TCAT-AS-000800 - Tomcat servers must mutually authenticate proxy or load balancer connections.


Tomcat servers are often placed behind a proxy when exposed to both trusted and untrusted networks. This is done for security and performance reasons. Tomcat does provide an HTTP server that can be configured to make hosted applications available to clients directly. However, this HTTP server has performance limitations and is not intended to be used on an enterprise scale. Exposing this service to untrusted networks also violates the layered security model and creates elevated risk of attack. To address these issues, a proxy or load balancer can be placed in front of the Tomcat server. To ensure the proxied connection is not spoofed, SSL mutual authentication must be employed between Tomcat and the proxy.

Not all Tomcat systems will have an RMF system categorization that warrants mutual authentication protections. The site must determine if mutual authentication is warranted based on their system RMF categorization and data protection requirements. If the site determines that MA is not a requirement, they can document a risk acceptance for not mutually authenticating proxy or load balancer connections due to operational issues, or when the RMF system categorization does not warrant the added level of protection.

NOTE: Nessus has not performed this check. Please review the benchmark to ensure target compliance.


From the Tomcat server as a privileged user, edit the $CATALINA_BASE/conf/server.xml file.

Modify each <Connector> element where the IP address is behind a proxy or load balancer.

Set clientAuth='true' then identify the applications that are associated with the connector and edit the associated web.xml files. Assure the <auth-method> is set to CLIENT-CERT.

See Also

Item Details


References: 800-53|SC-23, CAT|II, CCI|CCI-001184, Rule-ID|SV-222971r879636_rule, STIG-ID|TCAT-AS-000800, STIG-Legacy|SV-111465, STIG-Legacy|V-102525, Vuln-ID|V-222971

Plugin: Unix

Control ID: 34e59d2cd8f387a081515a56287236d05c7548f2b7eb00eef93f7a74f54d92b3