This Service is used to open or renew a SecureChannel that can be used to ensure Confidentiality and Integrity for Message exchange during a Session. This Service requires the Communication Stack to apply the various security algorithms to the Messages as they are sent and received. Specific implementations of this Service for different Communication Stacks are described in OPC 10000-6.

Each SecureChannel has a globally-unique identifier and is valid for a specific combination of Client and Server application instances. Each channel contains one or more SecurityTokens that identify a set of cryptography keys that are used to encrypt and authenticate Messages. SecurityTokens also have globally-unique identifiers which are attached to each Message secured with the token. This allows an authorized receiver to know how to decrypt and verify the Message.

SecurityTokens have a finite lifetime negotiated with this Service. However, differences between the system clocks on different machines and network latencies mean that valid Messages could arrive after the token has expired. To prevent valid Messages from being discarded, the applications should do the following:

  1. Clients should request a new SecurityToken after 75 % of its lifetime has elapsed. This should ensure that Clients will receive the new SecurityToken before the old one actually expires.
  2. Servers shall use the existing SecurityToken to secure outgoing Messages until the SecurityToken expires or the Server receives a Message secured with a new SecurityToken. This should ensure that Clients do not reject Messages secured with the new SecurityToken that arrive before the Client receives the new SecurityToken.
  3. Clients should accept Messages secured by an expired SecurityToken for up to 25 % of the token lifetime. This should ensure that Messages sent by the Server before the token expired are not rejected because of network delays.

Each SecureChannel exists until it is explicitly closed or until the last token has expired and the overlap period has elapsed. A Server application should limit the number of SecureChannels. To protect against misbehaving Clients and denial of service attacks, the Server shall close the oldest SecureChannel that has no Session assigned before reaching the maximum number of supported SecureChannels.

The OpenSecureChannel request and response Messages shall be signed with the sender's private key. These Messages shall always be encrypted. If the transport layer does not provide encryption, then these Messages shall be encrypted with the receiver's public key. These requirements for OpenSecureChannel only apply if the securityPolicyUri is not None.

If the protocol defined in OPC 10000-6 requires that Application Instance Certificates are used in the OpenSecureChannel Service, then Clients and Servers shall verify that the same Certificates are used in the CreateSession and ActivateSession Services. Certificates are not provided and shall not be verified if the securityPolicyUri is None.

If the securityPolicyUri is not None, a Client shall verify the HostName specified in the Server Certificate is the same as the HostName contained in the endpointUrl. If there is a difference then the Client shall report the difference and may choose to not open the SecureChannel. Servers shall add all possible HostNames like MyHost and MyHost.local into the Server Certificate. This includes IP addresses of the host or the HostName exposed by a NAT router used to connect to the Server.

Clients should be prepared to replace the HostName returned in the EndpointDescription with the HostName or the IP addresses they used to call GetEndpoints.