diverman asks: "It is very common for web applications (be them Java, Perl, PHP, .NET, or shell script) to need knowledge about credentials to access another resource. Perhaps it's a relational database login, an FTP account for transferring files, or maybe a authentication credentials to another web service. Whatever it is, most developers have likely had to write a program that needs to keep a password for later use. The big issue now is: where do you put them?"
"Having passwords sitting around in clear-text isn't the wisest of ideas, and is against most security 'best practice' guidelines. Some apps and servers have chosen to base64 encode it (I believe WebSphere does this), and that's about as safe as clear-text. What I've been trying to find is a mechanism that behaves like how Apache loads properly signed SSL certs, that require a password when starting up the web server. The password could be used to decrypt a key-store for various application/resource credentials, and then make them available. Exact implementation isn't the question, as much as ANYTHING that does this at all. Are there any Apache modules that can place authentication information in ENV variables for executed apps, after decrypting them on server startup? Are there ways to have Java containers do something similar? It seems like this is something that is a very common problem, but not a very common question, with an even less common solution."