Enabling HTTPS in the Web Application Server

HTTPS is the standard Internet protocol for secure Web transactions. The instructions in this tip explain how to switch on HTTPS in on your server. This tip is excerpted from Dr. Juergen Schneider's article "Developing and Deploying Secure Internet Applications: Security Features of the SAP Web Application Server" in the Oct/Nov/Dec 2001 issue of

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In HTTPS, HTTP protocol data is carried over the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol, an additional layer in the communication system that provides services for strong cryptographic authentication and encryption. The SSL protocol has been an Internet standard for years now, and is widely accepted among security experts as a foundation for strong security for Internet communications.

HTTPS can be easily switched on in the SAP Web Application Server. There are basically four steps for system administrators to complete:

  1. Download the SAPCRYPTOLIB program library from the SAP Service Marketplace (http://service.sap.com/ocs-download), which contains the implementation of the cryptographic algorithms used by the SSL protocol and the SSL protocol implementation itself. Add the library to your SAP Web Application Server installation (detailed installation documentation is contained in the SAPCRYPTOLIB download package).
  2. Generate an SSL cryptographic key pair (public and private keys) for your SAP Web Application Server using dialog transaction STRUST. Have the public key signed by a trust center, resulting in an X.509 server certificate for your SAP Web Application Server installation.
  3. Activate HTTPS by configuring the appropriate profile parameters and communication port, and restart the system.
  4. Change any Web links (URLs) pointing to your application from http://... to https://... as desired (the application logic itself does not need to be modified).

The positioning of your HTTPS-enabled SAP Web Application Server in your company network depends on customer requirements. You can run your application in your intranet only, behind your firewall systems, or place the SAP Web Application Server inside your Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) -- i.e., between your external and internal firewalls -- where it can be accessed from the Internet. Any access via HTTPS will be strongly authenticated, and request/response data is encrypted using one of several available strong encryption schemes as defined in the SSL protocol standard.

To read more of this article, or to subscribe to SAP Insider, visit www.SAPinsider.com.

This was first published in November 2001

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