Feeds

Vendors, users team to create secure XML

Spectre of proprietary MS rival casts shadow

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

A group of 45 IT companies and enterprises has formed a group that aims to create a standard way to secure internet-based transactions that use XML (eXtensible Markup Language).

The AuthXML Working Group will develop a specification covering authentication and authorising information in XML which it will then submit to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

The group includes security firms such at Check Point Software; networking vendors, such as Novell; consultancies like PricewaterhouseCoopers and end-users such as the Royal Bank of Scotland. However, the group is more interesting for who it does not include - most noticeably Microsoft, which has formed a group to develop a complementary technology.

The purpose of the AuthXML standard, which is built on XML and digital signature technology, is to provide an open framework that will allow applications and Web sites to trust security domains. However, the specification will make no provision for negotiation about trust between domains and realms or the inclusion of optional data, which will be handled separately.

The latter falls into an area which Microsoft and its partners WebMethods and VeriSign are working on through the XML key management specification (XKMS).
This is intended to make it easier for programmers to include digital signatures and encrypt data in e-commerce applications. So AuthXML will allow applications to trust domains and XKMS will embed the mechanism to do this in applications. Hmmmm.

We don't have particularly great expectations that these two technologies will dovetail neatly together. Open standards, particularly in the security arena, and Microsoft are unlikely bedfellows. Assurances that XKMS, which is already in use, "will be submitted to the appropriate Web standards bodies for consideration as an open internet standard" don't cut much ice in the face Microsoft's past history - particularly the way Redmond added proprietary extensions to Kerberos, an open standard for security originally developed by MIT.

XML can be expected to be the basis of data transmission amongst applications, and indeed services, over the Internet over the future so it's important a full, and fully open specification, comes out in the end. If Microsoft's assurances of openness don't pan out, and that remains an open question, the technology, as well as secure messages, could end up coming out scrambled. ®

Related Link

AuthXML home page

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.