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WebSphere should offer StartTLS support when connecting to LDAP server for authentication
When configuring WebSphere for LDAP authentication, if you select "use SSL", this forces WebSphere to establish an LDAPS connection with the LDAP server (port 636 by default). This is an outdated mechanism. LDAP v3 defines the StartTLS extension, which allows an unencrypted LDAP connection to be made (port 389 by default), and that connection can then be "upgraded" to TLS encryption. To get this to work, the LDAP server must support the extension (OpenLDAP and IBM Tivoli Directory Server both have for some time) AND the client connecting to the server must request the TLS "upgrade" after the initial connection is made. It would be nice if WebSphere included this facility in its LDAP client.
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