OASIS Mailing List ArchivesView the OASIS mailing list archive below
or browse/search using MarkMail.


Help: OASIS Mailing Lists Help | MarkMail Help

wsrp message

[Date Prev] | [Thread Prev] | [Thread Next] | [Date Next] -- [Date Index] | [Thread Index] | [List Home]

Subject: Re: [wsrp] Dealing with unauthenticated users

It is true that this is how Java technologies, such as Servlets/EJBs/Portlets behave.

But I don't think that is 'Java specific'. IMO, that WSRP does not define a relationship betwen userAuthentication and the UserContext is an underspecification on our part. But regardless of that, if a consumer indicates 'userAuth=none' is declaring, to the producer, that the user is not authenticated in any form; if this is the case, why would you pass any userCategory, it's kind of meaningless, all non-authenticated users would have it.

What was the reasoning on making userContextKey required and non-nillable?


On Thursday, July 17, 2003, at 06:01 AM, Rich Thompson wrote:

I think this answer is a bit to Java specific. The spec defines no relationship between the userAuthentication field and the fields in the UserContext structure. It is therefore quite reasonable for a Consumer to supply userAuthentication=wsrp:none and a userCategory value of wsrp:full. Now it is also quite reasonable for the Producer to refuse to provide full access to an unauthenticated user, but this is an independent decision from whether the Consumer prefers them to have full access.

I would also note that userContextKey can not be null as it is a required and non-nillable field. The entire UserContext can be nil or the userContextKey can have some dummy value (Mike's suggestion was "" for his original question). I would note that the spec defines this field as:
This key is a token that the Consumer supplies to uniquely identify the UserContext. The userContextKey MUST remain invariant for the duration of a Consumer’s registration. The Producer can use this key as a reference to the user.".
It is therefore reasonable for the Producer to use this key as an index into a cache of UserContext structures. The result of this is that this key should only be the same for users where the contents of the UserContext match exactly (userCategories and userProfile).

Rich Thompson

I would echo Subbu here,

WSRP1.0/Page 27, "• userAuthentication: String indicating how the  
End-User was authenticated."

RuntimeContext.userAuthentication indicates the form of  
'authentication' the user has used with the consumer. It has nothing to  
do with 'authorization', that normally handled by the roles the user  

So there are three possibilities here:

1* The user has authenticated with the consumer


2* The user has authenticated with the consumer but the consumer has  
chosen not pass the information to the producer


3* The user has authenticated with the consumer and the consumer  
indicates the mechanism used for this authentication


If you are mapping userCategories to JSR168 roles then you have to keep  
the following in mind: if the user is not authenticated the user can  
not have roles. Servlet/EJB/Portlet specifications do not allow roles  
if the user is not authenticated. And the behavior for the three  
possibilities would be:

On #1:
userContextKey and userCategories are null.

On #2:
If the consumer is hiding the fact the user is authenticated from the  
producer. So for the producer it would be identical as case #1.

On #3:
userContextKey as a consumer defined value
userCategories may have values

If you are not mapping userCategories to JSR168 roles then the identity  
and roles of the user would be passed through extensions, but you could  
still indicated the authentication type in  
RuntimeContext.userAuthentication element.

And, going to your specific  concern, you could use a a  
'com:oracle:auth:weak' string to signal weak authentication, then you  
could pass userCategories (and map them to roles in the JSR168  


For the first one userCategories wouldd

On Wednesday, July 16, 2003, at 11:26  AM, Michael Freedman wrote:

> Unfortunately, RuntimeContext.userAuthentication=wsrp:none isn't good  
> enough.  It doesn't mean that the user identity is undetermined.  If  
> merely means the user wasn't authorized.  Some consumer may prefer to  
> implement a form of "weak" authorization whereby they use a client  
> cookie to infer who the user is prior to a formal login to present a  
> [partially] customized page.  Weak authorization is represented by  
> sending a UserContext with the userId and a  
> RuntimeContext.userAuthentication=wsrp:none.  Hence we still have the  
> issue I raised concerning recoginizing the difference between I don't  
> know this users identity  but want to pass user categories that apply  
> to unrecognized users vs. a real user identity.
>      -Mike-
> Andre Kramer wrote:
> We have RuntimeContext.userAuthentication == wsrp:none to say the user  
> identity is undetermined by a consumer.
> Portlets can also use UserProfile info for users. If none is supplied,  
> the producer should not make any inference on user identity.
> So I would prefer a real user context key and see no need on agreeing  
> a common value, but had asked for a "portlet is being shared" flag to  
> signal that a portlet is being multiplexed. Maybe this expand to cover  
> other common use cases in 2.0 such as "consumer is hiding end user  
> identity for privacy reasons"?
> regards,
> Andre
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Michael Freedman [mailto:Michael.Freedman@oracle.com]
> Sent: 15 July 2003 21:44
> To: wsrp@lists.oasis-open.org
> Subject: Re: [wsrp] Dealing with unauthenticated users
> The wsrp list it is ...
> I would like to avoid diving into the whole security discussion again  
> ... that is why at the end I tried [poorly] to distill the question  
> down to how can a consumer indicate that it provides user categories  
> for interactions where it doesn't know the identity of the user?  Or  
> put another way, how does the consumer provide information to the  
> producer so it can decide the consumers intent on how an anonymous  
> user can control the preferences of the entity?  I don't think the  
> consumer should manufacture [on its own] a dummy user context key for  
> this.  Rather it should have the ability to clearly communicate this  
> circumstance -- however, given where we are in the specification  
> process however we have to look for ways of working within the  
> structure we have -- hence I focus on defining a consistent  
> representation of this dummy user context key so this particular  
> situation can/will be represented in an interoperable way.  I  
> suggested "" to avoid collisions with any name the consumer might  
> consider valid in its environment.  
>      -Mike-
> Rich Thompson wrote:
> How about we just carry this thread on the wsrp list rather than many  
> people getting duplicate emails?
> I think there are some significant issues with interpreting  
> application data items as supplying security information rather than  
> actually using whatever might be available from security subsystems.  
> While on the surface your suggestion might appear reasonable, how does  
> it play out against the standard man-in-the-middle attack mode that  
> security people work hard to stop?
> Rich Thompson
> I have cc'd this e-mail to the entier list because I think folks might
> be interested in general -- I apologize up front if this is something
> you don't want to see.
> We have discussed that though the specification doesn't define the
> UserContext [userContextKey and userCategories] as carrying security
> information, we expect some producers to use this application level
> information to satisfy its needs.  Currently, the userContextKey is a
> required field.  Hence the current way a consumer indicates it doesn't
> know the users identity is by passing a null userContext.  This however
> prevents the consumer from defining/mapping user categories to
> unauthenticated/unknown users.  However consumers often represent this
> class of user just so some control can be defined on this class.  For
> example, control as represented by wsrp:minimal user category.  
> So the questions is, do we want to support defining/using user
> categories on public/guest users?  If so, how do we deal with the
> producer/JSR 168 interoperability problem wherein the producer uses the
> userContext/userContextKey field to establish whether its communicating
> with an authenticated user [through its trust relationship with the
> consumer]?  Wouldn't we need to define a special token value for
> userContextKey that all producers could safely use to mean the
> application hasn't established the identity of the user but oh by the
> way here are the user categories that relate to anyonymous users?  I
> would suggest we use the convention that an empty string "" as the
> userContextKey indicates such a user.  What do others think?
>    -Mike-
> You may leave a Technical Committee at any time by visiting  
> http://www.oasis-open.org/apps/org/workgroup/wsrp/members/
> leave_workgroup.php

[Date Prev] | [Thread Prev] | [Thread Next] | [Date Next] -- [Date Index] | [Thread Index] | [List Home]