News Archive

News and announcements concerning the South African Identity Federation.

SAFIRE Website Update

SAFIRE’s website was originally created using Wordpress, something that was inherited when custodianship of the federation passed to TENET. For various reasons we have decided to abandon Wordpress in favour of a modern static site generator, and have chosen to adopt Hugo. One substantial benefit of this approach is increased transparency, particularly around changes to policies. The Hugo source is stored in a public GitHub repository, thus allowing Participants to peruse the commit history of any document.

NWU joins SAFIRE

North West University (NWU) has signed the Participation Agreement and joined SAFIRE as a full participant. NWU completed technical integration some time ago, and so are able to immediately take advantage of the services provided by their federation. Their first login happened within ten minutes of updated metadata being published.

Support for eduPersonEntitlement added

In our ongoing work to integrate library journal and platform providers, it has become apparent that we need to support the eduPersonEntitlement attribute. Support for this attribute has therefore been added to the Federation hub, as well as the test identity and service providers. To ease transition and to lower barriers to entry, the Federation hub may automatically generate a value for eduPersonEntitlement from eduPersonAffilation if none is supplied by the identity provider.

End of SAFIRE transition period

At 00:00 SAST on 1 August 2017, the remaining entities in the old metadata aggregate at https://discservice.sanren.ac.za/safire.xml will expire. Any provider who still has mention of the above URL in their configuration should remove it, as it will not be supported beyond the end of the month.

UCT complies with Sirtfi

The University of Cape Town recently became the first SAFIRE identity provider to complete a self-assessment and express its compliance with the REFEDS Security Incident Response Trust Framework for Federated Identity (Sirtfi). This makes SAFIRE the 16th federation worldwide to assert a Sirtfi-compliant IdP.

Testing your IdP or SP

Testing an Identity Provider The most obvious way to test an Identity Provider is to make use of SAFIRE’s Test Service Provider (https://testsp.safire.ac.za/). This SP is always aware of SAFIRE’s full attribute set and emulates a locally connected SP. By logging in, Identity Provider administrators are able to test their integration with SAFIRE as well as their own attribute release. (Likewise, end users can use it to see what attributes their home institution releases about them.

Wits joins SAFIRE

The University of the Witwatersrand has signed the Participation Agreement and joined SAFIRE. They have not yet completed the SAML technical integration, but we hope to welcome them on board as a fully functioning identity provider in the near future.

Monitoring of Identity Providers

As a courtesy, we monitor the reachability of the various South African identity providers and make that information available at monitor.safire.ac.za. The monitoring system initiates a single sign-on request, and reports the outcome as follow: Green means that we completed all the tests and found something that looked like a login page. Yellow means that we got as far as what we think should be a login page, but didn’t find a username field on it. The institution’s own monitoring or I.T. help desk may be able to provide more information. Red means that we weren’t able to contact the identity provider for some reason. This could be because there’s a network problem or that the there’s some problem with the identity provider (service not running, certificates expired, metadata expired, etc). The monitoring output shows the hosts we passed through on the way to what we believe is the login page. It may also give details of any problem(s) that were encountered.

South African Identity Federation