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XML Signatures: Behind the Curtain


In this article, Larry considers the security risks that exists with the current XML authentication standards.

Author Info:
By: Larry Loeb
Rating: 3 stars3 stars3 stars3 stars3 stars / 8
March 07, 2003
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. · XML Signatures: Behind the Curtain
  2. · Introduction
  3. · The Overview
  4. · What They Don't Tell You in the Specification
  5. · The Geek Part
  6. · Signature Elements
  7. · An Example to Mull Over
  8. · A Pithy Summary
  9. · The Resources

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XML Signatures: Behind the Curtain - Signature Elements
(Page 6 of 9 )

Take a look at the signature element. The data objects are first digested (a digest is fixed-length representation of a variable length data object and is created using an algorithm like SHA-1) and the resulting value is placed in an element (with other information). This element is then digested and cryptographically signed. The signature element has the following structure (where "?" denotes zero or one occurrence, "+" denotes one or more occurrences, and "*" denotes zero or more occurrences):

Listing 1
   <Signature>
     <SignedInfo>
       (CanonicalizationMethod)
       (SignatureMethod)
       (<Reference (URI=)? >
         (Transforms)?
         (DigestMethod)
         (DigestValue)
       </Reference>)+
     </SignedInfo>
     (SignatureValue)
    (KeyInfo)?
    (Object)*
   </Signature>


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