The Application Server offers integrated support for the WS-Security standard in its web services client and server-side containers. This functionality is integrated such that web services security is enforced by the containers of the Application Server on behalf of applications, and such that it can be applied to protect any web service application without requiring changes to the implementation of the application. The Application Server achieves this effect by providing facilities to bind SOAP layer message security providers and message protection policies to containers and to applications deployed in containers.
In the Application Server, the System Administrator and Application Deployer roles are expected to take primary responsibility for configuring message security. In some situations, the Application Developer may also contribute, although in the typical case either of the other roles may secure an existing application without changing its implementation without involving the developer. The responsibilities of the various roles are defined in the following sections:
The system administrator is responsible for:
Configuring message security providers on the Application Server.
Managing user databases.
Managing keystore and truststore files.
Configuring a Java Cryptography Extension (JCE) provider if using encryption and running a version of the Java SDK prior to version 1.5.0.
Installing the samples server. This is only done if the xms sample application will be used to demonstrate the use of message layer web services security.
A system administrator uses the Admin Console to manage server security settings and uses a command line tool to manage certificate databases. In Platform Edition, certificates and private keys are stored in key stores and are managed with keytool. Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition store certificates and private keys in an NSS database, where they are managed using certutil. This document is intended primarily for system administrators. For an overview of message security tasks, see Configuring the Application Server for Message Security.
The application deployer is responsible for:
Specifying (at application assembly) any required application-specific message protection policies if such policies have not already been specified by upstream roles (the developer or assembler).
Modifying Sun-specific deployment descriptors to specify application-specific message protection policies information (message-security-binding elements) to web service endpoint and service references.
These security tasks are discussed in the Securing Applications chapter of the Developers’ Guide. For a link to this chapter, see Further Information.
The application developer can turn on message security, but is not responsible for doing so. Message security can be set up by the System Administrator so that all web services are secured, or by the Application Deployer when the provider or protection policy bound to the application must be different from that bound to the container.
The application developer or assembler is responsible for the following:
Determining if an application-specific message protection policy is required by the application. If so, ensuring that the required policy is specified at application assembly which may be accomplished by communicating with the Application Deployer.
The WS-Security specification provides an extensible mechanism for using security tokens to authenticate and encrypt SOAP web services messages. The SOAP layer message security providers installed with the Application Server may be used to employ username/password and X.509 certificate security tokens to authenticate and encrypt SOAP web services messages. Additional providers that employ other security tokens including SAML assertions will be installed with subsequent releases of the Application Server.
The Application Server uses Username tokens in SOAP messages to establish the authentication identity of the message sender. The recipient of a message containing a Username token (within embedded password) validates that the message sender is authorized to act as the user (identified in the token) by confirming that the sender knows the secret (the password) of the user.
When using a Username token, a valid user database must be configured on the Application Server. For more information on this topic, read To edit a realm.
The Application Server uses XML Digital signatures to bind an authentication identity to message content. Clients use digital signatures to establish their caller identity, analogous to the way basic authentication or SSL client certificate authentication have been used to do the same thing when transport layer security is being used. Digital signatures are verified by the message receiver to authenticate the source of the message content (which may be different from the sender of the message.)
When using digital signatures, valid keystore and truststore files must be configured on the Application Server. For more information on this topic, read About Certificate Files.
The purpose of encryption is to modify the data such that it can only be understood by its intended audience. This is accomplished by substituting an encrypted element for the original content. When predicated on public key cryptography, encryption can be used to establish the identity of the parties that can read a message.
When using Encryption, you must have an installed JCE provider that supports encryption. For more information on this topic, read To configure a JCE Provider.
Message protection policies are defined for request message processing and response message processing and are expressed in terms of requirements for source and/or recipient authentication. A source authentication policy represents a requirement that the identity of the entity that sent a message or that defined the content of a message be established in the message such that it can be authenticated by the message receiver. A recipient authentication policy represents a requirement that the message be sent such that the identity of the entities that can receive the message can be established by the message sender. The providers apply specific message security mechanisms to cause the message protection policies to be realized in the context of SOAP web services messages.
Request and response message protection policies are defined when a provider is configured into a container. Application-specific message protection policies (at the granularity of the web service port or operation) may also be configured within the Sun-specific deployment descriptors of the application or application client. In any case, where message protection policies are defined, the request and response message protection policies of the client must match (be equivalent to) the request and response message protection policies of the server. For more information on defining application-specific message protection policies, refer to the Securing Applications chapter of the Developers’ Guide.
The terminology used in this document is described below. The concepts are also discussed in Configuring the Application Server for Message Security.
The authentication layer is the message layer on which authentication processing must be performed. The Application Server enforces web services message security at the SOAP layer.
In this release of the Application Server, the Application Server invokes authentication providers to process SOAP message layer security.
A client-side provider establishes (by signature or username/password) the source identity of request messages and/or protects (by encryption) request messages such that they can only be viewed by their intended recipients. A client-side provider also establishes its container as an authorized recipient of a received response (by successfully decrypting it) and validates passwords or signatures in the response to authenticate the source identity associated with the response. Client-side providers configured in the Application Server can be used to protect the request messages sent and the response messages received by server-side components (servlets and EJB components) acting as clients of other services.
A server-side provider establishes its container as an authorized recipient of a received request (by successfully decrypting it) and validates passwords or signatures in the request to authenticate the source identity associated with the request. A server-side provider also establishes (by signature or username/password) the source identity of response messages and/or protects (by encryption) response messages such that they can only be viewed by their intended recipients. Server-side providers are only invoked by server-side containers.
Default Server Provider
The default server provider is used to identify the server provider to be invoked for any application for which a specific server provider has not been bound. The default server provider is sometimes referred to as the default provider.
Default Client Provider
The default client provider is used to identify the client provider to be invoked for any application for which a specific client provider has not been bound.
The request policy defines the authentication policy requirements associated with request processing performed by the authentication provider. Policies are expressed in message sender order such that a requirement that encryption occur after content would mean that the message receiver would expect to decrypt the message before validating the signature.
The response policy defines the authentication policy requirements associated with response processing performed by the authentication provider. Policies are expressed in message sender order such that a requirement that encryption occur after content would mean that the message receiver would expect to decrypt the message before validating the signature.