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Why do Web Services use WS-Security instead of using Transport Layer Security?

Many people new to Web services see SOAP as a way to exchange messages between two endpoints over HTTP. Over HTTP, one can authenticate the caller, sign the message, and encrypt the contents of the message. This makes the message secure in several dimensions: the caller is known, the receiver of the message can verify that the message did not change in transit, and entities watching the wire traffic cannot figure out what data is being exchanged. For those looking at SOAP messaging to solve bigger problems, however, HTTP-based security simply isn't enough. Many of the bigger problems involve sending the message along a path more complicated than request/response or over a transport that does not involve HTTP. The identity, integrity, and security of the message and the caller need to be preserved over multiple hops. More than one encryption key may be used along the route. Trust domains will be crossed. HTTP and its security mechanisms only address point-to-point security. More complex solutions need end-to-end security baked in. WS-Security addresses how to maintain a secure context over a multi-point message path.

Extract from http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms977327.aspx





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