Francois Lascelles

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Top Stories by Francois Lascelles

SOA Best Practices Digest Although certain RESTful web services are of a ‘public’ nature and do not have specific security requirements such as authentication and authorization, any service that has an entry point from an untrusted network is subject to attack and proper threat protection measures are always an essential consideration. RESTful web services are closely aligned to the web itself and as such inherit all traditional threats from the web. Although network level threats are well understood and addressed by traditional firewall infrastructure, RESTful web services type APIs are also subject to content (or message) level threats. For example, consider APIs where XML payloads are POSTed and/or PUT from external requesters. A particularly dangerous threat was uncovered last summer involving a vulnerability in most XML parsing libraries used at the time. An... (more)

Agile, Decoupled Security for Better Service Orientation

Service orientation is about agility. Without a resulting agility, there is no point of doing SOA. Unfortunately, enterprise SOA infrastructure initiatives sometimes fail in part because its security mechanisms and processes demolish any agility that was built into the SOA itself. This happens when security is an afterthought. Simple barriers are good for security but they can easily become preventers of agility. When security fails to maintain agility, one of following two possible consequences seems to emerge. The first is a failure of the corporate SOA initiative – without ag... (more)

API Management – Infrastructure vs SaaS

The Enterprise is buzzing with API initiatives these days. APIs not only serve mobile applications, they are increasingly redefining how the enterprise does B2B and integration in general. API management as a category follows different models. On one hand, certain technology vendors offer specialized infrastructure to handle the many aspects of API management. On the other, an increasing number of SaaS vendors offer a service which you subscribe to, providing a pre-installed, hosted, basic API management system. Hybrid models are emerging, but that’s a topic for a future post. B... (more)

JSON Schema Validation for RESTful Web Services

In the article "The importance of threat protection for restful web services", I presented a number of content-based threats for XML. When protecting an endpoint from XML based attacks, not only are payloads scanned for code injections, malicious entity declarations and parser attacks, XML documents are actually validated against strict schemas that clearly describe expected document structures. Enforcing this type of compliance at the edge, in a SOA gateway for example, minimizes the risk of attacks of the Web service endpoint. Structure definition languages such as XML Schema ... (more)

WS Security Performance

The WS Secure Conversation specification describes a mechanism letting multiple parties establish a context (using the WS Trust Request Security Token standard) and secure subsequent SOAP exchanges. Each WS Secure Conversation session has an associated shared secret. Instead of using this shared secret directly to sign and encrypt the conversation's messages, symmetric keys are derived from the secret itself. Deriving new keys for each message and different keys for signature and encryption limits the amount of data that an attacker can analyze in attempting to compromise the con... (more)