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I love slideshare

Some idea's are so cool I'm just jealous I didn't think of them myself. With all the crappy, time consuming and totally useless social network sites (linkedin being the exception) it's refreshing to see something like
The idea is pretty simple - share your slides ! In fact, now that I think of it - it's basically like youtube - but with slides - or presentations.
Just create an account - upload your presentations and slideshare will convert your pdf's or ppt's or whatever format into a flash driven presentation. Which at that point, you'll be able to embed them into your website.
Just for fun I uploaded the presentations I did for UKOUG2007 and UKOUG2008. The 2007 one got selected by the slideshare editorial team as a showcase on their technology page. Way cool!

Your presentation Extending the Oracle SSO is currently being showcased on the 'Technology' page by our editorial team.

It's likely to be there for the next 16-20 hours...


- the SlideShare team

I'm pretty sure their editorial team is a couple of uber-geeks as the selected presentation 'Extending the Oracle Single-Sign-On server' is … well … kind of geeky … and I even dumb'ed it down a bit. It's all about PKI, certificates, authentication, reverse proxies, apache and … fitting Oracle's SSO server somewhere in between Wink
It's also loaded with PowerPoint's custom animations, so you actually need to download it and run it in PowerPoint to get an idea of what I'm aiming for Innocent  … so the editorial team must have been geeky enough to download it and let all the animations spin their heads around.

The content itself is based on the work I've been doing at a customer's site - an insurance company - that had very specific requirements regarding their SSO architecture. They had made Oracle their choice of platform as they had been using the Oracle RDBMS for about 10years (I was the one who set it up back then). So it was only natural that when they wanted to 'web-enable' their back-office applications, and give their - and third party - brokers access to some of their back-office applications, they chose Oracle's Internet Application Server.

As all their business logic was built within PLSQL - the fat database model  or database centric approach as Toon Koppelaars calls it - it was quite easy to develop a web front-end for it. The thing that they struggled the most with, was integrating Oracle single sign on with their fancy and expensive vpn/ssl boxes. Not only that but, they needed to integrate Oracle SSO with a federated authentication infrastructure, so that third party brokers, who were already authenticated through a third party identity provider could automatically logon to their applications, mapping third party identities to their identities.

And we're only halfway there - they also wanted to run their own certificate authority (thank god for Oracle CA … are we the only one actually using it in production ?  Cool). Using their own CA they wanted to generate client certificates so that internet brokers could authenticate themselves with their own client certificate.  But they also had the choice of using their Belgian passport to authenticate themselves against Oracle SSO. And because the insurance holding has multiple companies, the logon screens needed multiple look-and-feels … oh and multi-language support of course.

So for the last couple of years I have been busy pulling Oracle's SSO server inside-out, integrating it with a juniper 4000 VPN/SSL series - which we threw out in favor of an apache2 based SSL terminator and reverse proxy. The juniper box was just holding us back. I did have to write some custom apache filters for Oracle Portal. I think Oracle Portal generates some of the weirdest html I've ever seen… and mod_proxy_html wasn't up to the job for that Smile

I've also integrated SAMLv2 with Oracle SSO. I had to write a java based SAML proxy to get it done, because the SAML token needed to be transferred over a HTTPs connection using a client certificate authentication - but it works like a charm. This was only done this year - so it's only slightly mentioned in the presentation. We had a kind of DIY federated authentication before that, as the third party was not finished implementing a SAML IP themselves.

So I wrote various software packages that tied it all together, like :

  • User admin packages : delegate user administration - this is a pure PLSQL API. This is our own version of OIDDAS on steroids. It can
    • create/delete users 
    • change user passwords - force password changes - enforce minimum password requirements
    • change/get user LDAP attributes
    • do identity bootstrapping for federated authentication
    • request/revoke client certificates for users - update the CRL
    • restrict access to applications depending on whether they are on the LAN, internet or private network (third party) 
    • synchronize Oracle SSO users with users of a MS IIS/ASP/Sybase based application
  • login proxies and plugin's for SSO, which enables us to
    • login based on client certificates/password for internet users
    • login based on eID certificate for internet users
    • login based on SAMLv2 token for third party brokers
    • login based on a DIY federated authentication for third party brokers 
    • login based on username/password for LAN back-office user
    • login via Oracle SSO to a Microsoft IIS/ASP/Sybase application (oh yes - we did it!) 
    • OS/browser detection - quite handy for VISTA and webforms, so we can switch a webforms config transparently if we detect vista. For example - the url /forms/frmservlet?config=app is rewritten to /forms/frmservlet?config=va_app transparently when vista is detected
    • User-based Oracle Webforms config - we can also change Webforms configs on a user per user basis. This is quite handy for debugging or if one specific user has troubles. For example /forms/frmservlet?config=app is rewritten to /forms/frmservlet?config=d_app for certain users. We do this by de-obfuscating the sitetoken,which will give us the URL, lookup the SSO user and see if we need to change the URL, rewrite the URL and then obfuscate the URL back to a sitetoken. Once the sitetoken reaches mod_osso it will redirect to the modified URL.
    • It does lots more things like multi-language detection, different look-and-feel depending on which apache virtualhost your coming from etc
  • Certificate manager - we use the Oracle CA (OCA) quite extensively - but the user and admin screen are … let's say … not so user friendly … and you can't adjust the look and feel just the way you like. So I wrote what I call a certificate manager.
    • The certificate manager uses openssl to create a private key and certificate request on the infrastructure server. This, as opposed to using activeX, javascript and the browser's wallet. The certificate manager picks up requests from our user admin package.
    • The certificate manager then submits the request to the OCA.
    • Someone from the company then approves the request (also through the certificate manager)
    • And then the certificate is packaged in a password protected PKCS12 wallet with the private key and is shipped to the broker in a secure way (which I won't go into details here)
    • The certificate manager uses a bunch of techniques and also has a PLSQL wrapper as an API - so there's no need to use the actual OCA webpages. This means we can easily delegate administration. For example  - if an employee  of a broker office leaves or gets fired, the head of the office can revoke the client certificate through his application, which will in turn update the CRL and disable the user in OID. Of course - approval of client certificates is always done centrally by the head office.

Anyway - that's in a nutshell what the presentation is about. Never mind all the DBA stuff and java programming … working with these technologies was awesome … and it'll help me a grea lot in my DUDE work when I finally finish support for unloading data encrypted using Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) Laughing


Oh - here's the presentation embedded ... but you'll need to download it and run it powerpoint to get the animations running !

Extending Oracle SSO
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: oracle single)

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See DUDE primer for info

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