Scala Frameworks/Play

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Play Framework

The Playframework has excellent documentation on many topics, however when it touches security, this section is quite limited regarding how to do secure implementations. Documentation refers to the latest version.For more information please check:

The following sections contain some important security aspects to be considered while implementing certain configurations and features.

Sensitive information in Configuration Files

Every Scala project will contain configuration files that can contain sensitive information such as:

  • Passwords in clear text
  • Path to Keystores
  • Passwords from Keystores

Programers should avoid configuring clear text passwords in Application.conf files, for that purpose, encryption is necessary

Configuration Keystore

At some point, especially for projects requiring secure communications (HTTPS), the implementation and use of Keystore is required. The Playframework provides some examples of implementing this unfortunately, there is no further information on how to create this information securely. The developer must also keep in mind that the default configuration is quite insecure and certificates generated are self-signed, becoming unsuitable for real applications.

Developers should revise the following configuration information:

play.server.https.keyStore.path - The path to the keystore containing the private key and certificate, if not provided generates a keystore for you

Security issue: Keys must be secure guarded, allowing the 'generated' one, can allow an attacker obtain such information if code is compromised

More information refer to: Cryptographic Storage Cheat Sheet#Rule - Protect keys in a key vault

play.server.https.keyStore.password - The password, defaults to a blank password

Security issue: Blank passwords are a 'no-go', therefore, it is essential to change this information. Again, do not create a 'clear-text' passwords, but make sure you use an environment variable for this purpose, or encrypt properly if you place one in the configuration file

play.server.https.keyStore.algorithm - The key store algorithm, defaults to the platforms default algorithm

Security issue: Developer should check what is the 'defaults' being used and make sure the algorithm in question is secure as recommended by NIST guidelines

Encryption Keystore Password

Using Environment in configuration files instead of clear text passwords, example


Following best practices, if you need to store a password, make sure that

  • It's hashed
  • Use salt
  • Implement a slow algorithm against brute force such as Bcrypt The following example uses Bcrypt library for this purpose
def PasswordHash( name:String, pwd:String, version:Int = 1 ) : String = {   if( version == 2 && false )                                                               {     // ANY CHANGES SHOULD BE MADE AS A NEW VERSION AND ADDED HERE     ""   }                                                                                    else   {     import org.mindrot.jbcrypt.BCrypt      // jbcrypt-0.3m.jar                                                                                             // Salt will be incorporated in the password hash                                                                                                                    val salt = BCrypt.gensalt(12) // Default is 10, or 2**10 rounds.  More rounds is slower.                                                                    BCrypt.hashpw( (name + pwd), salt )   } }                                                                                                                           def VerifyPassword( name:String, pwd:String, hash:String, version:Int = 1 ) : Boolean = {   if( version == 1 )                                                       {     import org.mindrot.jbcrypt.BCrypt                                                                                                                              // jbcrypt-0.3m.jar                                                                                                                                         BCrypt.checkpw( (name + pwd), hash )   }                                                                                                                             else                                                                                                                                                                false }

Enabling SSL in Production

Play recommends to use the latest JDK , at the moment of writing is 1.8, which provides a number of new features that make JSSE feasible as a TLS termination layer.

Security Features

The Play framework contains some essential security features, the following is a guide map to them. This is valid for version 2.6.x

Extending Security

There are different frameworks supporting Play with granular security features. For more information, please check the Scala Security Frameworks