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WS-Trust is a WS-* specification and OASIS standard that provides extensions to WS-Security, specifically dealing with the issuing, renewing, and validating of security tokens, as well as with ways to establish, assess the presence of, and broker trust relationships between participants in a secure message exchange.

The WS-Trust specification was authored by representatives of a number of companies, and was approved by OASIS as a standard in March 2007.

Using the extensions defined in WS-Trust, applications can engage in secure communication designed to work within the Web services framework.



WS-Trust defines a number of new elements, concepts and artifacts in support of that goal, including:

  • the concept of a Security Token Service (STS) - a web service that issues security tokens as defined in the WS-Security specification.
  • the formats of the messages used to request security tokens and the responses to those messages.
  • mechanisms for key exchange

WS-Trust is then implemented within Web services libraries, provided by vendors or by open source collaborative efforts. Web services frameworks that implement the WS-Trust protocols for token request include: Microsoft's Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), Sun's WSIT framework, Apache's Rampart (part of axis2), and others. In addition, vendors or other groups may deliver products that act as a Security Token Service, or STS. Microsoft's Access Control Services is one such service, available online today. Ping Identity Corporation also markets an STS.


The companies involved in defining WS-Trust were: including Actional Corporation, BEA Systems, Inc., Computer Associates International, Inc., International Business Machines Corporation, Layer 7 Technologies, Microsoft Corporation, Oblix Inc., OpenNetwork Technologies Inc., Ping Identity Corporation, Reactivity Inc., RSA Security Inc., and VeriSign Inc.

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