How to secure connections and authenticate requests
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How to secure connections and authenticate requests (XAML)

[This article is for Windows 8.x and Windows Phone 8.x developers writing Windows Runtime apps. If you’re developing for Windows 10, see the latest documentation]

This topic outlines the primary methods used by Windows Runtime to enable Windows Store apps to secure connections and provide authentication credentials required to establish and use secure network connections.


Creating secure socket connections

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and the more recent Transport Layer Security (TLS) are cryptographic protocols designed to provide authentication and encryption for network communication. These protocols are designed to prevent eavesdropping and tampering when sending and receiving network data. These protocols use a client-server model for the protocol exchanges. These protocols also use digital certificates and certificate authorities to verify that the server is who it claims to be. The TLS protocol is documented in IETF RFC 5246. The earlier SSL protocol was documented by Netscape Communications. SSL is commonly used to refer to both of these protocols.

A StreamSocket object can be configured to use SSL/TLS for communications between the client and the server. This support for SSL/TLS is limited to using the StreamSocket object as the client in the SSL/TLS negotiation. SSL/TLS cannot currently be used by the StreamSocketListener with the StreamSocket created when a connection is received to enable SSL/TLS on the StreamSocket created, since the SSL/TLS negotiation as a server is not implemented for a StreamSocket.

For examples of how to create, or upgrade to, a secure socket connection to a network service, see How to secure socket connections with TLS/SSL.

Creating secure WebSocket connections

Like traditional socket connections, WebSocket connections can also be encrypted with Transport Layer Security (TLS)/Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) when using the StreamWebSocket and MessageWebSocket features in Windows 8 for a Windows Store app. In most cases you'll want to use a secure WebSocket connection. This will increase the chances that your connection will succeed, as many proxies will reject unencrypted WebSocket connections.

For examples of how to create, or upgrade to, a secure socket connection to a network service, see How to secure WebSocket connections with TLS/SSL.

In addition to TLS/SSL encryption, a server may require a Sec-WebSocket-Protocol header value to complete the initial handshake. This value, represented by the StreamWebSocketInformation.Protocol and MessageWebSocketInformation.Protocol properties, indicate the protocol version of the connection and enables the server to correctly interpret the opening handshake and the data being exchanged afterwards. Using this protocol information, if at any point if the server cannot interpret the incoming data in a safe manner the connection can be closed.

If the initial request from the client either does not contain this value, or provides a value that doesn't match what the server expects, the expected value is sent from the server to the client on WebSocket handshake error.

Providing authentication credentials to a web service

The Windows Runtime networking APIs that enable Windows Store apps to interact with secure web services each provide their own methods to either initialize a client or set a request header with server and proxy authentication credentials. Each method is set with a PasswordCredential object that indicates a user name, password, and the resource for which these credentials are used. The following table provides a mapping of these APIs:


Background Transfer




Related topics

Other resources
Connecting to network services
How to secure socket connections with TLS/SSL



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