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Secure Programming Cookbook for C and C++ by Matt Messier, John Viega

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9.4. Securing Web Communication on Windows Using the WinInet API

Problem

You are developing a Windows program that needs to connect to an HTTP server with SSL enabled. You want to use the Microsoft WinInet API to communicate with the HTTP server.

Solution

The Microsoft WinInet API was introduced with Internet Explorer 3.0. It provides a set of functions that allow programs easy access to FTP, Gopher, HTTP, and HTTPS servers. For HTTPS servers, the details of using SSL are hidden from the programmer, allowing the programmer to concentrate on the data that needs to be exchanged, rather than protocol details.

Discussion

The Microsoft WinInet API is a rich API that makes client-side interaction with FTP, Gopher, HTTP, and HTTPS servers easy; as with most Windows APIs, however, a sizable amount of code is still required. Because of the wealth of options available, we won’t provide fully working code for a WinInet API wrapper here. Instead, we’ll discuss the API and provide code samples for the parts of the API that are interesting from a security standpoint. We encourage you to consult Microsoft’s documentation on the API to learn about all that the API can do.

If you’re going to establish a connection to a web server using SSL with WinInet, the first thing you need to do is create an Internet session by calling InternetOpen( ). This function initializes and returns an object handle that is needed to actually establish a connection. It takes care of such details as presenting the user with ...

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