This document specifies XML digital signature processing rules and syntax. XML Signatures provide integrity, message authentication, and/or signer authentication services for data of any type, whether located within the XML that includes the signature or elsewhere.
This specification is document that tracks some of the comments resulting from the W3C/IETF last call. This document continues to be a draft document and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any time. While the Working Group feels the design meets our requirements we especially welcome comments on the following topics: security concerns, URI/IDREF usage, XPath, DTD/schema specification, and implementation experience. Please send comments to the editors and cc: the list <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Publication as a Working Draft does not imply endorsement by the W3C membership or IESG. It is inappropriate to cite W3C Drafts as other than "work in progress." A list of current W3C working drafts can be found at http://www.w3.org/TR. Current IETF drafts can be found at http://www.ietf.org/1id-abstracts.html.
Patent disclosures relevant to this specification may be found on the Working Group's patent disclosure page.
This document specifies XML syntax and processing rules for creating and representing digital signatures. XML Signatures can be applied to any digital content (data object), including XML. An XML Signature may be applied to the content of one or more resources. Enveloped or enveloping signatures are over data within the same XML document as the signature; detached signatures are over data external to the signature document.
This specification also defines other useful types including methods of referencing collections of resources, algorithms, and keying information and management.
For readability, brevity, and historic reasons this document uses the term "signature" to generally refer to digital authentication values of all types.Obviously, the term is also strictly used to refer to authentication values that are based on public keys and that provide signer authentication. When specifically discussing authentication values based on symmetric secret key codes we use the terms authenticators or authentication codes. (See section 8.3:Check the Security Model.)
This specification uses both XML Schemas [XML-schema] and DTDs [XML]. (Readers unfamiliar with DTD syntax may wish to refer to Ron Bourret's "Declaring Elements and Attributes in an XML DTD" [Bourret].)
The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this specification are to be interpreted as described in RFC2119 [KEYWORDS]:
"they MUST only be used where it is actually required for interoperation or to limit behavior which has potential for causing harm (e.g., limiting retransmissions)"
Consequently, we use these capitalized keywords to unambiguously specify requirements over protocol and application features and behavior that affect the interoperability and security of implementations. These key words are not used (capitalized) to describe XML grammar; schema definitions unambiguously describe such requirements and we wish to reserve the prominence of these terms for the natural language descriptions of protocols and features. For instance, an XML attribute might be described as being "optional." Compliance with the XML-namespace specification [XML-ns] is described as "REQUIRED."
The design philosophy and requirements of this specification are addressed in the XML-Signature Requirements document [XML-Signature-RD].
No provision is made for an explicit version number in this syntax. If a future version is needed, it will use a different namespace The XML namespace [XML-ns] URI that MUST be used by implementations of this (dated) specification is:
This namespace is also used as the prefix for algorithm identifiers used by this specification. While applications MUST support XML and XML-namespaces, the use of internal entities [XML] or our "dsig" XML namespace prefix and defaulting/scoping conventions are OPTIONAL; we use these facilities to provide compact and readable examples.
This specification uses Uniform Resource Identifiers [URI] to identify resources, algorithms, and semantics. The URI in the namespace declaration above is also used as a prefix for URIs under the control of this specification. For resources not under the control of this specification, we use the designated Uniform Resource Names [URN] or Uniform Resource Locators [URL] defined by its normative external specification. If an external specification has not allocated itself a Uniform Resource Identifier we allocate an identifier under our own namespace. For instance:
SignaturePropertiesis identified and defined by this specification's namespace
Finally, in order to provide for terse namespace declarations we sometimes use XML internal entities [XML] as macros within URIs. For instance:
<?xml version='1.0'?> <!DOCTYPE Signature SYSTEM "xmldsig-core-schema.dtd" [ <!ENTITY dsig "http://www.w3.org/2000/02/xmldsig#"> ]> <Signature xmlns="&dsig;"> <SignedInfo Id="mypage"> ...
The contributions of the following working group members to this specification are gratefully acknowledged:
This section provides an overview and examples of XML digital signature syntax. The specific processing is given in section 3: Processing Rules. The formal syntax is found in section 4: Core Signature Syntax and section 5: Additional Signature Syntax.
In this section, an informal representation and examples are used to describe the structure of the XML signature syntax. This representation and examples may omit attributes, details and potential features that are fully explained later.
XML Signatures are applied to arbitrary digital
content (data objects) via an indirection. Data objects are digested, the resulting
value is placed in an element (with other information) and that element is then digested
and cryptographically signed. XML digital signatures are represented by the
element which has the following structure (where "?" denotes zero or one
occurrence; "+" denotes one or more occurrences; and "*" denotes zero
or more occurrences):
<Signature> <SignedInfo> (CanonicalizationMethod)? (SignatureMethod) <Reference (URI=)? > (Transforms)? (DigestMethod) (DigestValue) </Reference>)+ </SignedInfo> (SignatureValue) (KeyInfo)? (Object)* </Signature>
The content that is signed was, at the time of signature creation, referred to as an identified resource to which the specified transforms were applied. Within an XML document, signatures are related to data objects local fragment identifiers and the data can be included within an enveloping signature or can enclose an enveloped signature. Signatures are related to external data objects via URIs [URI] and the signature and data object are detached.
The following example is a detached signature of the content of the HTML4 in XML specification.
[s01] <Signature Id="MyFirstSignature" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/02/xmldsig#"> [s02] <SignedInfo> [s03] <CanonicalizationMethod Algorithm="http://www.w3.org/1999/07/WD-xml-c14n-19990729"> [s04] </CanonicalizationMethod> [s05] <SignatureMethod Algorithm="http://www.w3.org/2000/02/xmldsig#dsa"> [s06] </SignatureMethod> [s07] <Reference URI="http://www.w3.org/TR/2000/REC-xhtml1-20000126/"> [s08] <Transforms> [s09] <Transform Algorithm="http://www.w3.org/2000/02/xmldsig#c14n"/> [s10] </Transforms> [s11] <DigestMethod Algorithm="http://www.w3.org/2000/02/xmldsig#sha1"> [s12] </DigestMethod> [s13] <DigestValue>j6lwx3rvEPO0vKtMup4NbeVu8nk=</DigestValue> [s14] </Reference> [s15] </SignedInfo> [s16] <SignatureValue>MC0CFFrVLtRlk=...</SignatureValue> [s17] <KeyInfo> [s18a] <KeyValue> <!-- put in standalone example -> [s18b] <DSAKeyValue> [s18c] <P>...<P><Q>...</Q><G>...</G><Y>...</Y> [s18d] </DSAKeyValue> [s18e] </KeyValue> [s19] </KeyInfo> [s20] </Signature>
[s02-15] The required
SignedInfo element is the information
that is actually signed. Core validation
SignedInfo consists of two mandatory processes: validation of the signature over
and validation of each
SignedInfo. Note that the algorithms used in calculating the
are also included in the signed information while the
CanonicalizationMethod is the algorithm that is
used to canonicalize the
SignedInfo element before it is digested as part of
the signature operation. In the absence of a
no canonicalization is done.
SignatureMethod is the algorithm that is used to
convert the canonicalized
SignedInfo into the
is a combination of a digest algorithm and a key dependent algorithm and possibly other
algorithms such as padding, for example RSA-SHA1. The algorithm names are signed to resist
attacks based on substituting a weaker algorithm. To promote application interoperability
we specify a set of signature algorithms that MUST be implemented, though their use is at
the discretion of the signature creator. We specify additional algorithms as RECOMMENDED
or OPTIONAL for implementation and the signature design permits arbitrary user algorithm
Reference element includes the digest method
and resulting digest value calculated over the identified data object. It also may include
transformations that produced the input to the digest operation. A data object is signed
by computing its digest value and a signature over that value. The signature is later
checked via reference and signature validation.
KeyInfo indicates the key to be used to validate the
signature. Possible forms for identification include certificates, key names, and key
agreement algorithms and information -- we define only a few. KeyInfo is OPTIONAL for two
reasons. First, the signer may not wish to reveal key information to all document
processing parties. Second, the information may be known within the application's
context and need not be represented explicitly. Since
KeyInfo is outside of
if the signer wishes to bind the keying information to the signature, a
can easily identify and include the
KeyInfo as part of the signature.
[s07] <Reference URI="http://www.w3.org/TR/2000/REC-xhtml1-20000126/"> [s08] <Transforms> [s09] <Transform Algorithm="http://www.w3.org/2000/02/xmldsig#c14n"/> [s10] </Transforms> [s11] <DigestMethod Algorithm="http://www.w3.org/2000/02/xmldsig#sha1"> [s12] </DigestMethod> [s13] <DigestValue>j6lwx3rvEPO0vKtMup4NbeVu8nk=</DigestValue> [s14] </Reference>
[s07] The optional
URI attribute of
identifies the data object to be signed. This attribute may be omitted on at most one
Signature. (This limitation is imposed in order to ensure that
references and objects may be matched unambiguously.)
[s07-10] This identification, along with the transforms, is a description
provided by the signer on how they obtained the signed data object in the form it was
digested (i.e. the digested content). The verifier may obtain the digested content in
another method so long as the digest verifies. In particular, the verifier may obtain the
content from a different location such as a local store than that specified in the
[s08-10] Transforms is an optional ordered list of processing steps that
were applied to the resource's content before it was digested. Transforms can include
operations such as canonicalization, encoding/decoding (including compression/inflation),
XSLT and XPath. XPath transforms permit the signer to derive an XML document that omits
portions of the source document. Consequently those excluded portions can change without
affecting signature validity. For example, if the resource being signed encloses the
signature itself, such a transform must be used to exclude the signature value from its
own computation. If no
Transforms element is present, the resource's content
is digested directly. While we specify mandatory (and optional) canonicalization and
decoding algorithms, user specified transforms are permitted.
[s11-13] DigestMethod is the algorithm applied to the data after
is applied (if specified) to yield the
DigestValue. The signing of the
is what binds a resources content to the signer's key.
This specification does not address mechanisms for making statements or assertions.
Instead, this document defines what it means for something to be signed by an XML
Signature (message authentication, integrity, and/or signer authentication). Applications
that wish to represent other semantics must rely upon other technologies, such as [XML, RDF]. For instance, an application
might use as
foo:assuredby attribute within its own markup to references a
element. Consequently, it's the application that must understand and know how to make
trust decisions given the validity of the signature and the meaning of
syntax. We also define a
SignatureProperties element type for the
inclusion of assertions about the signature itself (e.g., signature semantics, the time of
signing or the serial number of hardware used in cryptographic processes). Such assertions
may be signed by including a
Reference for the
SignedInfo. While the signing application should be very careful about
what it signs (it should understand what is in the SignatureProperty) a receiving
application has no obligation to understand that semantic (though its parent trust engine
may wish to). Any content about the signature generation may be located within the
SignatureProperty element. The mandatory
Target attribute references the
element to which the property applies.
Consider the preceding example with an additional reference to a local
that includes a
SignatureProperty element. (Such a signature would not only
[p03] but enveloping
[p01] [p02] <SignedInfo> [ ] ... [p03] <Reference URI="http://www.w3.org/TR/xml-stylesheet/"> [ ] ... [p04] <Reference URI=" #AMadeUpTimeStamp " [p05] Type="http://www.w3.org/2000/02/xmldsig#SignatureProperty"> [p06] <DigestMethod Algorithm="http://www.w3.org/2000/02/xmldsig#sha1"> [p07] </DigestMethod> [p08] <DigestValue>k3453rvEPO0vKtMup4NbeVu8nk=</DigestValue> [p09] </Reference> [p10] </SignedInfo> [p11] ... [p12] <Object> [p13] <SignatureProperties Id="AMadeUpTimeStamp"> [p14] <SignatureProperty Target=" #MySecondSignature "> [p15] <timestamp xmlns="http://www.ietf.org/rfcXXXX.txt"> [p16] <date>19990908</date> [p17] <time>14:34:34:34</time> [p18] </timestamp> [p19] </SignatureProperty> [p20] </SignatureProperties> [p21] </Object> [p22]</Signature>
[p04] The optional
Type attribute provides information about
the resource identified by the
URI. In particular, it can indicate that it is
This can be used by applications to initiate special processing of some
elements. References to an XML data element within an
Object element SHOULD
identify the actual element pointed to. Where the element content is not XML (perhaps it
is binary or encoded data) the reference should identify the
Object and the
Type, if given, SHOULD indicate
Object. Note that
is advisory and no action based on it or checking of its correctness is required by core
Object is an optional element for including data
objects within the signature element or elsewhere. The
Object can be
optionally typed and/or encoded.
[p12] Signature properties, such as time of signing, can be optionally
signed by identifying them from within a
Reference. (These properties are
traditionally called signature "attributes" although that term has no
relationship to the XML term "attribute".)
Manifest element is provided to meet additional requirements not
directly addressed by the mandatory parts of this specification. Two requirements and the
Manifest satisfies them follows.
First, applications frequently need to efficiently sign multiple data objects even
where the signature operation itself is an expensive public key signature. This
requirement can be met by including multiple
Reference elements within
since the inclusion of each digest secures the data digested. However, some applications
may not want the core validation
behavior associated with this approach because it requires every
SignedInfo to undergo reference validation -- the
DigestValue elements are
checked. These applications may wish to reserve reference validation decision logic to
themselves. For example, an application might receive a signature valid
SignedInfo element that includes three
elements. If a single
Reference fails (the identified data object when
digested does not yield the specified
DigestValue) the signature would fail core validation. However, the application
may wish to treat the signature over the two valid
Reference elements as
valid or take different actions depending on which fails. To accomplish this,
would reference a
Manifest element that contains one or more
elements (with the same structure as those in
SignedInfo). Then, reference
validation of the
Manifest is under application control.
Second, consider an application where many signatures (using different keys) are
applied to a large number of documents. An inefficient solution is to have a separate
signature (per key) repeatedly applied to a large
SignedInfo element (with
References); this is wasteful and redundant. A more efficient solution
is to include many references in a single
Manifest that is then referenced
The example below includes a
Reference that signs a
found within the
[ ] ... [m01] <Reference URI="#MyFirstManifest" [m02] Type="http://www.w3.org/2000/02/xmldsig#Manifest"> [m03] <DigestMethod Algorithm="http://www.w3.org/2000/02/xmldsig#sha1"> [m04] </DigestMethod> [m05] <DigestValue>345x3rvEPO0vKtMup4NbeVu8nk=</DigestValue> [m06] </Reference> [ ] ... [m07] <Object> [m08] <Manifest Id="MyFirstManifest"> [m09] <Reference> [m10] ... [m11] </Reference> [m12] <Reference> [m13] ... [m14] </Reference> [m15] </Object>
The sections below describe the operations to be performed as part of signature generation and validation.
The REQUIRED steps include the generation of
Reference elements and the
For each data object being signed:
Transforms, as determined by the application, to the data object.
Referenceelement, including the (optional) identification of the data object, any (optional) transform elements, the digest algorithm and the
CanonicalizationMethodif required, and
SignedInfobased on algorithms specified in
Signatureelement that includes
Object(s) (if desired, encoding may be different than that used for signing),
KeyInfo(if required), and
The REQUIRED steps of core validation
include (1) reference validation,
the verification of the digest contained in each
and (2) the cryptographic signature
validation of the signature calculated over
Note, there may be valid signatures that some signature applications are unable to validate. Reasons for this include failure to implement optional parts of this specification, inability or unwillingness to execute specified algorithms, or inability or unwillingness to dereference specified URIs (some URI schemes may cause undesirable side effects), etc.
Transformsprovided by the signer in the
Referenceelement, or it may obtain the content through other means such as a local cache.)
DigestMethodspecified in its
Reference; if there is any mismatch, validation fails.
SignedInfoelement based on the
CanonicalizationMethod, if any, in
KeyInfoor from an external source.
SignatureMethodto validate the
SignatureValueover the (optionally canonicalized)
The general structure of an XML signature is described in section 2: Signature Overview. This section provides detailed syntax of the core signature features and actual examples. Features described in this section are mandatory to implement unless otherwise indicated. The syntax is defined via DTDs and [XML-Schema] with the following XML preamble, declaration, and internal entity:
Schema Definition: <?xml version='1.0'?> <!DOCTYPE schema SYSTEM 'http://www.w3.org/TR/2000/WD-xmlschema-1-20000225/structures.dtd' [ <!ENTITY dsig 'http://www.w3.org/2000/02/xmldsig#'> ]> <schema targetNamespace='&dsig;' version='0.1' xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/XMLSchema' xmlns:ds='&dsig;'>
Signature element is the root element of a XML Signature. A simple
example of a complete signature follows:
Schema Definition: <element name='Signature'> <complexType content='elementOnly'> <group order='seq' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'> <element ref='ds:SignedInfo' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'/> <element ref='ds:SignatureValue' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'/> <element ref='ds:KeyInfo' minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='1'/> <element ref='ds:Object' minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='*'/> </group> <attribute name='Id' type='ID' minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='1'/> </complexType> </element>
DTD: <!ELEMENT Signature (SignedInfo, SignatureValue, KeyInfo?, Object*) > <!ATTLIST Signature xmlns CDATA #FIXED 'http://www.w3.org/2000/02/xmldsig#' Id ID #IMPLIED >
SignatureValue element contains the actual value of the digital
signature; it is encoded according to the identifier specified in
Base64 [MIME] is the encoding method for all
specified within this specification. While we specify a mandatory (and optional)
algorithm, user specified algorithms (with their own encodings) are permitted.
Schema Definition: <element name='SignatureValue' type='string'/>
DTD: <!ELEMENT SignatureValue (#PCDATA)>
The structure of
SignedInfo includes the canonicalization algorithm (if
any), a signature algorithm, and one or more references. The
element may contain an optional ID attribute that will allow it to be referenced by other
signatures and objects.
Schema Definition: <element name='SignedInfo'> <complexType content='elementOnly'> <group order='seq' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'> <element ref='ds:CanonicalizationMethod' minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='1'/> <element ref='ds:SignatureMethod' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'/> <element ref='ds:Reference' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='*'/> </group> <attribute name='Id' type='ID' minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='1'/> </complexType> </element>
DTD: <!ELEMENT SignedInfo (CanonicalizationMethod?, SignatureMethod, Reference+) > <!ATTLIST SignedInfo Id ID #IMPLIED >
SignedInfo does not include explicit signature or digest properties (such
as calculation time, cryptographic device serial number, etc.). If an application needs to
associate properties with the signature or digest, it may include such information in a
element within an
CanonicalizationMethod is an optional element that specifies the
canonicalization algorithm applied to the
SignedInfo element prior to
performing signature calculations. This element uses the general structure for algorithms
described in section 6.1: Algorithm Identifiers. The default
canonicalization algorithm (applied if this element is omitted) is Canonical XML [XML-C14N].
Alternatives, such as the minimal canonicalization algorithm (the CRLF and charset normalization specified in section 6.5.1: Minimal Canonicalization), may be explicitly specified but are NOT REQUIRED. Consequently, their use may not interoperate with other applications that do no support the specified algorithm (see section 7: XML Canonicalization and Syntax Constraint Considerations). Security issues may also arise in the treatment of entity processing and comments if minimal or other non-XML aware canonicalization algorithms are not properly constrained (see section 8.2: Only What is "Seen" Should be Signed).
We RECOMMEND that resource constrained applications that do not implement the Canonical XML [XML-C14N] transform and instead choose minimal canonicalization (or some other form) are implemented to generate Canonical XML as their output serialization to easily mitigate some of these interoperability and security concerns. For instance, such an implementation SHOULD (at least) generate standalone XML instances [XML].
Schema Definition: <element name='CanonicalizationMethod'> <complexType content='elementOnly'> <any minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='*'/> <attribute name='Algorithm' type='uri' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'/> </complexType> </element>
DTD: <!ELEMENT CanonicalizationMethod (#PCDATA) > <!ATTLIST CanonicalizationMethod Algorithm CDATA #REQUIRED >
SignatureMethod is a required element that specifies the algorithm used
for signature generation and validation. This algorithm identifies all cryptographic
functions involved in the signature operation (e.g. hashing, public key algorithms, MACs,
padding, etc.). This element uses the general structure here for algorithms described in
section 6.1. While there is a single identifier, that identifier may specify a
format containing multiple distinct signature values.
Schema Definition: <element name='SignatureMethod'> <complexType content='elementOnly'> <any minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='*'/> <attribute name='Algorithm' type='uri' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'/> </complexType> </element>
DTD: <!ELEMENT SignatureMethod (#PCDATA|HMACOutputLength)*> <!ATTLIST SignatureMethod Algorithm CDATA #REQUIRED >
Reference is an element that may occur one or more times. It specifies a
digest algorithm and digest value, and optionally the object being signed, the type of the
object, and/or a list of transforms to be applied prior to digesting. The identification
(URI) and transforms describe how the digested content (i.e., the input to the digest
method) was created. The
Type attribute facilitates the processing of
referenced data. For example, while this specification makes no requirements over external
data, an application may wish to signal that the referent is a
optional ID attribute permits a
Reference to be referenced from elsewhere.
Schema Definition: <element name='Reference'> <complexType content='elementOnly'> <group order='seq' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'> <element ref='ds:Transforms' minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='1'/> <element ref='ds:DigestMethod' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'/> <element ref='ds:DigestValue' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'/> </group> <attribute name='Id' type='ID' minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='1'/> <attribute name='URI' type='uri' minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='1'/> <attribute name='Type' type='uri' minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='1'/> </complexType> </element>
DTD: <!ELEMENT Reference (Transforms?, DigestMethod, DigestValue) > <!ATTLIST Reference Id ID #IMPLIED URI CDATA #IMPLIED Type CDATA #IMPLIED>
URI attribute identifies a data object using a URI-Reference, as
specified by RFC2396 [URI]. (Non-ASCII characters in a URI
should be represented in UTF-8 as one or more bytes, and then escaping these bytes with
the URI escaping mechanism. [XML]) Note that a null URI (
is permitted and identifies the XML document that the reference is contained within (the
root element). XML Signature applications MUST be able to parse URI syntax. We RECOMMEND
they be able to dereference URIs and null URIs in the HTTP scheme. (See the section 3.2.1:Reference Validation for a further comment on
[URI] permits identifiers that specify a fragment identifier via a separating pound symbol '#'. (The meaning of the fragment is defined by the resource's MIME type). XML Signature applications MUST support the XPointer 'bare name' [Xptr] shortcut after '#' so as to identify IDs within XML documents. The results are serialized as specified in section 6.6.3:XPath Filtering. For example,
Otherwise, support of other fragment/MIME types (e.g., PDF) or XML addressing
mechanisms (e.g., [XPath, Xptr]) is
OPTIONAL, though we RECOMMEND support of [XPath]. Regardless,
such fragment identification and addressing SHOULD be given under
(not as part of the URI) so that they can be fully identified and specified. For instance,
one could reference a fragment of a document that is encoded by using the
URI to identify the resource, and one
Transform to specify
decoding, and a second to specify an XPath selection.
URI attribute is omitted altogether, the receiving application is
expected to know the identity of the object. For example, a lightweight data protocol
might omit this attribute given the identity of the object is part of the application
context. This attribute may be omitted from at most one
Reference in any
The digest algorithm is applied to the data octets being secured. Typically that is
done by locating (possibly using the
URI if provided) the data and
transforming it. If the data is an XML document, the document is assumed to be unparsed
prior to the application of
Transforms. If there are no
then the data is passed to the digest algorithm unmodified.
The optional Type attribute contains information about the type of object being signed. This is represented as a URI. For example:
The Type attribute applies to the item being pointed at, not its contents. For example,
a reference that identifies an Object element containing a S
element is still of type
#Object. The type attribute is advisory. No
validation of the type information is required by this specification.
Transforms element contains an ordered list of
elements; these describe how the signer obtained the data object that was digested. The
output of each
Transform (octets) serves as input to the next
The input to the first
Transform is the source data. The output from the last
Transform is the input for the
DigestMethod algorithm. When
transforms are applied the signer is not signing the native (original) document but the
resulting (transformed) document, (see section 8.2: Only What is
"Seen" Should be Signed).
Transform consists of an
Algorithm attribute and content
parameters, if any, appropriate for the given algorithm. The
attribute value specifies the name of the algorithm to be performed, and the
content provides additional data to govern the algorithm's processing of the input
resource, (see section 6.1: Algorithm Identifiers and Implementation
Transform may require explicit
(IANA registered character set), or other such information concerning the data they are
receiving from an earlier
Transform or the source data, although no
algorithm specified in this document needs such information. Such data characteristics are
provided as parameters to the
Transform algorithm and should be described in
the specification for the algorithm.
Schema Definition: <element name='Transforms' > <complexType content='elementOnly'> <element ref='ds:Transform' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='*'/> </complexType> </element> <element name='Transform'> <complexType content='mixed'> <any minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='*'/> <attribute name='Algorithm' type='string' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'/> </complexType> </element>
DTD: <!ELEMENT Transforms (Transform+)> <!ELEMENT Transform (#PCDATA)> <!ATTLIST Transform Algorithm CDATA #REQUIRED >
Examples of transforms include but are not limited to base64 decoding [MIME], canonicalization [XML-c14n], XPath
filtering [XPath], and XSLT [XSLT]. The
generic definition of the
Transform element also allows application-specific
transform algorithms. For example, the transform could be a decompression routine given by
a Java class appearing as a base64 encoded parameter to a Java
algorithm. However, applications should refrain from using application-specific transforms
if they wish their signatures to be verifiable outside of their application domain.
Section 6.6: Transform Algorithms defines the list of
DigestMethod is a required element that identifies the digest algorithm to be applied to the signed object. This element uses the general structure here for algorithms specified in section 6.1: Algorithm Identifiers.
Schema Definition: <element name='DigestMethod'> <complexType content='elementOnly'> <any minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='*'/> <attribute name='Algorithm' type='uri' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'/> </complexType> </element>
DTD: <!ELEMENT DigestMethod (#PCDATA) > <!ATTLIST DigestMethod Algorithm CDATA #REQUIRED >
DigestValue is an element that contains the encoded value of the digest. The digest is always encoded using base64 [MIME].
Schema Definition: <element name='DigestValue' type='string'/>
DTD: <!ELEMENT DigestValue (#PCDATA) >
<!-- base64 encoded signature value -->
KeyInfo may contain keys, names, certificates and other public key management information (such as in-band key distribution or agreement data or data supporting any other method.) This specification defines a few simple types but applications may place their own key identification and exchange semantics within this element through the XML-namespace facility. [XML-ns]
Schema Definition: <element name='KeyInfo'> <complexType content='elementOnly'> <group order='choice' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'> <element name='KeyName' type='string'/> <element ref='ds:KeyValue'/> <element name='SubjectName' type='string'/> <element name='RetrievalMethod' type='uri'/> <element ref='ds:X509Data'/> <element ref='ds:PGPData'/> <element name='MgmtData' type='string' minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='1'/> </group> <attribute name='Id' type='ID' minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='1'/> </complexType> </element> <element name='KeyValue'> <complexType content='mixed'> <element ref='ds:DSAKeyValue'/> <element ref='ds:RSAKeyValue'/> </complexType > </element>
DTD: <!ELEMENT KeyInfo ((KeyName | KeyValue | RetrievalMethod | X509Data | PGPData | MgmtData)+) > <!ATTLIST KeyInfo Id ID #IMPLIED> <!ELEMENT KeyName (#PCDATA) > <!ELEMENT KeyValue (#PCDATA|DSAKeyValue|RSAKeyValue)*> <!ELEMENT RetrievalMethod (#PCDATA) > <!ELEMENT MgmtData (#PCDATA)>
KeyInfo is an optional element that enables the recipient(s) to obtain the
key(s) needed to validate the signature. If omitted, the recipient is expected to be able
to identify the key based on application context information. Multiple declarations within
KeyInfo refer to the same key. Applications may define and use any mechanism they choose
through inclusion of elements from a different namespace.
Compliant versions implementing
KeyInfo MUST implement
and SHOULD implement
KeyNamecontains an identifier for the key, which may be useful to the recipient. It may be a simple string name, index, encoded domain name, email address, etc.
KeyValuecontains the actual key(s) used to validate the signature. If the key is sent in protected form, the
MgmtDataelement should be used. Specific types must be defined for each algorithm type (see algorithms).
RetrievalMethodis a URI (including optional query parameters) that may be used to obtain key and/or certificate information.
X509Datacontains an identifier of the key/cert used for validation (either an IssuerSerial value, a subject name, or a subjectkeyID) and an optional collection of certificates and revocation/status information which may be used by the recipient. IssuerSerial contains the encoded issuer name [RFC2253] along with the serial number.
PGPDatacontains data associated with a PGP key.
MgmtDatacontains in-band key distribution or agreement data. Examples may include Diffie-Hellman key exchange, RSA key encryption etc.
Schema Definition <element name='X509Data'> <complexType content='elementOnly'> <group order='seq' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'> <group order='choice' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'> <element ref='ds:X509IssuerSerial'/> <element name='X509SKI' type='string'/> <element name='X509SubjectName' type='string'/> </group> <element name='X509Certificate' type='string' minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='*'/> <element name='X509CRL' type='string' minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='*'/> </group> </complexType> </element> <element name='X509IssuerSerial'> <complexType content='elementOnly'> <group order='seq' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'> <element name='X509IssuerName' type='string' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'/> <element name='X509SerialNumber' type='string' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'/> </group> </complexType> </element> <element name='PGPData'> <complexType content='elementOnly'> <group order='seq' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'> <element name='PGPKeyID' type='string' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'/> <element name='PGPKeyPacket' type='string' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'/> </group> </complexType> </element>
DTD: <!ELEMENT X509Data ((X509IssuerSerial | X509SKI | X509SubjectName), X509Certificate*, X509CRL*)> <!ELEMENT X509IssuerSerial (X509IssuerName, X509SerialNumber) > <!ELEMENT X509IssuerName (#PCDATA) > <!ELEMENT X509SubjectName (#PCDATA) > <!ELEMENT X509SerialNumber (#PCDATA) > <!ELEMENT X509SKI (#PCDATA) > <!ELEMENT X509Certificate (#PCDATA) > <!ELEMENT X509CRL (#PCDATA) > <!ELEMENT PGPData (PGPKeyID, PGPKeyPacket?) > <!ELEMENT PGPKeyPacket (#PCDATA) > <!ELEMENT PGPKeyID (#PCDATA) >
Object is an optional element that may occur one or more times. When
present, this element may contain any data. The
Object element may include
optional MIME type, ID, and encoding attributes.
MimeType attribute is an optional attribute which describes the data
Object. This is a string with values defined by [MIME]. For example, if the
Object contains XML, the
could be text/xml. This attribute is purely advisory; no validation of the
information is required by this specification.
Id is commonly referenced from a
Manifest. This element is typically used for enveloping signatures where the
object being signed is to be included in the signature document. The digest is calculated
over the entire
Object element including start and end tags.
Note, if the application wishes to exclude the
<Object> tags from
the digest calculation the
Reference must identify the actual data object
(easy for XML documents) or a transform must be used to remove the
tags (likely where the data object is non-XML). Exclusion of the object tags may be
desired for cases where one wants the signature to remain valid if the data object is
moved from inside a signature to outside the signature (or vice-versa), or where the
content of the
Object is an encoding of an original binary document and it is
desired to extract and decode so as to sign the original bitwise representation.
Schema Definition: <element name='Object' > <complexType content='mixed'> <any minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='*'/> <attribute name='Id' type='ID' minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='1'/> <attribute name='MimeType' type='string' minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='1'/> <attribute name='Encoding' type='uri' minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='1'/> </complexType> </element>
DTD: <!ELEMENT Object (#PCDATA|SignatureProperties|Manifest)*> <!ATTLIST Object Id ID #IMPLIED MimeType CDATA #IMPLIED Encoding CDATA #IMPLIED >
This section describes the optional to implement
elements and describes the handling of XML processing instructions and comments. With
respect to the elements
section specifies syntax and little behavior -- it is left to the application. These
elements can appear anywhere the parent's content model permits; the
content model only permits them within
Manifest element provides a list of
difference from the list in
SignedInfo is that it is application defined
which, if any, of the digests are actually checked against the objects referenced and what
to do if the object is inaccessible or the digest compare fails. If a
is pointed to from
SignedInfo, the digest over the
itself will be checked by the core signature validation behavior. The digests within such
Manifest are checked at application discretion. If a
is referenced from another
Manifest, even the overall digest of this two
Manifest might not be checked.
Schema Definition: <element name='Manifest'> <complexType content='elementOnly'> <group order='seq' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'> <element ref='ds:Reference' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='*'/> </group> <attribute name='Id' type='ID' minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='1'/> </complexType> </element>
DTD: <!ELEMENT Manifest (Reference*) > <!ATTLIST Manifest Id ID #IMPLIED >
Additional information items concerning the generation of the signature(s) can be
placed in a
SignatureProperty element (i.e., date/time stamp or the serial
number of cryptographic hardware used in signature generation).
Schema Definition: <element name='SignatureProperties'> <complexType content='elementOnly'> <element ref='ds:SignatureProperty' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='*'/> <attribute name='Id' type='ID' minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='1'/> </complexType> </element> <element name='SignatureProperty'> <complexType content='mixed'> <any namespace='##other' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='*'/> <attribute name='Target' type='uri' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'/> </complexType> </element>
DTD: <!ELEMENT SignatureProperties (SignatureProperty+) > <!ATTLIST SignatureProperties Id ID #IMPLIED > <!ELEMENT SignatureProperty (#PCDATA) > <!ATTLIST SignatureProperty Target CDATA #REQUIRED >
No XML processing instructions (PIs) are used by this specification.
Note that PIs placed inside
SignedInfo by an application will be signed
CanonicalizationMethod algorithm discards them. (This is true for
any signed XML content.) All of the
CanonicalizationMethods specified within
this specification retain PIs. When a PI is part of content that is signed (e.g., within
or referenced XML documents) any change to the PI will obviously result in a signature
XML comments are not used by this specification.
Note that unless
CanonicalizationMethod removes comments within
or any other referenced XML, they will be signed. Consequently, a change to the comment
will cause a signature failure. Similarly, the XML signature over any XML data will be
sensitive to comment changes unless a comment-ignoring canonicalization/transform method,
such as the Canonical XML [XML-c14n], is specified.
This section identifies algorithms used with the XML digital signature standard.
Entries contain the identifier to be used in
Signature elements, a reference
to the formal specification, and definitions, where applicable, for the representation of
keys and the results of cryptographic operations.
Algorithms are identified by URIs that appear as an attribute to the element that
identifies the algorithms' role (
CanonicalizationMethod). All algorithms used herein take parameters but in
many cases the parameters are implicit. For example, a
implicitly given two parameters: the keying info and the output of
SignedInfo directly if there is no
Explicit additional parameters to an algorithm appear as content elements within the
algorithm role element. Such parameter elements have a descriptive element name, which is
frequently algorithm specific, and MUST be in the XML Signature namespace or an algorithm
This specification defines a set of algorithms, their URIs, and requirements for implementation. Requirements are specified over implementation, not over requirements for signature use. Furthermore, the mechanism is extensible, alternative algorithms may be used by signature applications.
|Algorithm Type||Algorithm||Requirements||Algorithm URI|
Note that the normative identifier is the complete URI in the table though they are frequently abbreviated in XML syntax as "&dsig;base64" or the like.
Only one digest algorithm is defined herein. However, it is expected that one or more additional strong digest algorithms will be developed in connection with the US Advanced Encryption Standard effort. Use of MD5 [MD5] is NOT RECOMMENDED because recent advances in cryptography have cast doubt on its strength.
The SHA-1 algorithm [SHA-1] takes no explicit parameters. An example of an SHA-1 DigestAlg element is:
A SHA-1 digest is a 160-bit string. The content of the DigestValue element shall be the base64 encoding of this bit string viewed as a 20-octet octet stream. For example, the DigestValue element for the message digest:
A9993E36 4706816A BA3E2571 7850C26C 9CD0D89D
from Appendix A of the SHA-1 standard would be:
MAC algorithms take two implicit parameters, their keying material determined from
and the byte stream output by
directly if there is no
CanonicalizationMethod. MACs and signature algorithms
are syntactically identical but a MAC implies a shared secret key.
The HMAC algorithm (RFC2104 [HMAC]) takes the truncation length in bits as a parameter; if the
parameter is not specified then all the bits of the hash are output. An example of an
<SignatureMethod Algorithm="&dsig;hmac-sha1"> <HMACOutputLength>128</HMACOutputLength> </SignatureMethod>
The output of the HMAC algorithm is ultimately the output (possibly truncated) of the chosen digest algorithm. This value shall be base64 encoded in the same straightforward fashion as the output of the digest algorithms. Example: the SignatureValue element for the HMAC-SHA1 digest
9294727A 3638BB1C 13F48EF8 158BFC9D
from the test vectors in [HMAC] would be
Schema Definition: <element name='HMACOutputLength' type='integer' minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='1'/>
DTD: <!ELEMENT HMACOutputLength (#PCDATA)>
Signature algorithms take two implicit parameters, their keying material determined
KeyInfo and the byte stream output by
SignedInfo directly if there is no
Signature and MAC algorithms are syntactically identical but a signature implies public
Note: the schema and DTD declarations within this section are not yet part of section 9: schemas.
The DSA algorithm [DSS] takes no explicit parameters. An example
of a DSA
SignatureMethod element is:
The output of the DSA algorithm consists of a pair of integers usually referred by the pair (r, s). The signature value consists of the base64 encoding of the concatenation of two octet-streams that respectively result from the octet-encoding of the values r and s. Integer to octet-stream conversion must be done according to the I2OSP operation defined in the RFC 2437 [PKCS1] specification with a k parameter equal to 20. For example, the SignatureValue element for a DSA signature (r, s) with values specified in hexadecimal:
r = 8BAC1AB6 6410435C B7181F95 B16AB97C 92B341C0
s = 41E2345F 1F56DF24 58F426D1 55B4BA2D B6DCD8C8
from the example in Appendix 5 of the DSS standard would be
DSA key values have the following set of fields: P, Q, G and Y are mandatory when appearing as a key value, J, seed and pgenCounter are optional but SHOULD be present. (The seed and pgenCounter fields MUST appear together or be absent). All parameters are encoded as base64 values.
Schema:<element name='DSAKeyValue'> <complexType content='elementOnly'> <group order='seq' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'> <element name='ds:P' type='string' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'/> <element name='ds:Q' type='string' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'/> <element name='ds:G' type='string' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'/> <element name='ds:Y' type='string' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'/> <element name='ds:J' type='string' minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='1'/> </group> <group order='seq' minOccurs='0' maxOccurs='1'> <element name='ds:Seed' type='string' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'/> <element name='ds:PgenCounterQ' type='string' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'/> </group> </complexType> </element>
<!ELEMENT DSAKeyValue (P, Q, G, Y, J?, (Seed, PgenCounter)?) ><!ELEMENT P (#PCDATA) > <!ELEMENT Q (#PCDATA) > <!ELEMENT G (#PCDATA) > <!ELEMENT Y (#PCDATA) > <!ELEMENT J (#PCDATA) > <!ELEMENT Seed (#PCDATA) > <!ELEMENT PgenCounter (#PCDATA) >
The expression "RSA algorithm" as used in this specification refers to the
RSASSA-PKCS1-v1_5 algorithm described in RFC 2437 [PKCS1].
The RSA algorithm takes no explicit parameters. An example of an RSA
The output of the RSA algorithm is an octet string. The SignatureValue content for an RSA signature shall be the base64 encoding of this octet string. Example: TBD
RSA key values have two fields: Modulus and Exponent.
Schema:<element name='RSAKeyValue'> <complexType content='elementOnly'> <element name='ds:Modulus' type='string' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'/> <element name='ds:Exponent' type='string' minOccurs='1' maxOccurs='1'/> </complexType> </element>
<!ELEMENT RSAKeyValue (Modulus, Exponent) ><!ELEMENT Modulus (#PCDATA) > <!ELEMENT Exponent (#PCDATA) >
Canonicalization algorithms take one implicit parameter when they appear as a
An example of a minimal canonicalization element is:
The minimal canonicalization algorithm:
An example of an XML canonicalization element is:
The normative specification of Canonical XML is [XML-c14n].
Transform algorithm has three implicit parameters. The first is a byte
stream from the
Reference or the output of an earlier
The second and third are the optional
attributes that can be specified on the
Application developers are strongly encouraged to support all transforms listed in this section as RECOMMENDED unless the application environment has resource constraints that would make such support impractical. The Working Group goal is to maximize application interoperability on XML signatures, and the working group expects ubiquitous availability of software to support these transforms that can be incorporated into applications without extensive development.
Any canonicalization algorithm that can be used for
can be used as a
The normative specification for base 64 and quoted-printable decoding transforms is [MIME]. Neither the base64 nor the quoted-printable
element has content. The input is decoded by the algorithms. This transform is useful if
an application needs to sign the raw data associated with the encoded content of an
element. Quoted-printable is provided, in addition to base64, in keeping with the XML
support of a roughly human readable final format.
The XPath transform output is the result of applying an XPath
expression to an input string. The XPath expression appears in a parameter element named
The input string is equivalent to the result of dereferencing the URI attribute of the
element containing the XPath transform, then, in sequence, applying all transforms that
appear before the XPath transform in the
The primary purpose of this transform is to ensure that only specifically defined
changes to the input XML document are permitted after the signature is affixed. The XPath
expression can be created such that it includes all elements except those meeting specific
criteria. It is the responsibility of the XPath expression author to ensure that all
necessary information has been included in the output such that modification of the
excluded information does not affect the interpretation of the output in the application
context. One simple example of this is the omission of an enveloped signature from a
The XPath transform establishes the following evaluation context for the XPath
expression given in the
XPath parameter element:
An XML processor is used to read the input XML document and produce a parse tree capable of being used as the initial context node for the XPath evaluation, as described in the previous section. If the input is not a well-formed XML document, then the XPath transform must throw an exception.
Validating and non-validating XML processors only behave in the same way (e.g. with respect to attribute value normalization and entity reference definition) until an external reference is encountered. If the XPath transform implementation uses a non-validating processor, and it encounters an external reference in the input document, then an exception must be thrown to indicate that the necessary algorithm is unavailable (The XPath transform cannot simply generate incorrect output since many applications distinguish an unverifiable signature from an invalid signature).
As a result of reading the input with an XML processor, linefeeds are normalized, attribute values are normalized, CDATA sections are replaced by their content, and entity references are recursively replaced by substitution text. In addition, consecutive characters are grouped into a single text node.
The XPath implementation is expected to convert the information in the input XML document and the XPath expression string to the character domain prior to making any comparisons such that the result of evaluating the expression is equivalent regardless of the initial encoding of the input XML document and XPath expression.
The namespace prefix of each node appearing in the original document must be preserved by the XML processor used by the XPath transform implementation. This is necessary in order to produce the serialized result.
Although an node-set is unordered, based on the expression evaluation requirements of the XPath function library, the document order position of each node must be available, except for the attribute and namespace axes. The XPath transform imposes no order on attribute and namespace nodes during XPath expression evaluation, and expressions based on attribute or namespace node position are not interoperable. The XPath transform does define an order for namespace and attribute nodes during serialization.
A node-set is converted into a string by generating the representative text for each node in the node-set. The nodes of a node-set are processed in ascending order of the nodes' document order positions except for attribute and namespace nodes, which do not have document order positions.
The nodes in the attribute and namespace axes will each be processed in lexicographic order, with the namespace axis preceding the attribute axis. Lexicographic comparison is performed using namespace URI as the primary key and local name as secondary key (namespace nodes and attribute nodes with no namespace qualification have an empty namespace URI, which is defined to be lexicographically least). Lexicographic comparison is based on the UCS codepoint values, which is equivalent to lexical ordering based on UTF-8.
The method of text generation is dependent on the node type and given in the following list:
&, all double quote characters with
", and all whitespace characters (#x9, #xA, #xD, and #x20) with two digit hexadecimal character references except for #x20 characters with no preceding #x20.
&, all open angle brackets (<) are replaced by
<, and all #xD characters are replaced by
. If the string value is empty, then the leading space is not added.
The QName of a node is either the local name if the namespace prefix string is empty or the namespace prefix, a colon, then the local name of the element. The namespace prefix used in the QName MUST be the same one which appeared in the input document.
The result of the XPath expression is a string, boolean, number, or node-set. If the result of the XPath expression is a string, then the string converted to UTF-8 is the output of the XPath transform. If the result is a boolean or number, then the XPath transform output is computed by converting the boolean or number to a string as if by a call to the XPath string() function, then converting to UTF-8. If the result of the XPath expression is a node-set, then the XPath transform result is computed by serializing the node-set with a UTF-8 encoding.
For example, consider creating an enveloped signature S1 (a
element with an
id attribute equal to "S1"). The signature S1 is
enveloped because its
Reference URI indicates some ancestor element of S1.
Elements within S1 are changed during signature creation (e.g. the digest value must be
put inside the
DigestValue and S1's
SignatureValue must be
subsequently calculated). To prevent these changes from invalidating the digest value in
we add a transform that omits S1 from the digest calculation. This can be done with an
XPath transform containing the following XPath expression in its
The '/descendant-or-self::node()' means that all nodes in the entire parse tree starting at the root node are candidates for the result node-set. For each node candidate, the node is included in the resultant node-set if and only if the node test (the boolean expression in the square brackets) evaluates to "true" for that node. The node test returns true for all nodes except S1 and its descendant nodes.
Note that this expression works even if the XPath transform is implemented with a non-validating processor because S1 is identified by comparison to the value of an attribute named 'id' rather than by using the XPath id() function. Although the id() function is useful when the 'id' attribute is not named 'id', the XPath expression author will know the 'id' attribute's name when writing the expression.
It is RECOMMENDED that the XPath be constructed such that the result of this operation is a well-formed XML document. This should be the case if root element of the input resource is included by the XPath (even if a number of its descendant nodes are omitted by the XPath expression). It is also RECOMMENDED that nodes should not be omitted from the input if they affect the interpretation of the output nodes in the application context. The XPath expression author is responsible for this since the XPath expression author knows the application context.
The Transform element contains a single parameter child element called
whose content MUST conform to the XSL Transforms [XSLT] language syntax. The
processing rules for the XSLT transform are stated in the XSLT specification [XSLT].
Digital signatures only work if the verification calculations are performed on exactly the same bits as the signing calculations. If the surface representation of the signed data can change between signing and verification, then some way to standardize the changeable aspect must be used before signing and verification. For example, even for simple ASCII text there are at least three widely used line ending sequences. If it is possible for signed text to be modified from one line ending convention to another between the time of signing and signature verification, then the line endings need to be canonicalized to a standard form before signing and verification or the signatures will break.
XML is subject to surface representation changes and to processing which discards some surface information. For this reason, XML digital signatures have a provision for indicating canonicalization methods in the signature so that a verifier can use the same canonicalization as the signer.
Throughout this specification we distinguish between the canonicalization of a
data object and other signed XML data objects. It is possible for an isolated XML document
to be treated as if it were binary data so that no changes can occur. In that case, the
digest of the document will not change and it need not be canonicalized if it is signed
and verified as such. However, XML that is read and processed using standard XML parsing
and processing techniques is frequently changed such that some of its surface
representation information is lost or modified. In particular, this will occur in many
cases for the
Signature and enclosed
SignedInfo elements since
they, and possibly an encompassing XML document, will be processed as XML.
Similarly, these considerations apply to
SignatureProperties elements if those elements have been digested, their
is to be checked, and they are being processed as XML.
The kinds of changes in XML that may need to be canonicalized can be divided into three categories. There are those related to the basic [XML], as described in 7.1 below. There are those related to [DOM], [SAX], or similar processing as described in 7.2 below. And, third, there is the possibility of character set conversion, such as between UTF-8 and UTF-16, both of which all XML standards compliant processors are required to support. Any canonicalization algorithm should yield output in a specific fixed character set. For both the minimal canonicalization defined in this specification and the W3C Canonical XML [XML-c14n], that character set is UTF-8.
XML 1.0 [XML] defines an interface where a conformant application reading XML is given certain information from that XML and not other information. In particular,
Note that items (2), (4), (5C), and (6) depend on specific schema, DTD, or similar
declarations. In the general case, such declarations will not be available to or used by
the signature verifier. Thus, to interoperate between different XML implementations, the
following syntax contraints MUST be observed when generating any signed material to be
processed as XML, including the
In addition to the canonicalization and syntax constraints discussed above, many XML applications use the Document Object Model [DOM] or The Simple API for XML [SAX]. DOM maps XML into a tree structure of nodes and typically assumes it will be used on an entire document with subsequent processing being done on this tree. SAX converts XML into a series of events such as a start tag, content, etc. In either case, many surface characteristics such as the ordering of attributes and insignificant white space within start/end tags is lost. In addition, namespace declarations are mapped over the nodes to which they apply, losing the namespace prefixes in the source text and, in most cases, losing where namespace declarations appeared in the original instance.
If an XML Signature is to be produced or verified on a system using the DOM or SAX processing, a canonical method is needed to serialize the relevant part of a DOM tree or sequence of SAX events. XML canonicalization specifications, such as [XML-c14n], are based only on information which is preserved by DOM and SAX. For an XML Signature to be verifiable by an implementation using DOM or SAX, not only must the syntax constraints given in section 7.1 be followed but an appropriate XML canonicalization MUST be specified so that the verifier can re-serialize DOM/SAX mediated input into the same byte sequence that was signed.
The XML Signature specification provides a very flexible digital signature mechanism. Implementors must give consideration to their application threat models and to the following factors.
A requirement of this specification is to permit signatures to "apply to a
part or totality of a XML document." (See section 3.1.3 of [XML-Signature-RD].)
Transforms mechanism meets this requirement by permitting one to sign
data derived from processing the content of the identified resource. For instance,
applications that wish to sign a form, but permit users to enter limited field data
without invalidating a previous signature on the form might use XPath [XPath]
to exclude those portions the user needs to change.
Transforms may be
arbitrarily specified and may include canonicalization instructions or even XSLT
transformations. Of course, signatures over such a derived document do not secure any
information discarded by the
Furthermore, core validation behavior does not confirm that the signed data was obtained by applying each step of the indicated transforms. (Though it does check that the digest of the resulting content matches that specified in the signature.) For example, some application may be satisfied with verifying an XML signature over a cached copy of already transformed data. Other application might require that content be freshly dereferenced and transformed.
If signing is intended to convey the judgment or consent of an automated mechanism or person, then it is normally necessary to secure as exactly as practical the information that was presented to that mechanism or person. Note that this can be accomplished by literally signing what was presented, such as the screen images shown a user. However, this may result in data which is difficult for subsequent software to manipulate. Instead, one can sign the data along with whatever filters, style sheets, client profile or other information that affects its presentation.
Also note that the use of Canonical XML [XML-c14n]
ensures that all internal entities and XML namespaces are expanded within the content
being signed. All entities are replaced with their definitions and the canonical form
explicitly represents the namespace that an element would otherwise inherit. Those
application that do not canonicalize XML content (especially the
element) SHOULD NOT use internal entities and SHOULD represent the namespace explicitly
within the content being signed since they can not rely upon canonicalization to do this
This standard specifies public key signatures and keyed hash authentication codes. These have substantially different security models. Furthermore, it permits user specified algorithms which may have other models.
With public key signatures, any number of parties can hold the public key and verify signatures while only the parties with the private key can create signatures. The number of holders of the private key should be minimized and preferably be one. Confidence by verifiers in the public key they are using and its binding to the entity or capabilities represented by the corresponding private key is an important issue, usually addressed by certificate or online authority systems.
Keyed hash authentication codes, based on secret keys, are typically much more efficient in terms of the computational effort required but have the characteristic that all verifiers need to have possession of the same key as the signer. Thus any verifier can forge signatures.
This standard permits user provided signature algorithms and keying information designators. Such user provided algorithms may have different security models. For example, methods involving biometrics usually depend on a physical characteristic of the authorized user that can not be changed the way public or secret keys can be and may have other security model differences.
The strength of a particular signature depends on all links in the security chain. This includes the signature and digest algorithms used, the strength of the key generation [RANDOM] and the size of the key, the security of key and certificate authentication and distribution mechanisms, certificate chain validation policy, protection of cryptographic processing from hostile observation and tampering, etc.
Care must be exercised by validaters in executing the various algorithms that may be specified in an XML signature and in the processing of any "executable content" that might be provided to such algorithms as parameters, such as XSLT transforms. The algorithms specified in this document will usually be implemented via a trusted library but even there perverse parameters might cause unacceptable processing or memory demand. Even more care may be warranted with application defined algorithms.
The security of an overall system will also depend on the security and integrity of its operating procedures, its personnel, and on the administrative enforcement of those procedures. All the factors listed in this section are important to the overall security of a system; however, most are beyond the scope of this specification.
Objectdesignates a specific XML element. Occasionally we refer to a data object as a document or as a resource's content. The term element content is used to describe the data between XML start and end tags [XML]. The term XML document is used to describe data objects which conform to the XML specification [XML].
Objectelement is merely one type of digital data (or document) that can be signed via a
Signatureelement, and can be identified via a
URIor transform. Consequently, the signature is "detached" from the content it signs. This definition typically applies to separate data objects, but it also includes the instance where the
Signatureand data object reside within the same XML document but are sibling elements.
Objectelement of the signature itself. The
Object(or its content) is identified via a
URIfragment idenitifier or transform).
Reference, matches its specified
SignatureValuematches the result of processing
SignatureMethodas specified in section 3.2.
Donald E. Eastlake 3rd
65 Shindegan Hill Road
Carmel, NY 10512 USA
Joseph M. Reagle Jr., W3C
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Laboratory for Computer Science
NE43-350, 545 Technology Square
Cambridge, MA 02139
Phone: + 1.617.258.7621
666 Fifth Ave, 3rd Floor
NY, NY 10103 USA