3.8. SAML identity provider#

SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) is an XML-based standard for exchanging authentication information in order to allow single sign-on across domain boundaries. UCS provides a fail-safe SAML identity provider on a Primary Directory Node as well as Backup Directory Node. The SAML identity provider is registered at an external service with a cryptographic certificate and establishes a trust relationship. The user then only needs to authenticate himself against UCS and can use the service without renewed authentication.

The single sign-on login page

Fig. 3.3 The single sign-on login page#

The SAML 2.0 compatible UCS identity provider is provided by the integration of simplesamlphp.

The UCS identity provider is tightly integrated into the UCS domain. Clients that will be used to access the UCS identity provider have to be able to resolve DNS records in the UCS domain. The domain DNS Servers should therefore be configured on all clients in order to be able to resolve the central DNS record, which by default is ucs-sso.[Domain name].

The UCS identity provider is automatically installed on Primary Directory Node and Backup Directory Nodes. Further Backup Directory Nodes can be made available in the domain to increase fail-safe safety. The default DNS record ucs-sso.[Domain name] is registered to increase fail-safe access to the UCS identity provider. The SSL certificate for this record is kept on all participating systems in the domain. It is advised to install the UCS domain root certificate on all clients that are using single sign-on.

It is possible to associate the SAML authentication with the Kerberos login. This means that users with a valid Kerberos ticket, for example after logging on to Windows or Linux, can sign in to the identity provider without having to manual re-authenticate.

To allow Kerberos authentication at the identity provider, the Univention Configuration Registry Variable saml/idp/authsource has to be changed from univention-ldap to univention-negotiate. The web browsers must be configured to transfer the Kerberos ticket to the SAML Identity Provider. Here are two examples for the configuration of Firefox and Internet Explorer / Microsoft Edge:

Mozilla Firefox

In the extended Firefox configuration, which can be reached by entering about:config in the Firefox address line, the address of the identity provider must be entered in the option network.negotiate-auth.trusted-uris, which is ucs-sso.[Domain name] by default.

Microsoft Internet Explorer; Microsoft Edge

In the Control Panel, the Internet Options must be opened, followed by Security ‣ Local Intranet ‣ Sites ‣ Advanced. The address of the identity provider has to be added, which is ucs-sso.[Domain name] by default.

The Kerberos authentication can be restricted to certain IP subnets by setting the Univention Configuration Registry Variable saml/idp/negotiate/filter-subnets for example to, This is especially useful to prevent a pop up login box being shown for clients which are not part of the UCS domain.

3.8.1. Login via single sign-on#

The activation of single sign-on for the portal is described in Login. For this, ucs-sso.[Domain name] must be reachable. To login the domain credentials must be provided. For the login directly at the UCS system (i.e., without single sign-on), follow the link Login without Single Sign On.

The design of the login dialog can be changed by editing /usr/share/univention-management-console-login/css/custom.css. This file will never be altered or deleted during updates.

Other web services will redirect to the UCS identity provider login page in a similar fashion in order to carry out a single sign-on. After authenticating, the user will be forwarded back to the web service itself. These services need to be registered as described in Adding a new external service provider.

The single sign-on for a particular service can be initiated from the UCS identity provider, as well. This saves an extra visit at the external web service which redirects to the authentication site. To do so, a link to the UCS identity provider page needs to be provided in the form of https://ucs-sso.[Domain name]/simplesamlphp/saml2/idp/SSOService.php?spentityid=[Service provider identifier].

3.8.2. Adding a new external service provider#

The UMC module SAML identity provider allows to manage all service providers that are registered at the UCS identity provider. Users have to be activated for a service provider, to be able to authenticate for it at the UCS identity provider. The service provider can be activated for groups, to allow authentication with that service provider for all users within that group. On the user’s Account tab or the group’s General tab, the service provider can to be added under SAML settings.

To register the UCS identity provider at an external service provider, the public part of the SAML certificate is required by the service provider. The certificate can be downloaded via a link in the UMC module. Some service providers may require the UCS identity provider XML metadata as a file upload. By default the XML file can be downloaded from the URL https://ucs-sso.[Domain name]/simplesamlphp/saml2/idp/metadata.php.

The following attributes can be configured when adding a new service provider.

Table 3.1 General options when configuring a service provider#



Service provider activation status

If activated, the configuration for the service provider is activated and is ready for authentication.

Service provider identifier

Defines the internal name of the service provider. The name is later selected at user objects, when giving them access to a service provider. The identifier cannot be changed later.

Respond to this service provider URL after login

After successful authentication, the user’s browser is redirected to the service provider. The redirection is done to this provided URL.

Single logout URL for service provider

Service providers can offer a URL endpoint at which the session at the service provider can be terminated. If a user logs out at the UCS identity provider, the browser will get redirected to the provided URL to terminate the session.

Format of NameID attribute

The value NameIDFormat that the service provider receives. The service provider’s documentation should contain information about possible values. Example: urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:transient or urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:1.1:nameid-format:unspecified.

Name of the attribute that is used as NameID

The LDAP attribute that is used to uniquely identify the user is provided here, e.g., uid.

Name of the organization for service provider

The value provided here will be shown on the UCS single sign-on login page. It helps the user to identify for which service they enter credentials.

Description of this service provider

The value provided here will be shown on the UCS single sign-on login page. A longer description about the service provider can be given here. The description will be shown on the login page in a separate paragraph.

Table 3.2 Advanced settings when configuring a service provider#



URL to the service provider’s privacy policy

If a URL is entered here, the UCS identity provider login page will contain a link to this URL.

Allow transmission of LDAP attributes to the service provider

By default, the UCS identity provider transmits only the NameID attribute entered on the General page to the service provider. If additional LDAP user attributes are required by the service provider, this checkbox can be activated. The attributes that should be transmitted have to be entered in the List of LDAP attributes to transmit.

Value for attribute format field

In case the transmitted attributes need to be sent in a particular format value, this format can be entered here. Example: urn:oasis:names :tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:transient or urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:1.1:nameid-format:unspecified.

List of LDAP attributes to transmit

Every LDAP attribute that should be transmitted to the service provider can be entered here. Additionally, one or more service attribute names can be added to each LDAP attribute in the field next to it. These service attribute names have the purpose to translate the LDAP Attribute names for the service provider. Multiple service attribute names have to be separated by commas. In order for the UCS identity provider to process these attributes, they need to be registered additionally via the LDAP object id=default-saml-idp,cn=univention,[LDAP base DN]. LDAP attributes entered at the object can be read and transferred by the Identity Provider.

3.8.3. Extended Configuration#

Some environments may require the UCS Identity Provider to provide multiple logical Identity Provider instances. Logical separation is achieved by offering different URIs as Identity Provider endpoints.

The default endpoint is https://ucs-sso.[Domain name]/simplesamlphp/saml2/idp/metadata.php. Further entries can be created by setting Univention Configuration Registry Variables in the form saml/idp/entityID/supplement/[identifier] to true on all servers which serve the UCS Identity Provider. Typically that will be the Primary Directory Node and all Backup Directory Nodes. The apache2 service must then be reloaded.

For example, to set up another entry under the URI https://ucs-sso.[Domain name]/simplesamlphp/[secondIDP]/saml2/idp/metadata.php`, the Univention Configuration Registry Variable saml/idp/entityID/supplement/secondIDP=true must be set.