The SCTValidator - 6.5

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Now that we've covered the TokenValidator interface, let's look at an implementation that is shipped with the STS. The SCTValidator is used to validate a token known as a SecurityContextToken, that is defined in the WS-SecureConversation specification. The SCTProvider was covered in earlier in this chapter. A SecurityContextToken essentially consists of a String Identifier which is associated with a particular secret key. If a service provider receives a SOAP message with a digital signature which refers to a SecurityContextToken in the KeyInfo of the signature, then the service provider knows that it must somehow obtain a secret key associated with that particular Identifier to verify the signature.

One way to do this would be if the service provider shares a (secured) distributed cache with an STS instance. An alternative solution would be for the service provider to send the SCT to an STS for validation, and to receive a SAML token in response with the embedded (encrypted) secret key. The SCTValidator can accommodate this latter scenario, albeit indirectly as will be explained shortly.

The SCTValidator can validate a SecurityContextToken in either of the following namespaces:

The SCTValidator validates a received SecurityContextToken by checking to see whether it is stored in the cache. Therefore it is a requirement to configure a cache for the STS if you want to validate SecurityContextTokens. If the SecurityContextToken is stored in the cache (for example, by the SCTProvider), then the received SecurityToken is taken to be valid. The secret associated with the SecurityContextToken is also retrieved from the cache, and set as an "additional property" in the TokenValidatorResponse using the key "sct-validator-secret". If the cached token has a stored principal, then this is also returned in the TokenValidatorResponse.

If you want to support the scenario of returning the secret key associated with the SecurityContextToken to the client (of the STS), then it is possible to do so via token transformation. This is where the client sends an additional Token Type (in this case for a SAML Token). After the token is validated, the SAMLTokenProvider is called with the additional properties map obtained from the SCTValidator. The SAMLTokenProvider then has access to the secret key via the "sct-validator-secret" tag, which it can insert into the Assertion using a custom AttributeProvider.