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Keystone does not validate that identity providers match federation mappings


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 different forms.

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.

Recommended Actions

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 URL.

Here is an example with the mod_auth_mellon HTTPD module:

 <Location /v3/OS-FEDERATION/identity_providers/idp1/protocols/saml2/auth>
   AuthType "Mellon"
   MellonEnable "auth"
   MellonIdPMetadataFile /etc/httpd/mellon/idp1-metadata.xml
   MellonEndpointPath /v3/OS-FEDERATION/identity_providers/idp1/protocols/saml2/auth/mellon
 <Location /v3/OS-FEDERATION/identity_providers/idp2/protocols/saml2/auth>
   AuthType "Mellon"
   MellonEnable "auth"
   MellonIdPMetadataFile /etc/httpd/mellon/idp2-metadata.xml
   MellonEndpointPath /v3/OS-FEDERATION/identity_providers/idp2/protocols/saml2/auth/mellon

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 mod_auth_mellon 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 'remote_id_attribute' setting in keystone.conf, which defines the environment variable that contains the identity provider identifier. You then must add the identifier value that the 'remote_id_attribute' 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' command-line utility.

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