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Safeguard your XML based messages 3

Secure your Web services

As I mentioned previously, Web services are based upon exchanging SOAP messages, which are clear text XML messages. While clear text XML-based message exchange is fine for amateur applications, it proves unacceptable for real-world business applications that deal with sensitive data, such as your credit card number, mothers maiden name, or social security number. It goes without saying that these messages must be secured. Security in the context of message exchange between two or more parties typically implies that each message sent and received exhibits the following four characteristics: authenticity, data integrity, nonrepudiation, and privacy, or confidentiality. That definition of secure message exchange holds true even for digital messages sent over the network. For such messages, digital signatures provide the first three of the four characteristics (please see the sidebar, "What Is a Digital Signature?," for more details). Data encryption provides the fourth. As mentioned above, the Apache XML Security project is an implementation of the W3Cs XML Signature specification and hence can provide authenticity, integrity, and nonrepudiation to your SOAP-based Web services.

For example, you can look at: http://www.javaworld.com/javaworld/jw-12-2002/jw-1220-xmlsecurity.html?page=2

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