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.