simplesamlphp/xml-security

SimpleSAMLphp library for XML Security

v1.0.6 2022-11-02 21:32 UTC

README

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This library implements XML signatures and encryption. It provides an extensible interface that allows you to use your own signature and encryption implementations, and deals with everything else to sign, verify, encrypt and decrypt your XML objects. It is built on top of the xml-common library, which provides you with a standard API to create PHP objects from their XML representation, as well as producing XML from your objects. The aim of the library is to provide a secure, yet flexible implementation of the xmldsig and xmlenc standards in PHP.

The library provides two main ways to use it, one API for signed XML documents, and another for encrypted ones. Additionally, the lower level APIs are available to implement those operations yourself if needed, although we highly recommend using the main interfaces.

Signature API

The XML signature API consists mainly of two interfaces:

  • SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\SignableElementInterface
  • SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\SignedElementInterface

In general, both should be used together. The former signals that an object can be signed (and as such mandates the implementation of a sign() method in the object), while the latter indicates that an object is already signed and allows the verification of its signature by means of verify() method.

Since the signature API is provided via PHP interfaces, your objects need to implement those interfaces. For your convenience, each interface is accompanied by two traits with the actual implementation for the PHP interfaces:

  • SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\SignableElementTrait
  • SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\SignedElementTrait

Both declare an abstract getId() method that you will have to implement, since only you know what attribute is declared in your XML objects to act as an xml:id.

The two interfaces mentioned extend from a third one, SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\CanonicalizableElementInterface. This interface ensures that your XML objects can be properly canonicalized, so that if they were created from an actual XML document, it will be possible to restore that original XML document from your object. Again, a SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\CanonicalizableElementTrait is provided for your convenience. This trait implements the canonicalization for you, and ensures that your object can be serialized and later unserialized, but in exchange requires you to implement a getOriginalXML() method. This means you will have to keep the original XML that created your object, if any.

In general, your code should implement both main interfaces and use the traits. The bare minimum you will need to do to add XML signature capabilities to your objects will look like the following:

namespace MyNamespace;

use DOMElement;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\SignableElementInterface;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\SignableElementTrait;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\SignedElementInterface;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\SignedElementTrait;

class MyObject implements SignableElementInterface, SignedElementInterface
{
    use SignableElementTrait;
    use SignedElementTrait;
    
    ...
    
    public function getId(): ?string
    {
        // return the ID of your object
    }
    
    
    protected function getOriginalXML(): DOMElement
    {
        // return the original XML, if any, or the XML generated by your object
    }
}

However, we strongly recommend your XML objects to build on top of the API provided by xml-common. That way, you should probably have an abstract class to declare your namespace and namespace prefix:

namespace MyNamespace;

use SimpleSAML\XML\AbstractElement;

abstract class AbstractMyNSElement extends AbstractElement
{
    public const NS = 'my:namespace';
    
    public const NS_PREFIX = 'prefix';
}

Then your object can extend from that:

namespace MyNamespace;

use DOMElement;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\SignableElementInterface;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\SignableElementTrait;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\SignedElementInterface;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\SignedElementTrait;

class MyObject extends AbstractMyNSElement 
    implements SignableElementInterface, SignedElementInterface
{
    use SignableElementTrait;
    use SignedElementTrait;
    
    ...
    
    public function getId(): ?string
    {
        // return the ID of your object
    }
    
    
    protected function getOriginalXML(): DOMElement
    {
        // return the original XML, if any, or the XML generated by your object
    }
    
    
    public static function fromXML(DOMElement $xml): object
    {
        // build an instance of your object based on an XML document
        // representing it
    }
    
    
    public function toXML(DOMElement $parent = null): DOMElement
    {
        // build an XML representation of your object
    }
}

Have a look at the CustomSignable class provided with the tests in this repository to get an idea of how a working implementation could look like.

When dealing with XML signatures, you typically need to provide two things: the signature algorithm you want to use and a key. Depending on the algorithm, one type of key or another would be suitable. For that reason, this library introduces the concept of a SignatureAlgorithm, which is a given instance of an algorithm with a key associated. SignatureAlgorithms can be used then as signers (when signing an object) and verifiers (when used to verify a signature). This interface, together with the ones provided for key material and signature backends, will allow you to sign and verify signatures without much effort.

Signing

If you want to sign an object representing an XML document, the SignableElementTrait provides you with a doSign() method that you can use for your convenience. This method takes the XML document you want to sign, and returns another document result of applying all signature transforms to the input. The signer implementation to use will be obtained from the $signer property of the trait, which in turn will be set by the sign() method it provides as well. After the XML is signed successfully, doSign() will not only return the signed version of it, but also populate the $signature property with a Signature object.

If you are using the API provided by xml-common, you would typically implement support for signing your objects like this:

    public function toXML(DOMElement $parent = null): DOMElement
    {
        if ($this->signer !== null) {
            $signedXML = $this->doSign($this->getMyXML());
            $signedXML->insertBefore($this->signature->toXML($signedXML), $signedXML->firstChild);
            return $signedXML;
        }

        return $this->getMyXML();
    }

Note that you will need to implement a mechanism to obtain the actual DOMElement to sign. It could be a method itself, as depicted in this example, or it could be stored in a class property.

At this point, your object is ready to be signed. You just need to create a signer, pass it to sign(), and create the XML representation (which will do the actual signing) by calling toXML():

use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\Constants as C;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\Alg\Signature\SignatureAlgorithmFactory;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\Key\PrivateKey;

$key = PrivateKey::fromFile('/path/to/key.pem');
$signer = (new SignatureAlgorithmFactory())->getAlgorithm(
    C::SIG_RSA_SHA256,
    $key
);
$myObject->sign($signer);
$signedXML = $myObject->toXML();

That's it, you have signed your first object!

Now, you can customize your signatures as much as you want. For example, you can add the X509 certificate corresponding your private key to it, and specify the canonicalization algorithm to use:

use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\Constants as C;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\ds\KeyInfo;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\ds\X509Certificate;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\ds\X509Data

...

$keyInfo = new KeyInfo(
    [
        new X509Data(
            [
                new X509Certificate($base64EncodedCertificateData)
            ]
        )
    ]
);

$customSignable->sign(
    $signer,
    C::C14N_EXCLUSIVE_WITHOUT_COMMENTS,
    $keyInfo
);

...

If you are planning on embedding your signed object inside a larger XML document, make sure to give it an unique identifier. Your object will need to generate an XML with an ID attribute (of type xml:id) holding the identifier of the element, and the getId() method must return that very same identifier.

Verifying

In order to verify signed objects, the SignedElementInterface provides you with the following methods:

  • getId(): retrieves the unique identifier of the object.
  • getSignature(): retrieves the signature of the object as a SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\ds\Signature object.
  • getValidatingKey(): retrieves the key the signature has been verified with.
  • isSigned(): tells whether the object is in fact signed or not.
  • verify(): verifies the signature of the object.

If your class has implemented support for signing its objects, and you are implementing the SignedElementInterface and using the SignedElementTrait, support for verifying the signatures comes out of the box.

The process for verifying a signature is similar to the one of creating one. You will need to instantiate a signature verifier with some key material and a signature algorithm, and use it to verify the signature itself:

use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\Alg\Signature\SignatureAlgorithmFactory;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\Key\PublicKey;

$verifier = (new SignatureAlgorithmFactory())->getAlgorithm(
    $myObject->getSignature()->getSignedInfo()->getSignatureMethod()->getAlgorithm(),
    PublicKey::fromFile('/path/to/public-key.pem')
);
$verified = $myObject->verify($verifier);

⚠️ WARNING

Note the $verified variable returned by verify(). The method does not return a boolean value to tell you if the signature was verified or not. Instead, if it fails to verify, an exception will be thrown. Its return value then is an object of the same class of your original object ($myObject), only that it is built based on the XML document whose signature has been verified. It is very important that you use only objects built based on a verified signature. Otherwise, any possible issue during the signature process could leave you with a tampered object whose signature doesn't really verify.

There is one alternative way to verify signatures. If the signature itself contains the key we can use to verify it (namely, an X509 certificate), then we can call verify() without passing a verifier to it, and check that the key used to verify the signature matches the one we expect:

use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\ds\X509Certificate;

$trustedCertificate = new X509Certificate($pemEncodedCertificate);
$verified = $myObject->verify();

if ($verified->getValidatingKey() === $trustedCertificate) {
    // signature verified with a trusted certificate
}

This last usage pattern is more convenient since you don't have to create a verifier, although it forces you to remember that you need to check the key used to verify the signature.

Encryption API

The XML encryption API is similar to its signature counterpart, and also consists of two main interfaces:

  • SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\EncryptableElementInterface
  • SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\EncryptedElementInterface

Just like in the signature API, the former signals that an object can be encrypted (and as such requires the implementation of an encrypt() method), while the latter means an object is already encrypted (and therefore requires a decrypt() method to be implemented). There is a substantial difference with the signature API though: you need to implement two different classes, one for your objects themselves, and another for your encrypted objects. The former will then implement EncryptableElementInterface, while the latter will be the one implementing EncryptedElementInterface.

Again, the library provides a couple of traits for your convenience, in order to minimise the amount of code you have to write. Those traits are:

  • SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\EncryptableElementTrait
  • SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\EncryptedElementTrait

Both traits are somewhat asymmetrical, in the sense that while EncryptableElementTrait does implement the encrypt() method, the EncryptedElementTrait does not implement its decrypt() counterpart. This is because the way objects are encrypted may vary a lot, and the application itself will be the only one that knows exactly how that should be done. A basic default implementation that should cover most use cases is provided, though.

As with digital signatures, we provide classes that demonstrate the encryption functionality. You may have a look at the CustomSignable class provided with the tests in order to see how encryption can be added to your objects, and the EncryptedCustom class will then demonstrate how to deal with objects that are already encrypted.

Decrypting objects

In XML encryption, when you have an encrypted object, you typically wrap that inside a specific element that signals that the object represents an encrypted version of another object. You may have your own elements and logic in that encrypted object, but the absolute minimum would be an xenc:EncryptedData element inside. This means you will have to create classes for your encrypted objects, and they will have to implement the EncryptedElementInterface.

The simplest approach is then to take advantage of EncryptedElementTrait and again, we recommend taking advantage of the XML object framework provided by simplesamlphp/xml-common. The only thing you will then have to implement is the decrypt() method, and a couple of getters required by the trait:

use SimpleSAML\XML\AbstractElement;
use SimpleSAML\XML\ElementInterface;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\Alg\Encryption\EncryptionAlgorithmInterface;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\Backend\EncryptionBackend;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\EncryptedElementInterface;

class MyEncryptedObject extends AbstractElement
  implements EncryptedElementInterface
{
    use EncryptedElementTrait;
    
    
    public function getBlacklistedAlgorithms(): ?array
    {
        // return an array with the algorithms you don't want to allow to be used
    }
    
    
    public function getEncryptionBackend(): ?EncryptionBackend
    {
        // return the encryption backend you want to use,
        // or null if you are fine with the default
    }
    
    
    public function decrypt(EncryptionAlgorithmInterface $decryptor): MyObject 
    {
        // implement the actual decryption here with help from the library
    }
}

Note that the value returned by decrypt() here is your own MyObject class. This means MyObject needs to extend SimpleSAML\XML\ElementInterface, but it is also one of the reasons why the implementation of decrypt() is left to the application.

Now, the aim of this library is of course to make your life easier so that you don't actually have to implement decryption yourself. The following implementation of decrypt() will be suitable for most use cases:

    public function decrypt(EncryptionAlgorithmInterface $decryptor): MyObject
    {
        return MyObject::fromXML(
            \SimpleSAML\XML\DOMDocumentFactory::fromString(
                $this->decryptData($decryptor)
            )->documentElement
        );
    }

So what did just happen here? MyObject is supposed to implement ElementInterface, right? That means it must implement a fromXML() static method that creates a new instance of the class based on what's passed to it as a DOMElement object. The DOMElement itself was created with help from the DOMDocumentFactory class, which in turn took the string result of calling the decryptData() method provided by the trait. And that's it, that might be all you need to decrypt your encrypted objects!

Bear in mind though that this is the most basic use case. Your encrypted objects will need to look like this:

<MyEncryptedObject>
  <xenc:EncryptedData xmlns:xenc="http://www.w3.org/2001/04/xmlenc#">
    <xenc:EncryptionMethod Algorithm="..."/>
    <xenc:CipherData>
      <xenc:CipherValue>...</xenc:CipherValue>
    </xenc:CipherData>
  </xenc:EncryptedData>
</MyEncryptedObject>

If you need any more elements inside, attributes in the root element or anything else, you will have to adjust the implementation for that. In that case, you may need a different constructor for your encrypted objects than the one provided by the trait. You can define your own constructor while taking advantage of the one in the trait by renaming the latter:

use SimpleSAML\XML\AbstractElement;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\EncryptedElementInterface;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\xenc\EncryptedData;

class MyEncryptedObject extends AbstractElement
  implements EncryptedElementInterface
{
    use EncryptedElementTrait {
        __construct as constructor;
    }
    
    
    public function __construct(EncryptedData $encryptedData, ...)
    {
        $this->constructor($encryptedData);
        
        ...
    }
}

Similarly, if your encryption scheme does not fit with any of the two supported by default, you will also need to implement it yourself. The two encryption schemes supported are:

  • Shared key encryption: both parties share a secret key and use it to encrypt and decrypt the objects, respectively. This means the <xenc:EncryptionMethod> element will have a block cipher specified in the Algorithm attribute. The $decryptor object passed to the decrypt() method will then be created for that block cipher in particular, and the key used will be a SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\Key\SymmetricKey object with the shared secret as the key material.

  • Asymmetric encryption: in this case, public key cryptography is used to encrypt the objects. However, public key cryptography is extremely costly in computational terms, so in a similar fashion to digital signatures, what we do is to generate a random secret or session key, which will be used to encrypt the object itself with a block cipher, and in turn we will encrypt that key with the recipient's public key.

    In this case, the $decryptor will implement a key transport algorithm (which in turn is just an asymetric encryption algorithm like RSA), and the key attached to it will be a SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\Key\PrivateKey object with the recipient's private key.

    When using asymmetric encryption, your encrypted XML objects will look similar to this:

    <MyEncryptedObject>
      <xenc:EncryptedData xmlns:xenc="http://www.w3.org/2001/04/xmlenc#">
        <xenc:EncryptionMethod Algorithm="BLOCK CIPHER ALGORITHM IDENTIFIER"/>
        <dsig:KeyInfo xmlns:dsig="http://www.w3.org/2000/09/xmldsig#">
          <xenc:EncryptedKey>
            <xenc:EncryptionMethod Algorithm="KEY TRANSPORT ALGORITHM IDENTIFIER"/>
            <xenc:CipherData>
              <xenc:CipherValue>...</xenc:CipherValue>
            </xenc:CipherData>
          </xenc:EncryptedKey>
        </dsig:KeyInfo>
        <xenc:CipherData>
          <xenc:CipherValue>...</xenc:CipherValue>
        </xenc:CipherData>
      </xenc:EncryptedData>
    </MyEncryptedObject> 

    The innermost <xenc:CipherValue> will contain the encrypted session key, while the outermost will contain the encrypted object itself.

The SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\EncryptedElementTrait::decryptData() method is capable of handling both encryption schemes. If your application uses any of those, you can just use the method by passing the appropriate decryptor as explained earlier. If you are using shared key encryption, you can then just do the following:

use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\Alg\Encryption\EncryptionAlgorithmFactory;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\Key\SymmetricKey;

$decryptor = (new EncryptionAlgorithmFactory())->getAlgorithm(
    $myEncryptedObject->getEncryptedData()->getEncryptionMethod()->getAlgorithm(),
    new SymmetricKey('MY SHARED SECRET')
);
$myObject = $myEncryptedObject->decrypt($decryptor);

⚠️ WARNING

Always make sure that the algorithm specified in the <xenc:EncryptionMethod> element is a block cipher algorithm. Only in that case the library will attempt to decrypt using the shared secret encryption scheme. The SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\Constants::$BLOCK_CIPHER_ALGORITHMS associative array contains as keys all the identifiers of block ciphers supported by this library.

Alternatively, if your application uses asymmetric encryption, you will have to use an appropriate decryptor instantiated with your private key in order to decrypt your objects:

use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\Alg\KeyTransport\KeyTransportAlgorithmFactory;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\Key\PrivateKey;

$decryptor = (new KeyTransportAlgorithmFactory())->getAlgorithm(
    $myEncryptedObject->getEncryptedKey()->getEncryptionMethod()->getAlgorithm(),
    PrivateKey::fromFile('/path/to/private-key.pem')
);
$myObject = $myEncryptedObject->decrypt($decryptor);

One last note: you may have noticed the getBlacklistedAlgorithms() and getEncryptionBackend() methods that you are required to implement when using EncryptedElementTrait. These methods are needed because of asymmetric encryption support. Since the library will have to create a block cipher decryptor with the session key, the user does not control that decryptor and therefore won't be able to specify directly neither the algorithms to forbid nor the encryption backend to use. Hence the need of these two methods, which will allow the trait to modify any of those parameters for the decryptor it will build. If you just want to use the default values, just implement them to return null. However, if you want to customise the algorithms you accept and/or the backend to use, then you will have to return the desired values in those methods.

Encrypting objects

If you want to support decrypting objects, it is likely that you also want to encrypt them in the first place. Doing so is as simple as implementing the SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\EncryptableElementInterface:

use SimpleSAML\XML\AbstractElement;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\EncryptableElementInterface;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\EncryptableElementTrait;

class MyObject extends AbstractElement
  implements EncryptableElementInterface
{
    use EncryptableElementTrait;


    public function getBlacklistedAlgorithms(): ?array
    {
        // return an array with the algorithms you don't want to allow to be used
    }
    
    
    public function getEncryptionBackend(): ?EncryptionBackend
    {
        // return the encryption backend you want to use,
        // or null if you are fine with the default
    }
}

That's it. Easy, isn't it? In this case, the encrypt() method is provided directly by SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\EncryptableElementTrait, since its return value will always be a SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\XML\xenc\EncryptedData object. Again, you have to implement a couple of abstract methods required by the trait in order to tell it what algorithms are supported and what backend it should use in case of asymmetric encryption.

Now, we just need to actually encrypt our objects. If our application uses shared key encryption, we just need to create an appropriate encryptor with a symmetric key:

use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\Constants as C;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\Alg\Encryption\EncryptionAlgorithmFactory;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\Key\SymmetricKey;

$encryptor = (new EncryptionAlgorithmFactory())->getAlgorithm(
    C::BLOCK_ENC_...,
    new SymmetricKey('MY SHARED SECRET')
);
$myEncryptedObject = $myObject->encrypt($encryptor)

If, on the contrary, we want to use an asymmetric encryption scheme, our encryptor will need to implement a key transport algorithm, and use a public key:

use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\Constants as C;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\Alg\KeyTransport\KeyTransportAlgorithmFactory;
use SimpleSAML\XMLSecurity\Key\PublicKey;

$encryptor = (new KeyTransportAlgorithmFactory())->getAlgorithm(
    C::KEY_TRANSPORT_...,
    PublicKey::fromFile('/path/to/public-key.pem')
);
$myEncryptedObject = $myObject->encrypt($encryptor);

That will cover most needs. In general, asymmetric encryption will be preferred for most applications, as secret management is a difficult problem to tackle. If you need to implement a different encryption scheme than the two supported here, you will have to implement the encrypt() method yourself.

Extending the library

Not available yet.

Keys for testing purposes

All encrypted keys use '1234' as passphrase.

The following keys are available:

  • signed - A CA-signed certificate
  • other - Another CA-signed certificate
  • selfsigned - A self-signed certificate
  • broken - A file with a broken PEM-structure (all spaces are removed from the headers)
  • corrupted - This looks like a proper certificate (every first & last character of every line has been swapped)
  • expired - This CA-signed certificate expires the moment it is generated