File Name: securing web services practical usage of standards and specifications .zip
Complete spec in PDF.
It has some specification which could be used across all applications. SOAP is a protocol or in other words is a definition of how web services talk to each other or talk to client applications that invoke them. SOAP was developed as an intermediate language so that applications built on various programming languages could talk easily to each other and avoid the extreme development effort.
The topic of this article is provided in two parts. The first part covers WS-Security features, the relationship between business participants, and the mechanics of how WS-Security capabilities are implemented. Design choices and implementations that address security requirements often have an adverse impact on a solution's performance.
This is not to imply that all security technologies used in solutions result in slow performance. Rather, you should be aware that web services solutions requiring authentication of business participants, digital signature of message content, and encryption of XML data can have very different performance characteristics based on the technology or method used to secure a solution's exposed business functions and data.
The security triad covered in this article comprises: a authentication, b data integrity, and c data confidentiality. If you are not an expert on the mechanisms to address these security requirements, I briefly overview the capabilities below before diving into details of how you can implement them. Authentication is used to ensure that parties within a business transaction are really who they claim to be; thus proof of identity is required. This proof can be claimed in various ways.
One simple example is by presenting a user ID along with a secret password. A more complex example is one that uses an X. The certificate contains identity credentials and has a pair of private and public keys associated with it. The proof of identity presented by a party includes the certificate itself and a separate piece of information that is digitally signed using the certificate's private key. By validating the signed information using the public key associated with the party's certificate, the receiver can authenticate the sender as being the owner of the certificate, thereby validating their identity.
When both parties authenticate each other, this is called mutual authentication and is often done between a web service consumer and a web service provider. In order to validate the integrity of business information exchanged in a transaction ensuring that a message's content has not been altered or corrupted during its transmission over the Internet, the data can be digitally signed using security keys.
This is the second requirement of the security triad. A common practice is to use the private key of the sender's X. Similarly, SOAP header blocks in a request can also be signed to ensure the integrity of information exchanged in a transaction that is outside the scope of the actual business context for example, message IDs, security tokens. Likewise, a web services response can be digitally signed to ensure data integrity. The third requirement of the security triad is confidentiality.
Encryption technology can be used to make the information exchanged in web services requests and responses unreadable. The purpose is to ensure that anyone accessing the data in transit, in memory, or after it has been persisted, would need the appropriate algorithms and security keys to decrypt the data before being able to access the actual information.
Today you can implement all of these security measures using various mechanisms. Based on your specific requirements and business environment, you will be able to make a choice between those that are transport-dependent or those that are specific to SOAP messaging. Since this article is part of the Best Practices for web services series, it will focus primarily on the various ways to leverage WS-Security in your solutions and the performance impact that you should expect.
The WS-Security specification is in its final approval process within the OASIS standards body and provides mechanisms to address all three of the requirements outlined as the security triad between application end points.
With WS-Security, you can selectively implement each of the requirements of the security triad such that one or all of them are addressed in your solution. An application that requires the services of another application is considered the Consuming Application for this article. I refer to the application providing the services as the Service Provider.
The diagram below illustrates this relationship and is the basis for much of the discussion that follows:. View image at full size. For the scenario described and illustrated in the following sections, the public key of the Service Provider's X. For both the Consuming Application and the Service Provider, the root certificate of the Certificate Authority such as Verisign that issued the parties' certificates will need to be imported into the local keystores.
The Consuming Application's keystore will have the root certificate of the Service Provider's certificate. Likewise, the Service Provider's keystore will require the root certificate of the Consuming Application's certificate. This is mandatory and allows validation of the digital signatures of the individual certificates that are passed as binary security tokens in the SOAP messages.
The scenario outlined below is one of many possibilities that can be realized with WS-Security. It uses X. When a web services invocation is made, the proxy or SOAP runtime on the client system performs the WS-Security functions prior to sending the request.
First, the SOAP message is digitally signed. The SOAP runtime may access a keystore to retrieve security keys and certificates as needed. Depending on the WS-Security support your environment provides, you might be able to sign just the SOAP body, or you might be able to sign individual elements within the body. In addition, SOAP header blocks might be signed. The signature is performed using the private key of the Consuming Application's X. Once the message has been signed, the X.
The message is encrypted using a symmetric algorithm with a shared key. The key used for the data encryption is encrypted itself using an asymmetric algorithm with the public key associated with the Service Provider's X.
Once the message and shared key have been encrypted, a reference to the X. This is done because the Service Provider might be using multiple certificates. The message data and shared key passed in the request are encrypted, so the first step is to identify the X. Once the private key is obtained, the shared key can be decrypted using an asymmetric algorithm. With the shared key in the open, the message data can be decrypted using a symmetric algorithm.
With the entire message now in the open, the X. The message's digital signature is performed with the Consuming Application's public key. As a result of the the signature's successful validation, the Service Provider SOAP runtime not only validates the message integrity but also is ensured that the Consuming Application actually signed the message.
Once the message has been decrypted and the signature validates the SOAP runtime calls the web services implementation. Once the business logic of the service implementation has executed and a response is available, the same WS-Security operations take place for the web services response message.
However, the roles of X. The certificate is included in the SOAP message, and the message is encrypted using a shared key. The key used for the data encryption could be the same key passed in the original request or another randomly generated key, the latter being more typical.
The encryption of the shared key is performed using the public key of the certificate that was passed in the request; thus only the sender of the request who has access to the certificate's private key is the only party that can decrypt the message.
The Consuming Application's WS-Security processing of the web services response is very similar to what the Service provider for the request performed. The message data and shared key passed in the response are encrypted. Therefore, the initial step is to retrieve the private key of the certificate associated with the corresponding request to decrypt the shared key using an asymmetric algorithm.
After the entire message is in the open, the X. The response message's digital signature is performed with the Service Provider's public key. Following the signature's successful validation, the Consuming Application's SOAP runtime not only validates the message integrity, but also is ensured that the Service Provider actually signed the message.
Once the message has been decrypted and the signature validated, the SOAP runtime forwards the response to the Consuming Application.
Under the covers, WS-Security is very complex and can be utilized in many different scenarios. The example described above has many aspects that customers today have implemented.
Part or all of the scenario has been implemented by customers on WebSphere Application Server platforms, depending on their existing security policies, security infrastructure, or business requirements. This will be discussed in Part Two of this article. Thus, once you have your web services implementations developed and tested, the enablement of WS-Security features is easily accomplished during the deployment phase. United States. Holt Adams Published on March 26, This content is part of the series: Best Practices for web services, Part 11 Stay tuned for additional content in this series.
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The topic of this article is provided in two parts. The first part covers WS-Security features, the relationship between business participants, and the mechanics of how WS-Security capabilities are implemented. Design choices and implementations that address security requirements often have an adverse impact on a solution's performance. This is not to imply that all security technologies used in solutions result in slow performance. Rather, you should be aware that web services solutions requiring authentication of business participants, digital signature of message content, and encryption of XML data can have very different performance characteristics based on the technology or method used to secure a solution's exposed business functions and data.
This page presents several best practices that have a significant, positive impact on your app's security. When you safeguard the data that you exchange between your app and other apps, or between your app and a website, you improve your app's stability and protect the data that you send and receive. If an implicit intent can launch at least two possible apps on a user's device, explicitly show an app chooser. This interaction strategy allows users to transfer sensitive information to an app that they trust.
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A web service is a kind of software that is accessible on the Internet. It makes use of the XML messaging system and offers an easy to understand, interface for the end users. The initiation of XML in this field is the advancement that provides web service a single language to communicate in between the RPCs, web services and their directories. You can get it from IBM Alphaworks site. This browser shows various demos related to web services.
Security standards are implemented in non-XML frameworks at the transport level, and in XML frameworks at the application level. The following sections describe the standards that are key to providing secure and manageable SOA environments at both the transport and application levels. Oracle considers interoperability of Web services platforms to be more important than providing support for all possible edge cases of the Web services specifications.
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