Identity assertion is the invocation credential that is asserted to the downstream server.
When a client authenticates to a server, the received credential is set. When the authorization engine checks the credential to determine whether access is permitted, it also sets the invocation credential so that if the EJB method calls another EJB method that is located on other servers, the invocation credential can be the identity used to invoke the downstream method. Depending on the RunAs mode for the enterprise beans, the invocation credential is set as the originating client identity, the server identity, or a specified different identity. Regardless of the identity that is set, when identity assertion is enabled, it is the invocation credential that is asserted to the downstream server.
The invocation credential identity is sent to the downstream server in an identity token. In addition, the sending server identity, including the password or token, is sent in the client authentication token when basic authentication is enabled. The sending server identity is sent through a SSL client certification authentication when client certificate authentication is enabled. Basic authentication takes precedence over client certificate authentication.
Both tokens are needed by the receiving server to accept the asserted identity. The receiving server completes the following actions to accept the asserted identity:
- The server determines whether the sending server identity, sent with a basic authentication token or with an SSL client certificate, is on the trusted principal list of the receiving server. The server determines whether the sending server can send an identity token to the receiving server.
- After it is determined that the sending server is on the trusted list, the server authenticates the sending server to verify its identity.
- The server is authenticated by comparing the user ID and password from the sending server to the receiving server, or it might require a real authenticated call. If the credentials of the sending server are authenticated and on the trusted principal list, then the server proceeds to evaluate the identity token.
Evaluation of the identity token consists of the following four identity formats that exist in an identity token:
- Principal name
- Distinguished name
- Certificate chain
- Anonymous identity
The product servers that receive authentication information typically support all four identity types. The sending server decides which one is chosen, based on how the original client authenticated. The existing type depends on how the client originally authenticates to the sending server. For example, if the client uses SSL client authentication to authenticate to the sending server, then the identity token sent to the downstream server contains the certificate chain. With this information, the receiving server can perform its own certificate chain mapping and interoperability is increased with other vendors and platforms.
After the identity format is understood and parsed, the identity maps to a credential. For an ITTPrincipal identity token, this identity maps one-to-one with the user ID fields.
For an ITTDistinguishedName identity token, the mapping depends on the user registry. For LDAP, the configured search filter determines how the mapping occurs. For LocalOS, the first attribute of the distinguished name (DN), which is typically the same as the common name, maps to the user ID of the registry. For an ITTCertChain identity token, see the Map certificates to users section for details on how this action is performed for the LDAP user registry. For LocalOS, the first attribute of the DN in the certificate is used to map to the user ID in the registry.
Some user registry methods are called to gather additional credential information that is used by authorization. In a stateful server, this action completes once for the sending server and the receiving server pair where the identity tokens are the same. Subsequent requests are made through a session ID.
Identity assertion is only available using the CSIv2 protocol.