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Target-Only Authentication


When an application is configured for target-only authentication, the target authenticates itself to the client but the client is not authentic to the target object, as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4. Target Authentication Only

authentication pattern for target authentication only

Security handshake

Prior to running the application, the client and server should be set up as follows:

During the security handshake, the server sends its certificate chain to the client (see Figure 4). The client then searches its trusted CA lists to find a CA certificate that matches one of the CA certificates in the server’s certificate chain.

HTTPS example

On the client side, there are no policy settings required for target-only authentication. Simply configure your client without associating an X.509 certificate with the HTTPS port. You must provide the client with a list of trusted CA certificates, however (see Specifying Trusted CA Certificates).

On the server side, in the server’s XML configuration file, make sure that the sec:clientAuthentication element does not require client authentication. This element can be omitted, in which case the default policy is to not require client authentication. However, if the sec:clientAuthentication element is present, it should be configured as follows:

<http:destination id="{Namespace}PortName.http-destination"> 
  <sec:clientAuthentication want="false" required="false"/>

Where the want attribute is set to false (the default), specifying that the server does not request an X.509 certificate from the client during a TLS handshake. The required attribute is also set to false (the default), specifying that the absence of a client certificate does not trigger an exception during the TLS handshake.


The want attribute can be set either to true or to false. If set to true, the want setting causes the server to request a client certificate during the TLS handshake, but no exception is raised for clients lacking a certificate, so long as the required attribute is set to false.

It is also necessary to associate an X.509 certificate with the server’s HTTPS port (see Specifying an Application’s Own Certificate ) and to provide the server with a list of trusted CA certificates (see Specifying Trusted CA Certificates ).


The choice of cipher suite can potentially affect whether or not target-only authentication is supported (see Configuring HTTPS Cipher Suites).

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