A client that uses a server certificate in order to encrypt a message needs to reference this certificate in code. Inside the message the reference would typically look like this:
Or in any of a few other formats.
The required format can be declared in WS-Policy. For example:
However many services do not have WS-Policy so it's not a must.
There are various ways to get this SKI from a certificate. Some of them are:
Guess which option causes us most trouble? Right, the last one. The problem is that it is not concrete enough. There were a few ways to generate this SKI and so there were misunderstandings between Java and Microsoft applications and even between different versions of the same frameworks.
Let's take a sample certificate as an example. First convince yourself that it does not contain SKI extension:
Now look at the format WebSphere 6 server would expect:
WSE2 would generate:
And WSE 3 generates this one:
With WCF you would get the following exception:
As WCF does not work with certificates that do not have SKI when the latter is explicitly required - and that's what I did for this sample.
So by all and all we've got 4 different SKI's out of one certificate!
Out of these 4 frameworks there is a way to interoperate using SKI and X.509 that does not contain SKI extension between the following:
Note: It is possible to interoperate between these platform in various other ways. If you now design your system you should use these ways. The information here is provided for those who are already working with a given systems.
So how can we reach this interoperability?
To interoperate with WebSphere all you need to do is to change WSE2 configuration to:
And it will generate a WebSphere-like SKI (which is more standard all around).
To interoperate between WSE2 and WSE3 you need to leave the default WSE2 configuration as is and change WSE3:
Note: even though WSE 3 allows skiMode="RFC3280" as WSE2 does the calculation is different and will not interoperate.
As for the rest - you would have to use a certificate with an SKI extension or use another type of reference instead.