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Encryption and signing provide two kinds of protection: confidentiality and integrity, respectively. The WS-SecurityPolicy protection assertions are used to specify which parts of a message are subject to protection. Details of the protection mechanisms, on the other hand, are specified separately in the relevant binding policy (see xSpecifying an AsymmetricBinding Policy, Specifying a SymmetricBinding Policy, and Transport Layer Message Protection).

The protection assertions described here are really intended to be used in combination with SOAP security, because they apply to features of a SOAP message. Nonetheless, these policies can also be satisfied by a transport binding (such as HTTPS), which applies protection to the entire message, rather than to specific parts.

A protection assertion must be applied to a message policy subject (see Message policy subject). In other words, it must be placed inside a wsdl:input, wsdl:output, or wsdl:fault element in a WSDL binding. For example, given the protection policy with ID, MutualCertificate10SignEncrypt_IPingService_header_Input_policy, you could apply the policy to a wsdl:input message part as follows:

<wsdl:operation name="header">
  <soap:operation soapAction="http://InteropBaseAddress/interop/header" style="document"/>
  <wsdl:input name="headerRequest">
      <soap:header message="i0:headerRequest_Headers" part="CustomHeader" use="literal"/>
      <soap:body use="literal"/>
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