Using XML Signature

A digital signature is a cryptographic value that enables a recipient to verify the source and validity of
an incoming message. XML Signature defines an XML syntax for digital signatures.

When you enable SOAP header processing for a particular virtual service, the ACE XML Gateway
validates XML signatures in incoming messages received at the interface defined by the object. If a
signature does not match the element that is signed, the message is rejected.

Signature validity may not alone ensure message integrity—the signature could have been generated
using any certificate, including one issued by an untrusted source. If using XML Signature as part of
your implementation strategy, you should also specify which Certificate Authorities you want to be
trusted, and direct the ACE XML Gateway to accept only signatures generated with certificates issued
by those trusted CA.

Enabling header processing causes signatures to be validated if present in an incoming message (and
causes messages with invalid signatures to be blocked), but it doesn’t require a message to have a
signature.

The final step in configuring XML Signature, therefore, is specifying the elements of the incoming
message that must be signed. In the policy configuration, you can require a signature covering one or
more of:

  • the message timestamp (a common practice in Web service implementations).
  • the first element below the SOAP body.
  • a particular element you specify by XPath. Each XPath expression you specify must resolve to a
    signed XML element whose signature must be valid for the ACE XML Gateway to accept the
    message.
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