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MessageContractMemberAttribute.ProtectionLevel Property

Specifies whether the member is to be transmitted as-is, signed, or signed and encrypted.

Namespace:  System.ServiceModel
Assembly:  System.ServiceModel (in System.ServiceModel.dll)

public ProtectionLevel ProtectionLevel { get; set; }

To make use of the ProtectionLevel property in either the MessageHeaderAttribute or MessageBodyMemberAttribute attributes you must properly configure the binding and behaviors. If these security features are used without a proper configuration (for example, using ProtectionLevel.Sign with a message part without supplying security credentials) an exception is thrown at run time.

In addition, the protection level is determined for each header individually. However, the SOAP body has only one protection level, regardless of the number of body parts. The protection level of the body is determined by the highest ProtectionLevel property value of all the body parts. For example, consider the following class:

[MessageContract]
public class PatientRecord
{
   [MessageHeader(ProtectionLevel=None)] public int recordID;
   [MessageHeader(ProtectionLevel=Sign)] public string patientName;
   [MessageHeader(ProtectionLevel=EncryptAndSign)] public string SSN;
   [MessageBody(ProtectionLevel=None)] public string comments;
   [MessageBody(ProtectionLevel=Sign)] public string diagnosis;
   [MessageBody(ProtectionLevel=EncryptAndSign)] public string medicalHistory;
}

In this example, the recordID header is not protected, patientName is signed, and SSN is encrypted and signed. There is at least one body part, medicalHistory, with ProtectionLevel.EncryptAndSign and thus the entire message body is encrypted and signed, even though the comments and diagnosis body parts specify lower protection levels.

The protection behavior at runtime is the combination of the protection-level values set on the following properties. These properties have a hierarchical structure. Setting the outermost value establishes the default setting for all narrower scopes unless a different value for a narrower scope is explicitly set. In this case, the outer value remains the default for all narrower scopes with the exception of that specifically set.

For example, if ServiceContractAttribute.ProtectionLevel is set to ProtectionLevel.EncryptAndSign and no other narrower scopes have protection level settings, all messages in an operation contract are encrypted and signed. If, however, one of those operations has the OperationContractAttribute set to ProtectionLevel.Sign, then the messages for that operation are signed but all other messages in the contract are encrypted and signed.

For details about protection levels and their assumptions and scopes, see Understanding Protection Level.

The scopes at which these values are set are:

ServiceContractAttribute.ProtectionLevel

    OperationContractAttribute.ProtectionLevel

        FaultContractAttribute.ProtectionLevel

        MessageContractAttribute.ProtectionLevel

            The MessageContractMemberAttribute.ProtectionLevel property on System.ServiceModel.MessageHeaderAttribute.

            The MessageContractMemberAttribute.ProtectionLevel property on System.ServiceModel.MessageBodyMemberAttribute.

When there is no protection level explicitly specified on the contract and the underlying binding supports security (whether at the transport or message level), the effective protection level for the whole contract is ProtectionLevel.EncryptAndSign. If the binding does not support security (such as BasicHttpBinding), the effective System.Net.Security.ProtectionLevel is ProtectionLevel.None for the whole contract. The result is that depending upon the endpoint binding, clients can require different message or transport level security protection even when the contract specifies ProtectionLevel.None.

.NET Framework

Supported in: 4, 3.5, 3.0

.NET Framework Client Profile

Supported in: 4, 3.5 SP1

Windows 7, Windows Vista SP1 or later, Windows XP SP3, Windows Server 2008 (Server Core not supported), Windows Server 2008 R2 (Server Core supported with SP1 or later), Windows Server 2003 SP2

The .NET Framework does not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.

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