Monday, February 17, 2014

Apache WSS4J 2.0.0 - part VI

This is the sixth of a series of articles on the new features and changes that will be delivered in Apache WSS4J 2.0.0. The fifth article looked at support for signing and encrypting message attachments via the SOAP with Attachments (SWA) Profile 1.1 specification, as well as the associated WS-SecurityPolicy expressions to sign and encrypt attachments. This post looks at the WS-SecurityPolicy model in WSS4J 2.0.0 and how it is used by the streaming code to perform real-time policy validation of an incoming message.

1) WS-SecurityPolicy model in WSS4J 2.0.0

The user of a web services stack such as Apache CXF or Apache Axis can use
WS-SecurityPolicy to define security requirements for service requests/responses. All that is required in addition to this is some user-specific configuration such as usernames, keystores, etc. However, WSS4J (1.6.x) had no awareness of whether WS-SecurityPolicy was used to define the security requirements or not. It was up to the web service stack in question to parse the security policy, build a model, and use the model to configure WSS4J appropriately. Then it was also up to the web services stack to go through the security results produced by WSS4J on processing a message, to see if the results conform to the policy or not.

WSS4J 2.0.0 includes a WS-SecurityPolicy model as part of the new module "wss4j-policy" module. This means that all web services stacks that rely on WSS4J to perform WS-Security no longer need their own model. Instead, they can register the Apache Neethi AssertionBuilder implementations in the WSS4J module to be able to handle WS-SecurityPolicy policies.

2) Real time streaming policy validation

The DOM-based WS-Security implementation in WSS4J 2.0.0 is still not WS-SecurityPolicy aware, in other words the web services stack must still parse the model to set up the configuration for WSS4J, and parse the results list to validate the results against the model. However, a significant new feature of WSS4J 2.0.0 is that the new streaming WS-Security implementation has the ability to perform "real-time" validation of a request against the set of applicable WS-SecurityPolicy policies. This means that bogus requests can be rejected quicker that the older DOM-based code, which may help to avoid DoS based scenarios. In the next few blog posts in this series, I'll be looking at the new streaming WS-Security implementation in more detail.

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