyaSSL embedded SSL library to the Android platform (see link in Reference section, below). With this post, we wanted to take a moment to describe current availability of the Kerberos and GSS-API libraries on Android through the native NDK framework and the Java GSS-API wrapper.

1. Java GSS-API Wrapper

The addition of a Java wrapper around the native MIT GSS-API took part in two stages – a SWIG-generated (http://www.swig.org/) Java interface, which then in turn was used as a building block for a org.ietf.jgss Java API. The individual layers are visualized in the figure below. Both the SWIG layer and the Java GSS-API layer are able to be used in a Java application to access the underlying MIT Kerberos/GSS-API libraries. The SWIG layer is more tedious to use and less standardized than the Java GSS-API layer, but is closer to the C programming API of the native MIT GSS-API. We suggest that Java developers use the org.ietf.jgss Java interface over using the SWIG layer directly. As the org.ietf.jgss interface follows RFC 5653, Java developers should be able to refer to the standard Java documentation for the org.ietf.jgss package for usage instructions and class descriptions.

Source code for this project has been released under the open source MIT license, and is currently available for download on GitHub. Both the Java Generic Security Services API wrappers (SWIG and Java GSS-API), as well as example client and server applications and build instructions are located in the kerberos-java-gssapi package, at the following GitHub URL:

http://github.com/cconlon/kerberos-java-gssapi

2. Enhanced Example Code

Included in the Java GSS-API package, we have created several example applications to help developers understand how to use this project in their own application. There are two sets of client and server examples provided. The first one is a set of client and server applications which directly use the SWIG-generated Java interface. The second set of applications is a client and server that use the more standardized Java GSS-API interface (org.ietf.jgss).

It is recommended for Java developers to use the Java GSS-API examples, as they demonstrate programming and API usage which is more common in the Java programming language. Before running any of the included examples, the development machine must first have a krb5.conf file and KDC set up correctly to match the principal names used in the examples. For more details about building and running these example applications, please see the README included in the kerberos-java-gssapi package.

3. Sample NDK Application

As one of the main goals of this project was to bring MIT Kerberos/GSS-API support to the Android platform, we have created a sample Android NDK application to serve as an example and reference to Android developers. This sample application provides a GUI wrapper around the MIT Kerberos kinit, klist, kvno, and kdestroy applications. It also provides a sample client using the Java GSS-API interface to connect and communicate with the example server application (from Section 2, above).

This package contains cross-compiled version of the MIT Kerberos libraries, and includes instructions on how to re-compile the Kerberos libraries yourself for the Android platform. For details on how to build and run this example application in the Android emulator, please see the README file located in the NDK application package.

All sources for this sample application are located in the kerberos-android-ndk package, located at the following URL:

http://github.com/cconlon/kerberos-android-ndk

wolfSSL looks forward to seeing what kinds of applications will use this functionality. If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, we would enjoy to hear it! Please contact us directly at info@wolfssl.com.

References:

MIT Kerberos: http://web.mit.edu/kerberos/
CyaSSL: http://wofssl.com/yaSSL/Products-cyassl.html
kerberos-java-gssapi: http://github.com/cconlon/kerberos-java-gssapi
kerberos-android-ndk: http://github.com/cconlon/kerberos-android-ndk
Initial announcement: http://yassl.com/yaSSL/Blog/Entries/2011/11/15_Android_Kerberos_Port_using_CyaSSL_Embedded_SSL.html

Thanks,
Team wolfSSL