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Subject: Re: [saml-dev] Confirming how holder-of-key profile works

On Sat, Mar 28, 2009 at 4:20 PM, luismi alvarez santana
<luismi.alvarez@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello everybody,
> Iīve just read the SAM V2.0 Holder-ok-key Assertion Profile (CD 01, 9 March
> 2009), and Iīd really appreciate a confirmation about what I think Iīve
> understood.

I'm not really seeing any questions or comments in your message, but
since this document is in its formal Public Review period right now,
I've cc'd the security-services-comment list just in case.

> The scenario Iīm interested in, implies an attesting entity (a
> user) that tries to get some of their attributes from a SAML issuer (an IdP)
> in order to use them later in an access to a relying party (a SP). In this
> scenario, the steps would be:
> 1.- The user (acting as the attesting entity in the holder-of-key profile)
> build an attribute self-query saml assertion and send it to the IdP (acting
> as the SAML issuer)

I think you mean a self-query SAML *request* but yes, that is one use
case relevant to this profile.

> 2.-IdP issues a holder-of-key assertion containing the attributes requested.
> In this assertion the subject element would refer to the users
> identification used in the <saml:attributequery>, and the whole assertion
> were bound to X509 data OF THE USERīS CERTIFICATE (wasnīt it?).

If I'm understanding you correctly, you're suggesting that the IdP
might bind a <ds:X509Certificate> element to the
<saml:SubjectConfirmation> element, correct?  Yes, that is covered by
this profile.

> This implies
> that IdP NEEDS to know the X509 certificate of the user.

Yes, that's an important point.  Taking the relevant excerpt from the profile:

"the SAML issuer MUST possess an X.509 certificate known to be
associated with the attesting entity"

This profile doesn't say how the SAML issuer comes to posses such a
certificate, however.  That is left to higher-level profiles.

> 3.- The holder-of-key assertion would act like an authenticating token, when
> would be presented to an SP (acting as the relying party), and the user
> would prove the possession of the X509 certificate.

Yes, by proving possession of the private key corresponding to the
public key bound to the certificate.

> In this step I then
> understand three things: (a) SP doesnīt need to know the X509 certificate
> BEFORE the presentation of it by the user (on the contrary thet IdP, that it
> does)
> (b) It isnīt needed any other authentication process, because itīs more than
> enough the comparison of the X509 data contained in the assertion with the
> X509 presented by the client (and the associated private key)
> (c) SP doesnīt need to issue another <saml:attributequery> to the IdP (as in
> a normal access of a user with a token to an SP), because itīs able to
> extract the attributes contained in the holder-ok-key assertion, and process
> them (for example with the intervention of a PDP, PEP entities)

If I'm understanding you correctly, all of that is true, yes.

> Could anyone help me to confirm if the exposed scenario would be realistic?

I think you've described the scenario quite accurately in fact.  Is
there a question or comment in there that I missed?

> Thank you very much in advance, and, please, sorry for the bad english
> language I have.

No problem.

Tom Scavo

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