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Keystone does not validate that identity providers match federation
Keystone's OS-FEDERATION extension does not enforce a link between an
identity provider and a federation mapping. This can lead to assertions
or claims from one identity provider being used with mappings intended
for use with another identity provider, which could result in users
obtaining access to resources that they are not intended to have.
Affected Services / Software
Keystone, Juno, Kilo
Keystone's OS-FEDERATION extension allows for a set of environment
variables provided by a trusted identity provider to be used as mapping
inputs to determine group membership (and ultimately role assignment).
Mapping rules are intended to be identity provider specific, as
different identity providers provide their assertions or claims in
In the Juno release of Keystone, there is no ability within Keystone
itself to enforce that assertions or claims from an identity provider
are actually being used against a mapping that is associated with that
same identity provider. A malicious user from one trusted identity
provider could access a Keystone federated authentication URL for a
different trusted identity provider. Depending on the content of the
assertions or claims and the mapping rules, this could result in a user
gaining access to resources that they are not intended to access.
Consider an example deployment where Keystone is configured to trust two
identity providers ('idp1' and 'idp2'). The federation mapping for
'idp1' might result in users of the 'devops' group having the 'admin'
role on a specific project. If a user with an assertion or claim from
'idp2' that says they are in the 'devops' group uses the authentication
URL that is associated with 'idp1', they could also be given the 'admin'
role just as if they were a 'devops' user from 'idp1'. This access
should not be allowed.
Even though the Juno release of Keystone does not have the ability to
enforce that an identity provider and a mapping match, it is possible to
configure the frontend webserver that is used to deploy Keystone to
perform this enforcement. Each identity provider supported by Keystone
has its own authentication URL. It is recommended that the webserver
configuration configures its underlying federation plug-ins to
cryptograhically enforce that an identity provider is only valid for
its associated authentication URL.
For example, the SAML protocol uses an asymmetric keypair to sign the
requests and responses that are transmitted between an identity provider
and a service provider (Keystone in our case). When using Apache HTTPD
as a webserver for Keystone, a separate 'Location' directive can be used
for each federated authentication URL. The directives that define the
certificate of the identity provider for the underlying HTTPD module
that is handling the SAML protocol can be defined within the identity
provider specific 'Location' directives. This will ensure that a signed
SAML assertion from one trusted identity provider will only be
successfully validated when used against the appropriate authentication
Here is an example with the modauthmellon HTTPD module:
--- begin example httpd configuration snippet ---
- --- end example httpd configuration snippet ---
In the above example, we have two identity providers ('idp1' and
'idp2'). Each identity provider has their own 'Location' directive,
and the 'MellonIdPMetadataFile' directive that points to the metadata
that contains the certificate of the identity provider is specific to
each 'Location' directive. This configuration will not allow a signed
assertion from 'idp1' to be used against the authentication URL for
'idp2'. An attempt to do so would be rejected by modauthmellon and
would never actually reach Keystone's OS-FEDERATION extention.
It is recommended to read the Keystone federation documentation as well
as the documentation for the HTTPD module that you are using for your
federation method of choice. Some useful links to this documentation
are provided in the references section of this note.
In the Kilo release of Keystone, it is also possible to have Keystone
enforce that an assertion actually comes from the identity provider that
is associated with the authentication URL. This is performed by
comparing an identity provider identifier value from the assertion or
claim with an identifier that is stored as a part of the identity
provider within Keystone.
To enable this functionality, you must set the 'remoteidattribute'
setting in keystone.conf, which defines the environment variable that
contains the identity provider identifier. You then must add the
identifier value that the 'remoteidattribute' will contain as one of
the 'remote_ids' values of the associated identity provider in Keystone.
This can be done using the Identity API directly, or via the 'openstack'
It is recommended that you use a webserver configuration that has
identity provider specific 'Location' directives as described above in
addition to using the new 'remote_ids' checking in the Kilo release.
Contacts / References
This OSSN : https://wiki.openstack.org/wiki/OSSN/OSSN-0047
Original LaunchPad Bug : https://bugs.launchpad.net/keystone/+bug/1390124
OpenStack Security ML : email@example.com
OpenStack Security Group : https://launchpad.net/~openstack-ossg
Keystone Federation Docs :
modauthmellon Docs : https://github.com/UNINETT/mod_auth_mellon/wiki
modshib Docs :
modauth_openidc Docs : https://github.com/pingidentity/mod_auth_openidc
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