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Subject: Re: [saml-dev] Same certificate for https and SAML signing

On Mon, Mar 10, 2014 at 12:57 PM, Lucas, Mike <Mike.Lucas@gwl.ca> wrote:
> Use a different one.


> Also, use different key-pairs for signing vs. encryption.

There are differing points of view. The IdP doesn't really need to
support encryption, but the SP can and should support both, so I'll
concentrate on the SP. One key for both uses (signing and encryption)
reduces bloat in metadata files (which is especially important in
metadata aggregates) but separate keys for each use (signing and
encryption) is more flexible. The kicker is key rollover: it is much
easier to roll over single-use keys, so you need to take that into
account as well.

FWIW, most Federations in higher ed use one key for both uses (signing
and encryption) since reducing bloat is a prime consideration.

> From my experience, it's simpler to just use a long-lived (10-year or more
> expiry), self-signed cert that is pre-shared with your SAML partners, rather
> than relying on CA-signed certs.


> There's some background on that in this
> article:
> https://spaces.internet2.edu/display/InCFederation/X.509+Certificates+in+Metadata#X.509CertificatesinMetadata-Background

(FYI, I'm the current maintainer of that wiki page :)

> Although note that is an implementation-specific site so it may just be one
> interpretation of the spec, but it certainly rings true to me.

If you're referring to the SAML spec, it has nothing to say about this
issue. The companion spec that Peter pointed is one approach but there
is a small fraction of Federations worldwide (that I know of, anyway)
that employ a model based on CA-signed certificates in metadata.


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