Secure connection negotiation
SHALL only accept connections from the Spine Secure Proxy (SSP)
SHALL authenticate the SSP prior to responding to any requests using its client certificate
SHALL only permit approved supported ciphers to be utilised
SHALL only accept encrypted connections and drop connection attempts presented over insecure protocols
SHALL only accept requests for its allocated address space identifier (ASID), as specified by the
Ssp-Toheader on its matching endpoint URL
SHALL check that the
Ssp-InteractionIDvalue is consistent with the endpoint being requested
SHALL check for the presence of all SSP headers
SHALL check that an authorization bearer token is present and correctly formed
MAY authorise access to API endpoints through examining acceptable values in the JSON Web Tokens (JWT) requested_scope claim
SHALL risk-manage the security of the endpoints of the Transport Layer Security (TLS) communications, so as to prevent inappropriate risks (for example, audit logging of the GET parameters into an unprotected audit log)
Provider systems SHALL as a minimum be tested against the OWASP top 10 web application vulnerabilities.
Provider systems SHOULD be tested for vulnerability to Denial of Service (DoS) and hardened against such attacks.
Secure Socket Layer (SSL), and Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols
After consultation with the Infrastructure Security, Operational Security and Spine DDC teams, the following SSL protocol guidance have been agreed:
- suppliers SHALL use
TLS1.2with mutual authentication enabled for all message interactions
- suppliers SHALL NOT use
After consultation with the Infrastructure Security, Operational Security and Spine DDC teams the following SSL protocols SHALL be supported.
1Digitcert - SSL Support Enabling Perfect Forward Secrecy
Tomcat OpenSSL support using the Apache Portable Runtime (APR)/native provider
- SSLCipherSuite =
- SSLHonorCipherOrder =
- SSLProtocol =
- SSLVerifyClient =
Please see the Tomcat Config HTTP SSL Support web page for more details.
Client certificates (TLS/mutual authentication (MA))
Provider and consumer systems SHALL only accept client certificates issued by the NHS Digital Deployment Issue and Resolution (DIR) team.
Provider and consumer systems SHALL only accept client certificates with a valid Spine ‘chain of trust’ (that is, linked to the Spine SubCA and RootCA).
Provider and consumer systems SHALL only accept client certificates which have not expired or been revoked.
Provider and consumer systems SHALL check the
FQDN presented in the client certificate is that of the Spine Security Proxy (SSP).
Provider systems SHALL ensure no sensitive data leaks into a browser cache by setting the following cache headers on all responses:
Authorisation of access to endpoints
The primary purpose of the JWT claims is to enable cross organisation provenance information to be transmitted for auditing purposes.
Provider systems MAY choose to use the value of the requested_scope claim to authorise access to APIs. In this case, provider systems SHALL apply authorisation logic to endpoints as follows:
|Endpoint||Acceptable values of requested_scope JWT claim|
External policy documents
|Approved Cryptographic Algorithms Good Practice Guidelines||NHS Digital||v4.0||July 2016|
|Warranted Environment Specification (WES)||NHS Digital||v1.0||June 2015|