technical Archive

Generating certificates for SAFIRE

Types of certificates SAML installations typically use at least two1 different certificates: one of the public facing portions of a website, and one to establish a private trust relationship between providers. Whilst it is possible to use the same certificate for these two roles, this is not best practice nor is it recommended. The technical requirements for identity- and service-providers definitively specify the requirements and recommendations for these two types of certificates.

Configuring SimpleSAMLphp to use Entra ID (Azure AD)

This documentation will guide you through the Microsoft Entra ID (Azure AD) configuration process as an authentication source in SimpleSAMLphp. By integrating Entra ID in this way, you can retain your users’ familiar login experience while leveraging SimpleSAMLphp’s flexibility to fetch and/or manipulate attributes from Entra ID and other sources. While SAFIRE can directly work with Entra ID or SimpleSAMLphp (as explained in our Configuring Entra ID SAML-based SSO for SAFIRE and Configuring SimpleSAMLphp for SAFIRE documentation), you may find yourself in a situation where this approach better fits your use case.

Integrating library information providers via SAFIRE

There is considerable interest in leveraging SAFIRE and eduGAIN to integrate with the various library information providers, such as academic content, journal, and database publishers. Information providers variously term this “Shibboleth”, “SAML” or “Institutional” logins, and in most cases are already integrated with other federations around the world. The following documents the integration status of various providers in SAFIRE. Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Status No SA institutions listed by default Login link terminology Sign in via your Institution Documentation http://libraries.

Upgrade of SAFIRE federation hub on 30 June

On Friday 30 June we’ll be performing a major version upgrade of the software that’s at the core of SAFIRE’s federation hub. Although no downtime is expected, you can expect the following: All users will need to re-authenticate the first time they access a service after the upgrade; There will be cosmetic changes to the user interface, particularly in the information transfer notice.

Theme generator for SimpleSAMLphp

This theme generator has been updated for SimpleSAMLphp 2.0.x A number of people seem to find SimpleSAMLphp’s theming system intimidating. To aid with this, we’ve written a simple theme generator for SimpleSAMLphp. The generator takes SSP’s stock templates and massages them to include some branding – amongst other things, a logo on the top left of the page and corporate colours in the header bar. The generator is a bash script, and is available here.

Configuring SimpleSAMLphp for SAFIRE

SimpleSAMLphp has good documentation, and so this is not a complete/worked example of how to configure it. Instead this provides the SAFIRE-specific snippets you may need when working through that documentation. Configuring metarefresh to fetch SAFIRE metadata You should use the metarefresh and cron modules to manage SAFIRE’s metadata automatically. SimpleSAMLphp provides documentation on automated metadata management which explains the basics of how you set this up. This document assumes you have a working cron module and have installed and enabled metarefresh.

Performing a SAML certificate or key roll-over

This is a recipe for rolling over (changing) your SAML signing certificate and the associated private key without a service affecting outage. NB! You should be aware that this process is NOT instantaneous, and requires proper planning to ensure your users can continue using your provider without incident. Therefore, you need to begin the process well before the expiry of your existing SAML signing certificate (plan for at least a week).

Configuring ADFS for SAFIRE

Note: While it is possible to use ADFS with SAFIRE, it has known interoperatability problems with the sort of multi-party federation used in the R&E world. SAFIRE’s architecture shields you from some of these effects, but you do sacrifice some flexibility and control. In order to configure Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) as an identity provider for SAFIRE, you need to do four things: Create a Relying Party Trust that fetches the federation hub’s metadata from https://metadata.

Support for REFEDS MFA

On the evening of Tuesday 11 January, we will deploy a number of changes to the SAFIRE Federation hub to allow for the bi-directional signalling of REFEDS MFA. No downtime is expected, and we do not anticipate any impact on any service- or identity-provider that does not currently support such signalling.

South African Identity Federation