Tech Industry

Microsoft tightens .Net tool security

The software maker releases an add-on package for its .Net software that it says will allow developers to create more secure Web services applications.

Microsoft on Monday released software tools that it claims will allow developers to create more secure and reliable Web services.

The software maker debuted Web Services Enhancements (WSE) 1.0, a package of add-ons to its .Net software that adhere to the latest standards on security, message routing and transmitting file attachments via Web services. Developers can download the software for free and work with it in conjunction with Microsoft's Visual Studio.Net development tool bundle.

As part of its .Net initiative, Microsoft has introduced a series of programming tools and software over the past year that runs applications complying with Web services standards. Web services are applications that can exchange data among disparate computers using Internet protocols.

The tools are compliant with the Web Services Security (WS-S) standard that was designed by IBM and Microsoft. The original set of Web services standards did not address security, but adherence to WS-S and other security methods is critical to the adoption of Web services in corporate environments.

Microsoft's implementation of WS-S "allows companies to digitally sign messages so the receiving end can ensure that messages have not been tampered with," said Rebecca Dias, product manager for Web services and Web Services technical marketing at the software maker. Companies can also exploit their existing security methods for authorizing user access, such as PKI (public key infrastructure), Microsoft's network directory or Kerberos security, she said.

Other enhancements to WSE include support for two other new Web services standards--WS-Routing and WS-Attachments. With WS-Routing support, applications can route tasks to a particular Web server for better performance or to serve Web pages specific to the customer's location, Microsoft officials explained. WS-Attachments gives programmers more control over handling files attached to Web services--such as media files--to improve application performance.

Microsoft also announced Monday that three software companies plan to embed the Web services enhancements in their products. The partners are mainframe data access company WRQ, Web services networking firm F5 Networks and WestGlobal, which provides Web services management software.

For its part, IBM recently introduced a Web services Toolkit (WSTK) for its own developer community. The WSTK 3.3 includes demonstrations to better manage Web services applications and to test applications before deployment.