Figure 8-1 Relationship of WS-Security framework to other specifications in VS .NET

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Figure 8-1 Relationship of WS-Security framework to other specifications
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Overarching Concern
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Security is sometimes called an "overarching concern" because everything involved in the Web services environment needs some level of protection against the many threats and challenges that IT departments must deal with on a regular basis For example, SOAP messages need to be secure, WSDL files may need to be secured against unauthorized access, firewall ports may need additional mechanisms to guard against heavy loads and to inspect Web services messages, and so on Because Web services are designed for interoperability, an important goal of the security technologies is to enable execution environment technologies to continue to work while adding security mechanisms to the Web services layers above them An XML appliance may also be deployed to inspect messages arriving at the edge of the network (that is, where it meets the Internet); if so, this device must be deployed with an understanding or assessment of its relationship to other security mechanisms The starting point is ensuring network layer protection using IP Security (IPsec), Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), and basic authentication services, which provide a basic level of protection At the next level, WS-Security provides the framework for protecting the message using multiple security technologies Most of the technologies are defined outside of the WS-Security specification; in that case, WS-Security tells you how to use them within the Web services environment
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Core Concepts
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Two basic mechanisms are used to guard against security risks: signing and encrypting messages for data integrity and confidentiality, and checking associated ticket and token information for authentication and authorization These mechanisms are often used in combination because a broad variety of risks must be taken into account As illustrated in Figure 8-2, WS-Security headers can be added to SOAP messages before they are sent to the service provider The headers can include authentication, authorization,[1] encryption, and signature so that the provider can validate the credentials of the requester before executing the service Invalid credentials typically result in the return of an error message to the requester The requester typically adds the authentication and authorization information in the form of tokens Thus, there's a need to share and coordinate security information, such as tokens, between requester and provider or across a chain of requesters, providers, and possibly SOAP intermediaries [1] Note that as of the time of writing, WS-Authorization was not yet completed
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Figure 8-2 Security headers are added to SOAP messages [View full size image]
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To successfully manage encryption and authentication for end-to-end message exchange patterns, the WS-Security specification defines several SOAP header extensions For example:
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<wsse:Security xmlns:wsse="http://schemasxmlsoaporg/ws/2002/12/secext"> <wsse:UsernameToken> <wsse:Username>Ericn</wsse:Username> <wsse:Password>8Bcnu6</wsse:Password> </wsse:UsernameToken> </wsse:Security>
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The example shows the WS-Security namespace wsse and the use of the clear text user name/password authentication feature The inclusion of WS-Security headers in a SOAP message ensures that the user name/password shown in this example is available for processing by intermediaries as well as at the ultimate destination of the message Further information on these topics is provided later in this chapter If the service provider requires a Kerberos token, the WS-SecurityPolicy declaration associated with the provider's WSDL might look like this:
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<SecurityToken wsp:Requirement=Kerberos <TokenType> </TokenType>
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Summary of Challenges, Threats, and Remedies
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This section summarizes the major challenges and threats that need to be addressed using Web services and other security mechanisms and identifies (where possible) the technologies necessary to guard against each challenge or threat Web services, because they represent an abstract interfacing and messaging layer, cannot and should not include some of the security mechanisms available within the underlying platforms on which Web services execute It would be a mistake to try to replicate into the Web services environment such operating system-level protections as memory protection, file or device protection, or even network-level protection In general, to guard against the broad variety of threats and challenges, security solutions must be implemented through the transport layer, the Web services layer, and the data layer, and also must be mapped into and out of the underlying execution environment to ensure either that the defined security policy is enforced or that when it is not, there is an audit log entry of the failure or policy breach
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Understanding the Security Architecture It's important to view the Web services security challenges and threats within their overall architectural context and determine solutions based not simply on a given technology but rather on looking at the overall solution context That is, you can't just say "use SSL" without understanding the threat you're trying to defend against and without understanding the overall security context into which you'd like to deploy SSL SSL may be sufficient, but it may not Multiple security technologies often must be used in conjunction to provide a comprehensive solution to the big security concerns, and it is therefore important to understand how the technologies work together
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The following sections detail some of the specific challenges and threats that the overall Web services security environment must address