Recently we have been working on a project using the Windows Azure Service Bus to expose line of business applications. One of the topics we discussed a lot was around the security aspects of the solution. Most of the samples you see for Windows Azure Service Bus often use the shared secret with the Access Control Service to protect the service bus endpoint but one of the problems we found was that with this scenario any claims resulting from credentials supplied by the client are not passed through to the service listening to the service bus endpoint. As an example of this we originally were hoping that we could give two different clients their own shared secret key and the issuer for each would indicate which client it was. If the claims had flown to the listening service then we could check that the message sent by client one was a type they are allowed to send. Unfortunately this claim isn't flown to the listening service so we were unable to implement this scenario.
We had also seen samples that talk about changing the relayClientAuthenticationType attribute would allow you to authenticate the client within the service itself rather than with ACS. While this was interesting it wasn't exactly what we wanted. By removing the step where access to the Relay endpoint is protected by authentication against ACS it means that anyone could send messages via the service bus to the on-premise listening service which would then authenticate clients. In our scenario we certainly didn't want to allow clients to skip the ACS authentication step because this could open up two attack opportunities for an attacker. The first of these would allow an attacker to send messages through to our on-premise servers and potentially cause a denial of service situation. The second case would be with the same kind of attack by running lots of messages through service bus which were then rejected the attacker would be causing us to incur charges per message on our Windows Azure account.
The correct way to implement our desired scenario is to combine one of the common options for authenticating against ACS so the service bus endpoint cannot be accessed by an unauthenticated caller with the normal WCF security features using the TransportWithMessageCredential security option.
Looking around I could not find any guidance on how to implement this correctly so on the back of setting this up I decided to write a couple of articles to walk through a couple of the common scenarios you may be interested in.
These are available on the following links: