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Configuring Shibboleth IdP as a Trusted Identity Provider

You can configure a SAML2 SSO web application with the WSO2 Identity Server. In this scenario, users authenticate to the Identity Server by providing their username and password. These credentials must be authenticated with the enterprise user store that is deployed with the Identity Server, making it such that only users that exist in the enterprise user store can access the web application.

Click here for more information on enterprise users and how they can be managed effectively by the WSO2 Identity Server.

An enterprise user is a user that has complex user attributes and permissions that encompass the entire enterprise. Enterprise user management is a complex process as it usually involves thousands of users accessing multiple resources, with common information used by multiple applications, such as usernames, telephone numbers, and system roles and privileges. This complexity is typically fragmented across the enterprise, contributing to data that is not relevant to some applications, inconsistent, and difficult to manage. The security aspect is also important as misuse can be detrimental to an enterprise. For example, if a user leaves the enterprise or changes roles, that user's permissions should be updated immediately to protect unlawful access. In a large enterprise, with user credentials distributed over multiple user stores, it may be complicated to make instant changes. Additionally, passwords may be compromised if users have multiple passwords to keep track of and write them down. Also low strength passwords may be susceptible to attacks and the security of the enterprise could be compromised.

The WSO2 Identity Server solves the problems posed by a complex enterprise identity system by acting as a management tool. The Identity Server enables you to effectively manage the identity of the enterprise user, such that all user credentials and permissions can be stored by and accessed from the enterprise user store whenever there is an authentication or authorization request. The Identity Server can be configured for federation or single sign-on to manage access, and can also be configured with the underlying enterprise user store.

Consider a scenario where the web application must also be accessed by the users from some other partner organization in addition to the users in the enterprise user store. This partner organization has their user accounts stored in an LDAP server. The partner organization cannot expose this LDAP server to the WSO2 Identity Server as a user store due to security reasons. However, this partner organization has a Shibboleth identity provider that is connected to their LDAP server. Shibboleth is one of the most widely used and popular SAML2 identity providers. In the scenario, Shibboleth supports SAML2 SSO and it authenticates users in the partner organization against the LDAP server. Therefore, users from partner organizations who wish to log in to the web application are redirected to Shibboleth IdP and are authenticated with their own LDAP server.

With Identity Server, you can configure multiple federated identity providers that users can be authenticated against. In this scenario, users from the enterprise can be authenticated with the enterprise user store and users from the partner organization can be authenticated using Shibboleth IdP.


In this sample we have used Shibboleth version 2.0 . To find configuration for latest Shibboleth version refer

The following sections provide instructions on how to configure this scenario.

Configuring Shibboleth as a SAML2 identity provider

  1. Click here to download latest version of Shibboleth IdP.
  2. Once you have downloaded the file, extract it into your local file system.
  3. Go to <SHIBBOLETH_HOME>/bin directory and run the script (run install.bat if you are on Windows). This would install Shibboleth into the given location in your file system. You would be promoted with few questions as in following.


    If you do not provide a fully qualified host name during installation, an error may occur. Basically, it should exactly match the format suggested by Shibboleth, i.e., (there is a regex pattern in the build.xml file. You can modify it as per your requirements).

    The installation path that you provide will be referred to as <SHIBBOLETH_IDP_HOME> . Also, this installation would create a keystore that can be found in the <SHIBBOLETH_IDP_HOME>/credentials directory and a .war file that can be found in the <SHIBBOLETH_IDP_HOME>/war directory.

  4. Configure a user store with Shibboleth. You can use an LDAP-based existing user store for this. To do this, open the login.config file that is found in the <SHIBBOLETH_IDP_HOME>/conf directory and configure your LDAP user store details. The following is a sample configuration for an LDAP user store.

    ShibUserPassAuth {
    edu.vt.middleware.ldap.jaas.LdapLoginModule required
  5. Enable the username/password login handler in the <SHIBBOLETH_IDP_HOME>/conf/handler.xml file.

  6. Configure logging level from the <SHIBBOLETH_IDP_HOME>/conf/logging.xml file. All the logs files would be saved in the <SHIBBOLETH_IDP_HOME>/logs directory. This may be helpful when troubleshooting any issues.

  7. Deploy the idp.war file in a web application server. This example illustrates this using Apache Tomcat. To do this, copy the <SHIBBOLETH_IDP_HOME>/war/idp.war file into the <TOMCAT_HOME>/webapps directory.

  8. Enable HTTPS in Apache Tomcat. To do this, locate the <TOMCAT_HOME>/conf/server.xml file and configure the HTTPS connector. The following is a sample configuration of how to do this.

    <Connector port="8443"
     keystorePass="password" />
  9. Start the Apache Tomcat server.

  10. Check the status of the server by using the following:

Now you have successfully configured the Shibboleth, however, there are some additional steps that may important for you. By default, Shibboleth adds Transient ID as the NameID in the subject element of the SAML Assertion. The Transient ID attribute definition exposes a randomly generated, short-lived, opaque identifier that can later be mapped back to the user by a transient principal connector. However, if you want to add the login name into the SAML Assertion, you need to do the following configuration.

  1. To configure the principal Id as the NameID in the SAML Assertion, do the following.

    1. Comment out the following default configuration in the <SHIBBOLETH_IDP_HOME>/conf/attribute-resolver.xml file.

      <!--resolver:AttributeDefinition id="transientId" xsi:type="ad:TransientId"><resolver:AttributeEncoder xsi:type="enc:SAML1StringNameIdentifier" nameFormat="urn:mace:shibboleth:1.0:nameIdentifier"/>
      <resolver:AttributeEncoder xsi:type="enc:SAML2StringNameID" nameFormat="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameidformat:transient"/>
    2. Add the following configurations to replace the above commented out configurations.

      <resolver:AttributeDefinition id="principalId" xsi:type="PrincipalName" xmlns="urn:mace:shibboleth:2.0:resolver:ad"><resolver:AttributeEncoder xsi:type="SAML2StringNameID" xmlns="urn:mace:shibboleth:2.0:attribute:encoder" nameFormat="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:1.1:nameid-format:unspecified" />
  2. To configure a new policy for the principal Id, do the following.

    1. Comment out the following default configuration in the <SHIBBOLETH_IDP_HOME>/conf/attribute-filter.xml file.

      <!--afp:AttributeFilterPolicy id="releaseTransientIdToAnyone"><afp:PolicyRequirementRule xsi:type="basic:ANY"/>
      <afp:AttributeRule attributeID="transientId">
      <afp:PermitValueRule xsi:type="basic:ANY"/>
    2. Add the following configurations to replace the above commented out configurations.

      <afp:AttributeFilterPolicy id="releasePrincipalIdToAnyone"><afp:PolicyRequirementRule xsi:type="basic:ANY"/>
      <afp:AttributeRule attributeID="principalId">
      <afp:PermitValueRule xsi:type="basic:ANY"/>

Configuring Identity Server as SP in Shibboleth

Now that you have configured Shibboleth as a SAML2 identity provider, configure the Identity Server as a service provider in Shibboleth.

  1. Configure SAML2 metadata for the Identity Server. The Identity Server acts as a service provider for Shibboleth, so we must configure service provider metadata for the Identity Server. The Identity Server still does not support a metadata profile and you cannot download the metadata, so you must create the file by hand.

    1. Create a file called wso2is.xml inside the <SHIBBOLETH_IDP_HOME>/metadata directory.

    2. The following is the service provider metadata file content for the Identity Server. Add this content into the wso2is.xml file you created.

      <EntityDescriptor entityID="wso2is" xmlns="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:metadata">
          <SPSSODescriptor protocolSupportEnumeration="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:protocol">
              <AssertionConsumerService index="1" Binding="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:bindings:HTTP-POST" Location="https://localhost:9443/commonauth" />


      Here the location value would be as follows:

      https://{Identity Server Hostname} : {Port}/commonauth

  2. Configure a new relying party for Identity Sever. This basically involves adding a new relying party under the RelyingPartyGroup element in the <SHIBBOLETH_IDP_HOME>/conf/relying-party.xml file. The configuration is as follows.

    <RelyingParty id="wso2is" provider="" defaultSigningCredentialRef="IdPCredential" defaultAuthenticationMethod="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:ac:classes:PasswordProtectedTransport">
        <rp:ProfileConfiguration xsi:type="saml:SAML2SSOProfile" signResponses="always" signAssertions="always" encryptAssertions="never" encryptNameIds="never"/>


    This configuration mentions that you must sign the SAML assertion and response.

  3. Configure the new metadata configuration file under the MetadataProvider element in the <SHIBBOLETH_IDP_HOME>/conf/relying-party.xml file.

    <metadata:MetadataProvider id="wso2isMD" xsi:type="FilesystemMetadataProvider" xmlns="urn:mace:shibboleth:2.0:metadata" metadataFile="/home/asela/idp/shibboleth/metadata/wso2is.xml" maintainExpiredMetadata="true"/>


    This configuration points to the new metadata configuration file that you created for the Identity Server.

Configure Shibboleth as an identity provider

You must configure Shibboleth as a SAML2 SSO federated identity provider in the Identity Server.

  1. Download and install the WSO2 Identity Server.

  2. Start the Identity Server.

  3. Log in to the Identity Server management console.

  4. Register new federated identity provider in the Identity Server.

    Note the following when configuring this. - You need provide a name for identity provider configuration. We have used Shibboleth-IDP in this example. - You need to upload the public certificate of Shibboleth. The <SHIBBOLETH_IDP_HOME>/credentials/idp.crt file is the public certificate required here. This is needed for signature validation of the SAML response and assertion.

  5. Expand the Federated Authenticators section and the SAML2 Web SSO Configuration section.
    Note the following when configuring this.

    Field Description Sample value
    Enable SAML2 Web SSO Selecting this ensures that SAML2 SSO is enabled for authentication purposes. You can also set this as the default means of authentication by selecting the Default checkbox. Selected
    Identity Provider Entity Id

    This value must be the entity Id of the Shibboleth identity provider. You can obtain this value from the <SHIBBOLETH_IDP_HOME>/metadata/idp-metadata.xml file. There is an attribute called entityID that specifies this.
    Service Provider Entity Id

    This must be the Identity Server’s Entity Id. You can use the value that you configured in the <SHIBBOLETH_IDP_HOME>/metadata/wso2is.xml metadata file.

    SSO URL This is the Shibboleth identity provider URL. You can obtain this value from the <SHIBBOLETH_IDP_HOME>/metadata/idp-metadata.xml file. This is necessary to configure as you can use HTTP-Redirect binding to send the SAML authentication request from the Identity Server to Shibboleth. This should be in the following format: https://{Shibboleth Hostname}:{Port}/idp/profile/SAML2/Redirect/SSO

    https://localhost :8443/idp/profile/SAML2/Redirect/SSO

    Enable Assertion Signing This is selected to verify the SAML assertion. Selected

    The other configurations all have default values.

  6. Click Register. Now you have configured Shibboleth as an identity provider.

Configuring travelocity as the service provider

Now that you have configured Shibboleth as the identity provider, you can configure the travelocity web application as the service provider in the Identity Server. This way, the Shibboleth identity provider acts as a federated identity provider for travelocity.

There are two ways that you can configure the Shibboleth identity provider as a federated identity provider.

  1. Configure the Shibboleth identity provider for federated authentication for the web application. Once this is configured, the users are redirected to the Shibboleth identity provider login page via the Identity Server when they try to access the web application. In this scenario, only the users who can be authenticated via the Shibboleth identity provider, can log in to the web application.

  2. You can configure multi-option authentication using the Advanced Configuration in the Local and Inbound Authentication section. Here you can configure one authentication step that involves two options for authentication. One is basic authentication that allows authentication of users from the enterprise user store, and the other option is to use Shibboleth-IDP. Once you configure this, users who are accessing the web application are provided with a login page with both options. Therefore users from Shibboleth-IDP and enterprise user store can both log in to the same web application.

To configure the service provider, do the following.

  1. Follow the steps to deploy and configure the sample application.

  2. Expand the Local and Inbound Authentication section and do one of the following configurations.

    1. Configure Shibboleth as a Federated Authentication mechanism by selecting the identity provider you configured from the dropdown.

    2. Select Advanced Configuration and configure multiple options for authentication within the same authentication step. Select Username & Password under Local Authenticators for authenticating users against the enterprise user store and select Shibboleth-IDP under Federated Authenticators.

  3. Click Update to update the details for your service provider.

Testing the scenario

  1. Access sample from http://wso2is.local:8080/

  2. You should see the following login page if you configured multi-option authentication.