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Subject:RE: [Assurance] comments on draft MFA Interop WG documents
Date:Wed, 4 May 2016 13:48:10 +0000
From:Cantor, Scott <cantor.2@osu.edu>
Reply-To:assurance@incommon.org
To:assurance@incommon.org <assurance@incommon.org>


>

I

hope

we

don't

need

to

require

an

addendum

for

MFA...


>

>

I

think

the

intent

was

for

self-assertion.

I

won't

speak

for

the

WG,

but

while

working

on

the

material,

I

had

been

operating

under

the

assumption

this

was

not

an

assurance

category

at

all

but

a

self-asserted

AuthnContextClassRef

(in

SAML

terms),

just

like

many

others

defined

in

SAML

already.

Thus

the

idea

of

a

self-asserted

category

to

go

with

a

self-asserted

AuthnContext

seemed

redundant

(but

that

may

prove

not

to

be

the

case

for

other

reasons).

I

didn't

actually

notice

the

naming

convention

in

the

URI

included

the

word

assurance,

and

tend

to

think

that

may

be

confusing

as

a

result

and

worth

reconsidering

before

this

finalizes.

Sometimes

the

obvious

doesn't

hit

you

when

you're

staring

at

it

closely.

--

Scott

 


 
Subject:RE: [Assurance] comments on draft MFA Interop WG documents
Date:Wed, 4 May 2016 14:00:43 +0000
From:Jokl, James A. (Jim) (jaj) <jaj@virginia.edu>
Reply-To:assurance@incommon.org
To:assurance@incommon.org <assurance@incommon.org>


+1

I

made

it

to

many

of

the

calls

and

always

had

the

self-asserted

picture

in

my

mind

as

the

basic

perspective

--

that

this

was

about

passwords

no

longer

being

adequate

and

what

is

the

new

baseline

authentication.

I

still

think

of

this

stuff

as

"Standard

Assurance"

-

good

for

whatever

applications

you

used

to

just

use

and

ID/Password

for

-

but

I

get

Scott's

point

too

about

the

name.

Note

that

this

work

took

a

nice

low

bar

on

the

technical

side

-

almost

anything

that

you

can

call

a

second

factor

is

acceptable

--

and

there

is

no

discussion

about

identity

proofing.

All

good

for

self-asserted,

perhaps

less

so

if

people

were

thinking

differently.

Jim

 
 
Subject:RE: [Assurance] comments on draft MFA Interop WG documents
Date:Wed, 4 May 2016 14:38:18 +0000
From:Paul Caskey <pcaskey@internet2.edu>
Reply-To:assurance@incommon.org
To:assurance@incommon.org <assurance@incommon.org>


+1

to

all

of

that

and

yes,

IMHO,

we

should

not

use

the

word

'assurance'

to

refer

to

this

context.

 


Subject:Re: [Assurance] comments on draft MFA Interop WG documents
Date:Wed, 4 May 2016 09:24:57 -0700
From:David Walker <dwalker@internet2.edu>
Reply-To:assurance@incommon.org
To:assurance@incommon.org

 

I'll take responsibility for putting the work "assurance" in the URI.  I
did it without much thought, and it certainly can be changed.  In fact,
the plan is to replace it with a URI in the REFEDS name space, anyway.

I agree with everyone that the MFA authentication context should be
self-asserted.  I think the real question is whether IdPs that support
the MFA profile should also be given a (presumably self asserted) entity
category in metadata.  The current draft does not recommend an entity
category, as the group didn't see use cases where it would help.  We
have since, however, heard of SPs that would like to tailor their
discovery interfaces to exclude non-MFA-supporting IdPs, and there are
situations where an entity category can save an SP from issuing a second
authentication request when it prefers MFA, but will accept anything else.

Do others have use cases for an IdP entity category that it supports the
MFA profile?  It's certainly not too late to define one.

David

Subject:RE: [Assurance] comments on draft MFA Interop WG documents
Date:Wed, 4 May 2016 16:35:02 +0000
From:Paul Caskey <pcaskey@internet2.edu>
Reply-To:assurance@incommon.org
To:assurance@incommon.org <assurance@incommon.org>

 

It was the discovery use case I had in mind...

 



Subject:Re: [Assurance] comments on draft MFA Interop WG documents
Date:Tue, 10 May 2016 04:00:01 +0000
From:Herrington, Karen <kmherrin@vt.edu>
Reply-To:assurance@incommon.org
To:assurance@incommon.org <assurance@incommon.org>


The MFA Interoperability Profile Working Group discussed this issue in its call last week, and we'd like some more input from all of you.  Here’s a summary of that discussion, followed by some questions for you.

Summary of Last Week’s Discussion

There is a cost to creating entity categories.  While it is relatively easy to define them (what the group has to do), there is also a cost to InCommon to modify its documentation and Federation Manager software.  Further, assuming this becomes an international profile, all federations will bear that cost.  Finally, this startup cost may be dwarfed by the ongoing effort on the part of IdP and SP operators, who must understand an increasing number of entity categories and react as appropriate.

So, we need to ensure that new entity categories bring value.  These use cases have been identified for the use of an MFA entity category for IdPs:

  1. Enable an SP to filter its discovery interface based on whether an IdP supports MFA.
  2. Reduce the number of authentication requests an SP must issue to an IdP for certain types of error handling when MFA is desired, but other forms of authentication are acceptable.
  3. Provide a formal mechanism for an institution to declare its compliance with the MFA profile (or perhaps a future stronger MFA profile).
  4. Provide a workaround for SPs to avoid IdPs that do not behave as expected within the SAML spec.  For example, they respond incorrectly to requests for specific authentication contexts (or they do not respond at all), or they crash.

The group had not previously discussed the discovery issue, but recognizes its importance; it’s likely the most significant reason for defining an entity category.  The group had earlier decided that the potential additional authentication requests didn’t warrant an entity category, and that formal declaration of compliance was not necessary.  The fourth issue of IdP behavior is broader than just the profiles defined by this group, and so out of scope, but it was recognized that definition of an MFA entity category would address that issue in this narrow instance.

Questions for You

  1. If we define an MFA entity category, what should its criteria be?  The group discussed the following:
    1. What does it mean for an IdP to “support MFA?”  Is it the ability to issue assertions in compliance with the MFA profile for at least one member of its community?  Something else?
    2. Should the ability to issue assertions in compliance with the Base Level profile also be included so that SPs that prefer MFA but will accept anything else can do that with a single authentication request?  This would imply that the ability to assert Base Level be required of all members of the IdP’s community.
  1. Would a formal institutional declaration of compliance with the MFA profile cause you to trust its MFA assertions more?  Could that declaration be as simple as a box in the Federation Manager that would be checked by the site administrator, or should further documentation be required?

Thanks for your input,

Karen Herrington

Chair, MFA Interoperability Profile Working Group


 

Subject:Re: [Assurance] comments on draft MFA Interop WG documents
Date:Tue, 10 May 2016 13:41:50 +0000
From:Basney, Jim <jbasney@illinois.edu>
Reply-To:assurance@incommon.org
To:InCommon Assurance <assurance@incommon.org>


Hi,

>What does it mean for an IdP to "support MFA?" Is it the ability to issue
>assertions in compliance with the MFA profile for at least one member of
>its community?

Yes.

In XSEDE we would conclude that researchers on that campus can use MFA for
federated authentication to XSEDE resources, so XSEDE doesn't need to
issue separate MFA tokens to those researchers. For more info on campus
researchers using XSEDE, see: https://www.xsede.org/campus-champions

>Should the ability to issue assertions in compliance with the Base Level
>profile also be included so that SPs that prefer MFA but will accept
>anything else can do that with a single authentication request?  This
>would imply that the ability to assert Base Level be required of all
>members of the IdP's community.

Yes.

I thought the InCommon Assurance program already defined a base LOA to
replace the POP. Any news on that?

>Would a formal institutional declaration of compliance with the MFA
>profile cause you to trust its MFA assertions more?

Yes.

>Could that declaration be as simple as a box in the Federation Manager
>that would be checked by the site administrator

Yes.

Sincerely,
Jim Basney
XSEDE's InCommon Site Administrator
> 

 

Subject:RE: [Assurance] comments on draft MFA Interop WG documents
Date:Tue, 10 May 2016 14:46:02 +0000
From:Cantor, Scott <cantor.2@osu.edu>
Reply-To:assurance@incommon.org
To:assurance@incommon.org <assurance@incommon.org>


> >Would a formal institutional declaration of compliance with the MFA
> >profile cause you to trust its MFA assertions more?
> 
> Yes.

Can I ask why? What's the difference between self-asserting a category and self-asserting the same data in an assertion?

-- Scott


 

Subject:Re: [Assurance] comments on draft MFA Interop WG documents
Date:Tue, 10 May 2016 16:12:28 +0000
From:Basney, Jim <jbasney@illinois.edu>
Reply-To:assurance@incommon.org
To:InCommon Assurance <assurance@incommon.org>


>>>Would a formal institutional declaration of compliance with the MFA
>>>profile cause you to trust its MFA assertions more?
>> 
>> Yes.
>
>Can I ask why? What's the difference between self-asserting a category
>and self-asserting the same data in an assertion?

I think my answer is the same for Base Level, MFA, Silver, or Bronze. Our
trust fabric is based on contractual agreements between InCommon LLC and
its participants, and that trust is operationalized via the federation
metadata. Knowing that an institutional representative made a declaration
to InCommon (either via an Assurance Addendum or via a checkbox on the
Federation Manager), subject to the Participation Agreement, gives me
greater trust in the organization's compliance with an InCommon standard
than I get from IdP-SP bidirectional communication alone.

-Jim


 

Subject:RE: [Assurance] comments on draft MFA Interop WG documents
Date:Tue, 10 May 2016 16:17:00 +0000
From:Cantor, Scott <cantor.2@osu.edu>
Reply-To:assurance@incommon.org
To:assurance@incommon.org <assurance@incommon.org>


> >Can I ask why? What's the difference between self-asserting a category
> >and self-asserting the same data in an assertion?
> 
> I think my answer is the same for Base Level, MFA, Silver, or Bronze. Our
> trust fabric is based on contractual agreements between InCommon LLC and
> its participants, and that trust is operationalized via the federation
> metadata. Knowing that an institutional representative made a declaration
> to InCommon (either via an Assurance Addendum or via a checkbox on the
> Federation Manager), subject to the Participation Agreement, gives me
> greater trust in the organization's compliance with an InCommon standard
> than I get from IdP-SP bidirectional communication alone.

For the record, my counter-argument is that the the IdP is generally under the
control of the same individual who would have to check that box, and who already
vouched for the key with which the assertion is signed, and so it creates an
extra step for that person. Multiplied across the federation, I think that's a real cost. -- Scott