Security Firm Helps Identify Flaws In Top Five SOA Architectures

A study conducted by Application Security Firm Fortify Software Inc., found critical security concerns in five of the most popular SOA solutions currently on the market, dealing with how the frameworks are commonly configured and used.

The research revealed that certain configurations of Apache Axis, Apache Axis 2, IBM WebSphere 6.1 and Microsoft .NET Web Services Enhancements (WSE) 2.0 and Microsoft Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), can lead to weak authentication, weak encryption, vulnerability to replay attack, XPath injection, and many other significant security vulnerabilities.

In addition, applications that have been secured for Web attacks may still be insecure to attacks through SOA. To be clear, the frameworks themselves are secure, but they have to be appropriately configured and used in order to avoid serious security issues.

“Service-Oriented Architecture represents a significant shift in how business applications are designed, developed and implemented,” says Gunnar Peterson, an internationally recognized expert on SOA and Web services. “Companies are taking advantage of these new technologies at a rapid rate.

According to Gartner, “SOA was used, to some extent, in more than 50% of large, new applications and business processes designed in 2007. By 2010, we expect that more than 80% of large, new systems will use SOA for at least some aspect of their design.”

However, when used incorrectly, SOA can introduce numerous security issues, increasing the risk of an incident occurring. Thomas Erl, internationally recognized expert on SOA and author of numerous books on the subject writes, "Because SOA offers the potential to create sophisticated and complex composite solutions, agnostic services can be subjected to a variety of different usage scenarios, each of which can introduce unique security risks and requirements. In order to design effective service compositions therefore requires that services be prepared for a range of security challenges.

"As SOA gets rolled out in large organizations, it's critical that they realize security means more than just firewalls and SSL,” says Jeremy Epstein, SOA expert and consultant.

“Software security, such as the techniques developed and implemented in the Fortify product, is mandatory to protect critical business data and processes, especially in SOA implementations.”