There are two policy expressions relating to SAML Assertions, the SamlToken and IssuedToken policy assertions. On the outbound side, the SamlToken expression will trigger a CallbackHandler to obtain a SAML Assertion to insert into the outbound security header, and the IssuedToken expression will use the STSClient to obtain a SAML Assertion from a Security Token Service (STS).
On the inbound side, any SAML Assertion received as part of the security header will be parsed initially by WSS4J. If the assertion is signed, then the signature is verified. If the confirmation method of the Subject of the Assertion is "holder-of-key", then WSS4J will parse the Subject KeyInfo and extract whatever credentials it can find, i.e. secret key or an X509Certificate. If no credential is found (or understood), then the default behaviour is to throw an exception. If the confirmation method is "holder-of-key", then the default behaviour (which is configurable) is to enforce that the Assertion is signed. Finally, WSS4J verifies trust in a certificate that was used to sign the assertion.
After WSS4J is done with validating a received SAML Assertion, CXF does some additional validation according to the configured security policy. For more information on any of the following terms (holder-of-key, sender-vouches, etc.), please consult the SAML Token Profile 1.1 specification.
1) SamlToken policy
If a SamlToken policy is used, the version of the received Assertion (1.1 or 2.0) is checked against the policy, e.g. if <sp:WssSamlV20Token11 /> is configured in the SAMLToken policy then the received Assertion must be a SAML 2.0 Assertion. Two checks are then done on the received Assertion, depending on what the subject confirmation method is.
- Holder-of-key: If the subject confirmation method is "holder-of-key", there must be some proof-of-possession of the key associated with the subject of the assertion. CXF will enforce that either the key was used to sign some portion of the SOAP request, or alternatively the subject credential of the SAML Assertion must match a client certificate credential when 2-way TLS is used.
- Sender-Vouches: If the subject confirmation method is "sender-vouches", then CXF will enforce that the SAML Assertion and SOAP Body are signed by the same signature. Alternatively, it will check that 2-way TLS is used.
If an IssuedToken policy is used, then the receiver is expecting to get a SAML Assertion that is issued by a third-party security service. If the subject confirmation method of the Assertion is "holder-of-key", then it does the same check as described above for a SamlToken policy. Additionally, if a "<sp:RequestSecurityTokenTemplate..../>" policy is configured, it will attempt to match the received Assertion against the RSTTemplate parameters:
- TokenType: If a TokenType parameter is specified in the template, it will match this against the version of the received Assertion. For example, if the TokenType is "http://docs.oasis-open.org/wss/oasis-wss-saml-token-profile-1.1#SAMLV1.1", then the Assertion must be a SAML 1.1 Assertion.
- KeyType: If a KeyType parameter is specified in the template which ends with "SymmetricKey", then the subject of the Assertion must contain a secret key. If the KeyType parameter ends with "PublicKey", then the Subject must contain a Certificate or PublicKey.
Issuer or IssuerName policies are not yet enforced, this will probably be done in a future version of CXF.