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Some tools use cleartext passwords, which can pose a security risk. The security risk is even greater if you use LDAP or other external authentication, since you expose your SSO password in cleartext and that password is likely to be used for other services.

For example, Maven uses cleartext passwords in the settings.xml file by default.

Using Maven's built-in support for encrypted passwords and generating passwords on the client side does not overcome the security risks for the following reasons:

  1. The login password is decrypted on the client side and ends up as cleartext in memory, and then transmitted over the wire (unless forcing SSL too).
  2. The master password used for decryption is stored in clear text on the file system.
  3. Password encryption is left to the good will of the end-user and there is no way to centrally mandate it.

A unique solution is provided for this problem by generating encrypted passwords for users based on secret keys stored in the system. You can ensure users' shared passwords are never stored or transmitted as clear text.

Page Contents

You can set a central policy for using or accepting encrypted passwords in the Administration module under Security | Settings by setting the Password Encryption Policy field.

The behavior according to the Password Encryption Policy setting is as follows:

The system can receive requests with encrypted password (default).
The system requires an encrypted password for every authenticated request.
The system rejects requests with encrypted password.

Using Your Secure Password

To secure your password:

  1. Open your profile page (click on your login name on the upper-right corner), type-in your password in the Current Password field and click Unlock.
  2. Once your profile is unlocked, click the corresponding icons next to your encrypted password to view it openly or copy it to the clipboard.

Different encryption mechanisms

The encryption mechanisms of the Oracle and IBM JDKs are not identical. Switching from one to another will make your encrypted password obsolete.

IBM JDK Encryption Restrictions

Some of the IBM JRE/JDK are shipped with a restriction on the encryption key size (mostly for countries outside the US); This restriction can be officially removed by downloading unrestricted policy files from IBM and overriding the existing ones:

  1. Register and download the unrestricted JCE policy files from the IBM website
  2. Select the correct zip that matches your JAVA version.
  3. The downloaded zip file contains 2 jar files - local_policy.jar and US_export_policy.jar. Backup the existing files in $IBM_JDK_HOME/jre/lib/security and extract the jars from the zip file to this location
  4. Restart the system.
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