signature snippets

How to change the Apache 2 server signature on Debian Etch

Tagged apache2, signature, server, header, disable  Languages apacheconf

Install mod_security, for some stupid reason it's not included in Debian Etch, and for some even more stupid reason you're not allowed to change the value of the Server header.

Anyway, to change the server signature, and enable voodoo magic:

<IfModule mod_security2.c>
    # Basic configuration options
    SecRuleEngine On
    SecRequestBodyAccess On
    SecResponseBodyAccess Off

    # Handling of file uploads
    # TODO Choose a folder private to Apache.
    # SecUploadDir /opt/apache-frontend/tmp/
    SecUploadKeepFiles Off

    # Debug log
    SecDebugLog /var/log/apache2/modsec_debug.log
    SecDebugLogLevel 0

    # Serial audit log
    SecAuditEngine RelevantOnly
    SecAuditLogRelevantStatus ^5
    SecAuditLogParts ABIFHZ
    SecAuditLogType Serial
    SecAuditLog /var/log/apache2/modsec_audit.log

    # Maximum request body size we will
    # accept for buffering
    SecRequestBodyLimit 131072

    # Store up to 128 KB in memory
    SecRequestBodyInMemoryLimit 131072

    # Buffer response bodies of up to
    # 512 KB in length
    SecResponseBodyLimit 524288

    SecServerSignature "Dummy value"

How to sign XML documents using XMLDSig (XML Signature)

Tagged xmldsig, xml, signature, wtf, hl7fi, kanta, xmlsec1  Languages bash, xml

Install xmlsec1

sudo apt-get install xmlsec1

Create document

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  <hello>All XML is doomed to fail.</hello>
  <!-- Signature contains the signature definition -->
  <Signature xmlns="">
      <CanonicalizationMethod Algorithm=""/>
      <SignatureMethod Algorithm=""/>
          <Transform Algorithm=""/>
          <Transform Algorithm=""/>
        <DigestMethod Algorithm=""/>
        <DigestValue />
    <SignatureValue />
      <X509Data />

Sign document

xmlsec1 --sign --privkey-pem, --output signed.xml tosign.xml

This example uses test certificates issued by VRK.

Verify document

xmlsec1 --verify --trusted-pem vrkthsp.pem --trusted-pem vrktestc.pem signed.xml

Note that a concatenated PEM file, i.e. cat vrkthsp.pem vrktestc.pem > concat.pem, does not work with xmlsec1.

How to specify which elements to sign with ds:Reference

Add one or more ds:Reference elements to specify which elements should be signed. Each element should have a unique ID in the URI attribute. The ID should be prefixed with a hash, e.g., #your-id:

<ds:Reference URI="#secret-xml-sauce">

Make sure your document contains an element having the exact ID without the hash prefix:

<Dog ID="secret-xml-sauce" name="Christian" />

Next, use the “—id-attr” switch to specify the element and attribute name:

xmlsec1 --sign --privkey-pem signing.key,signing.pem --id-attr:ID Dog --id-attr:ID structuredBody --output signed.xml tosign.xml

Note that “id” is the default attribute name. You only need —id-attr switch if you have the ID in an attribute having a different name.

How to sign multiple elements

Just add another “—id-attr: ” switch:

xmlsec1 --sign --privkey-pem signing.key,signing.pem --id-attr:ID signatureTimestamp --id-attr:ID structuredBody --output signed.xml tosign.xml

Then add another element having the given ID.


  • This error means you don’t have the correct trusted pem
certificate issuer check failed:err=2;msg=unable to get issuer certificate;issuer=/C=FI/ST=Finland/O=Vaestorekisterikeskus TEST/OU=Certification Authority Services/OU=Varmennepalvelut/CN=VRK TEST Root CA

To fix the error, take a hard look at the Issuer and Subject of all certificates in the certificate chain. For example:

openssl x509 -inform DER -in vrktestc.crt -text | grep "Issuer\|Subject"
  • xmlsec1 fails to find element containing ID
func=xmlSecXPathDataExecute:file=xpath.c:line=273:obj=unknown:subj=xmlXPtrEval:error=5:libxml2 library function failed:expr=xpointer(id('ID_OF_ELEMENT_TO_SIGN'))

Note that the XPATH queries are case sensitive. This means you might have to specify both the name of the element and the name of the ID attribute like this:

xmlsec1 sign --id-attr:ID elementThatYouWantToSign ...

For more solutions to issues, see