DACS_AUTH_TRANSFER(8)      DACS Web Services Manual      DACS_AUTH_TRANSFER(8)

       dacs_auth_transfer - transfer credentials between federations

       dacs_auth_transfer [dacsoptions[1]]

       This web service is part of the DACS suite.

       The dacs_auth_transfer service securely exports credentials (which
       represent an identity) from one DACS federation to another (or from
       DACS to a different identity management system), or securely imports an
       identity from one DACS federation to another (or from a different
       identity management system to DACS). This ability to transfer
       credentials (i.e., import or export them) lets a DACS federation
       federate with another system, creating a "super federation" with single
       sign-on capability.  DACS calls such federations affiliated

       A DACS federation can use dacs_auth_transfer to leverage authentication
       mechanisms not available to it, other systems can use it to leverage
       DACS, and users can potentially access any access-controlled resource
       located in any of the cooperating federations.

           In a Nutshell
           For two DACS federations, here is how the service is typically
           used. A user authenticates somewhere in Federation A, obtaining
           credentials understood only in that federation. One or more
           jurisdictions in Federation A will provide a link labelled
           "Transfer Login To Federation B" (or similar). Alternatively, or
           additionally, one or more jurisdictions in Federation B may provide
           a link labelled "Transfer Login From Federation A". Later, when the
           user decides to access resources in Federation B, he follows one of
           the links. Assuming all access control constraints are satisfied,
           new credentials will be returned to him that are understood in
           Federation B. His existing Federation A credentials continue to

           The user is now recognized by both federations. If the user is
           known as FedA::J1:bobo in Federation A, then he will also be known
           by that name in Federation B. If Federation B happens to have a
           jurisdiction named J1 and a user at that jurisdiction named bobo,
           that user (FedB::J1:bobo) is separate and distinct as far as DACS
           is concerned.

           Note that, in general, it is not correct in the scenario above for
           Federation B to automatically initiate a credential transfer if an
           unauthenticated user (with respect to Federation B) is denied
           access. This is because Federation B cannot tell with which
           federation it should be initiated (if there is more than one) or
           even if this is something that the user wants done (perhaps the
           user needs to authenticate in the usual way at Federation A).
           Therefore, except perhaps in special circumstances, explicit user
           interaction is necessary.

       For DACS, the complete protocol is implemented by one program,
       dacs_auth_transfer. It provides the importing, exporting, and
       server-to-server stages of the protocol and it can also optionally
       assist middleware with the initial presentation stage of the protocol.
       The protocol is described below.

       If an identity needs to be imported to a non-DACS system, that system
       must implement the identity transfer protocol described here, or a
       subset of it. If a non-DACS only needs to export an identity to a DACS
       federation, it may only need a small amount of middleware to initiate
       the transfer.

            1. A small degree of cooperation is required between DACS
               administrators at two affiliated federations so that they each
               know how to configure the feature. The two federations remain
               autonomous, however.

            2. Transferring credentials to a DACS federation neither creates a
               new account nor creates a new identity. It merely converts
               credentials that were obtained in one federation into DACS
               credentials that are recognized within another federation.
               Because a DACS user identity includes a federation name, among
               federated DACS systems a user's identity is unique. After
               transfer to a different federation, the original credentials
               continue to exist and are unaltered.

            3. Exporting credentials to another federation and later
               transferring them back to the initial DACS federation (or
               exporting credentials within a federation) will replace the
               initial credentials with new ones for the same identity. The
               two sets of credentials will not be identical, however, and the
               imported ones may be less complete and therefore "weaker" than
               the original credentials with respect to authorization

            4. System administrators should ensure that dacs_auth_transfer is
               configured so that it is impossible to import credentials to a
               federation from which they were exported, otherwise it may be
               possible for users to defeat the expiry of credentials by
               repeatedly regenerating them.

            5. The identity transfer protocol includes a server-to-server
               operation that must use SSL. The identity of the server issuing
               the request must be verified, either through its X.509 (SSL)
               client certificate, DACS credentials, or perhaps its IP

            6. As an additional security measure, a jurisdiction will only
               accept credentials for an identity outside of its federation if
               enabled by ACCEPT_ALIEN_CREDENTIALS[2].

            7. While this document talks in terms of a DACSfederation
               importing credentials, importation actually takes place at a
               DACSjurisdiction, just as authentication does. That target
               jurisdiction is similarly responsible for the resulting
               credentials and is identified within the new credentials for
               access control testing and audit purposes.

            8. Any appropriately configured jurisdiction is capable of
               exporting or importing credentials. Some federations might
               choose to create "administrative jurisdictions" solely for this
               purpose (e.g., export.example.com and import.example.com),
               however, just as a federation might be structured to limit
               authentication services to a designated jurisdiction.

   The Identity Transfer Protocol
           The ability to transfer credentials from one identity management
           system to another is a feature that can be beneficial to both users
           and system administrators. For users, it can provide the
           convenience of single sign-on; a user need only be authenticated by
           one federation to be able to access resources within a different
           federated system. For a system administrator, it means that fewer
           user identities need to be created and managed.

           The systems being federated might exist within a single
           organization or be associated with different, autonomous
           organizations that have a trust relationship, very much as DACS
           jurisdictions do. The transfer of credentials need not be
           reciprocal; that is, Federation A may allow identities to be
           imported from Federation B but not vice versa.

           The architecture of the transfer mechanism is primarily constrained
           by the typical browser-oriented usage of DACS, where credentials
           are encapsulated within an HTTP cookie, thereby dictating how
           credentials are set in an off-the-shelf browser and when
           credentials will be sent by the browser. The approach is
           complicated somewhat because a DACS user may have multiple
           concurrent credentials or may be unauthenticated. Also, a DACS
           federation may wish to federate with more than one foreign
           federation. Therefore, interaction with the user will sometimes be
           necessary so that she can select the particular identity to be
           transferred and a target federation to which that identity is to be
           transferred. A jurisdiction or federation must be able to customize
           this interaction for appropriate web site integration (i.e., look
           and feel), but a bare-bones capability must still be provided by

           The design tries to balance security, usability, performance,
           availability, configuration complexity, implementation effort,
           administrative needs, generality, and extensibility, all within the
           constraints of the DACS architecture and requirements.

           Though it is assumed that SSL is used to secure all network
           communication and identify the communicating hosts where necessary,
           some major potential threats against a transfer capability must be
           addressed by the design:

            1. Replay: the system must prevent the malicious or accidental use
               of expired credentials, reuse of authentication material by a
               different browser user (such as through browser history or a
               bookmark), use of authentication material discovered in a log
               file, and so on

            2. Forgery and Tampering: the system must prevent a malicious user
               from changing authentication material to get different or
               "better" credentials using the transfer protocol

           Replay is addressed in the transfer protocol by restricting the
           exposure of authentication and protocol material and by limiting
           its validity period. Injection of copied material is also made
           difficult. Forgery and tampering are addressed through
           cryptographic means; using well-established techniques, it is
           thought to be practically impossible to create forged
           authentication material or modify it undetectably.

               Importation of identities has federation-wide ramifications but
               it is the responsibility of each jurisdiction to decide whether
               it will allow its dacs_auth_transfer service to import an
               identity or its rules to honour an identity imported by another
               jurisdiction within the federation. A jurisdiction may
               independently allow identities to be imported from an external
               system, just as it may unilaterally decide whether it will
               authenticate users and how it will do so. On the other hand, a
               jurisdiction is free to reject imported identities, just as it
               is free to reject an identity vouched for by another
               jurisdiction in its federation. Federation members may wish to
               establish guidelines and procedures for importing identities.

       Protocol Operation
           The purpose of the protocol is to transfer an identity understood
           by the initial federation to the target federation. The initial
           federation exports an identity; the target federation imports the

           The four stages (operations) of the protocol are now described, in
           the order in which they are used. In all cases, "the user" can be a
           browser or middleware.

            1. The PRESENTATION operation, which is performed in the initial
               federation and is optional, is used for prompting the user to
               select the credentials to be transferred and identify the
               target federation. The purpose of the PRESENTATION operation is
               simply to make it easier for a user or middleware to invoke the
               EXPORT operation; the EXPORT operation can be invoked directly
               without engaging in this step of the protocol, however.

            2. The EXPORT operation is invoked at the initial federation by a
               user to request that the initial federation initiate the
               transfer of credentials representing a given identity to a
               given federation. After receiving and validating its arguments,
               the EXPORT operation invokes the TOKEN operation at the target
               federation. If the target federation tentatively approves the
               importation of the identity, it returns a URL to which the
               EXPORT stage redirects the user. If the target federation
               rejects the request (or the request fails), the EXPORT stage
               returns an error indication that should be reflected back to
               the user and terminates the protocol.

            3. The TOKEN operation is the heart of the protocol. By invoking
               it at the target federation, the initial federation vouches for
               the identity to be transferred and requests that the target
               federation honour the user's request for credentials valid
               within the target federation; the latter is free to reject the
               request for any reason. To accomplish the transfer, the initial
               federation requests a token from the target federation.

               A token is cryptographically protected, opaque information
               encapsulated within a URL as its query component; the token is
               meaningful only to the target federation (i.e., its meaning is
               unspecified by the protocol). It could contain a database key
               for the transaction, a nonce, or a self-contained description
               of the transaction. All that is required by the protocol is
               that it be kept secret among the communicating parties for as
               long as it is valid, that its validity period be no longer than
               what is required to complete the last stage of identity
               transfer, that it be difficult to forge, and that it be

               If the request for a token is granted, the target federation
               returns a URL that encapsulates it, otherwise an error
               indication is returned to the initial federation which in turn
               returns an error indication to the user and terminates the

            4. The IMPORT request is sent by the user to the target
               federation. A complete URL containing the IMPORT request will
               typically be created by the target federation, returned to the
               initial federation, and forwarded to the user as a browser
               redirect by the EXPORT stage. Upon successfully validating the
               request, which includes an examination of the token and
               checking for revocation of the identity (see dacs.acls(5)[3]
               for a description of how authentication/access revocation
               works), the target federation returns credentials (as an HTTP
               cookie) that are returned to the user in the final step of the
               IMPORT operation - this is the end-goal of the protocol - and
               the user is redirected by the target federation to an
               appropriate "success" URL as a convenience to the user. If the
               transfer fails, no new credentials are returned and the user is
               redirected to an appropriate "failure" URL by the target

           The dacs_auth_transfer service implements all of the stages as
           separate operations of a single web service; a different
           implementation might create separate services for each stage or
           operation, or implement a subset of the functionality (e.g., it
           might only support exporting identities).

           Each of the federating systems must be assigned a unique name (for
           DACS, through the FEDERATION_NAME directive) so that identities can
           be globally unique.  The federating systems need not share a common
           domain name suffix.

               In the current implementation of dacs_auth_transfer,
               configuration information associated with target federations is
               not automatically distributed by DACS to a federation's
               jurisdictions. This means that only those jurisdictions that
               have been specifically configured to import identities will be
               able to do so; a jurisdiction will not automatically understand
               how to interact with a given target federation that is
               configured at a different jurisdiction. Each jurisdiction's
               administrator wanting to provide this service must configure
               his site's dacs_auth_transfer service appropriately.

           Details of the dacs_auth_transfer implementation and configuration
           requirements are now presented. A different implementation of the
           protocol could look very different.

               dacs_auth_transfer can emit an HTML document to prompt the user
               (by default, using the style sheet dacs_auth_transfer.css[4]).
               The user selects an identity and target federation and submits
               a form. Alternatively, the information necessary to construct
               prompts can be returned within an XML document that conforms to
               dacs_auth_transfer.dtd[5]. A site is also free to implement its
               own presentation stage.

               The list of known target federation names from which a user can
               select is obtained from mappings that have been configured at
               this jurisdiction (see below).

               When emitting HTML, the web page generated by
               dacs_auth_transfer can be customized through the auth_transfer
               VFS item type. The following items are emitted if they exist:

               •   header: Initial HTML to emit instead of the default.

               •   prologue: HTML to emit immediately after the header.

               •   instructions: HTML to emit immediately after the prologue
                   and before the form.

               •   form: Additional HTML to emit within the form. A likely use
                   of this is to specify a hidden TRANSFER_SUCCESS_URL

               •   epilogue: HTML to emit immediately after the form.

               •   trailer: Final HTML to emit instead of the default.

               For example, consider the configuration directive:

                   VFS "[auth_transfer]dacs-fs:${Conf::DACS_HOME}/auth_transfer"

               If files named header and trailer exist in the directory
               ${Conf::DACS_HOME}/auth_transfer, they are expected to contain
               the initial and final HTML content, respectively. Note that
               these files consist of text and HTML markup but are not
               complete HTML documents.

               Customization of the HTML form is possible using configuration

               •   transfer_export_uri: the URL of the program to which the
                   form should be submitted. By default, the URL is created
                   from the one used to invoke the presentation stage, which
                   will usually be that of dacs_auth_transfer.

               •   transfer_submit_label: the text label to put in the form's
                   submit button.

               •   transfer_submit_method: the HTTP method to use to submit
                   the form (GET is the default).

               For example, the submit button's text can be specified using
               the directive:

                   EVAL ${Conf::transfer_submit_label} = "Execute the transfer!"

               The identity to be transferred and the name of the target
               federation are submitted to dacs_auth_transfer as arguments of
               the EXPORT operation. The request must be accompanied by DACS
               credentials that match this identity and the target federation
               must be recognized by the receiving jurisdiction.

               For example, this URL asks the jurisdiction associated with
               example.com to export the identity EXAMPLE:bobo to the target
               federation DSS:


               For the request to succeed, credentials for EXAMPLE:bobo must
               be sent with the request, permission must be granted (by
               example.com) to export the identity, example.com must be
               configured with an appropriate mapping, described below, such
               that it knows how to submit a TOKEN request to a service
               associated with federation DSS, and that service must allow
               importation of the identity.

               The mappings of federation identifiers to URLs for export
               purposes are provided through the AUTH_TRANSFER_EXPORT[6]
               directive. That is, these mappings indicate which target
               federations have been configured at this jurisdiction and
               associate a target federation identifier (a short, descriptive
               keyword) with a URL of a web service that implements the TOKEN
               operation for the target federation. It is from these mappings
               that the list of selectable target federations is obtained.

                   Unless jurisdictions coordinate mappings with each other,
                   the same jurisdiction must perform both the PRESENTATION
                   and EXPORT operations.
               For example, dacs.conf might include the directive:

                   AUTH_TRANSFER_EXPORT "DSS https://dacs.dss.ca/cgi-bin/dacs/dacs_auth_transfer"

               This directive specifies one target federation, identified by
               the name DSS, and associates it with the URL of a service
               implementing the TOKEN operation.

                   The TOKEN operation must be performed over a secure
                   communication channel, typically using SSL. URLs appearing
                   in these mappings should therefore specify https. The
                   issuer of the TOKEN operation may identify itself using an
                   SSL client certificate; if SSL_PROG_CLIENT_CRT[7] is
                   configured, that certificate will automatically be used.

                   If the issuer of the TOKEN operation possesses DACS
                   credentials obtained offline from the target federation
                   (e.g., using dacscookie(1)[8]), it can specify that they be
                   sent with the request by putting them in an object named
                   FEDNAME.cookies relative to the auth_transfer item type.
                   directory ${Conf::DACS_HOME}/auth_transfer, one cookie per
                   line. The FEDNAME filename suffix is the federation
                   identifier for the importing federation.

                   For instance, given the AUTH_TRANSFER_EXPORT directive and
                   the VFS directive for auth_transfer above, all cookies
                   found in a file named
                   /usr/local/dacs/auth_transfer/DSS.cookies would be sent
                   with the TOKEN operation to identify the initial
                   federation. These cookies would have been obtained from
                   federation DSS over a secure communication channel.

               The syntax and semantics of a token are meaningful only to the
               target federation and can be changed without affecting any
               initial federation. In the current implementation, the token is
               comprised of information such as the identity to be
               transferred, the current date at the transfer federation, the
               client's IP address, and (optionally) the client's role string,
               which is encrypted using the target federation's
               federation-wide key and base-64 encoded.

                   The identity to be transferred must be a syntactically
                   valid DACS username.
               The period during which a token is valid is determined solely
               by the target federation. Its lifetime will ordinarily be just
               a few seconds, after which it will be treated as invalid by the
               directive specifies this value for dacs_auth_transfer; if not
               given, a compile-time default is used.

               A jurisdiction within the target federation that provides
               identity importation must must configure at least one Transfer
               clause. The transfer directives are largely analogous to the
               authentication and roles directives. Each Transfer element must
               have an id attribute. Its value is merely a label (an
               alphabetic followed by zero or more alphanumerics, hyphens, and
               underscores) that allows the clause to be referenced. The id
               attribute values must be unique (case-sensitively) within the
               clause's Jurisdiction section.

                   •   An access control rule must be in place to ensure that
                       this operation can only be executed by a legitimate
                       server belonging to a recognized initial federation.

                   •   The caller may not have supplied DACS credentials to
                       identify itself and therefore the user()[10] function
                       may not be of use.

               Transfer Clause Directives Index:

                1. CREDENTIALS_LIFETIME_SECS (Optional1)

                2. ERROR_URL (Optional1)

                3. EXIT* (Optional1)

                4. IMPORT_FROM (Required)

                5. IMPORT_ROLES (Optional1)

                6. IMPORT_URL (Optional1)

                7. PREDICATE (Optional1)

                8. REFEDERATE (Optional1)

                9. ROLES* (Optional1)

               10. SUCCESS_URL (Optional1)

               IMPORT_FROM (Required)
                   This directive, which may be repeated, names an initial
                   federation, as identified by the INITIAL_FEDERATION
                   argument, to which this clause applies. It must be a
                   syntactically valid federation name. These names are

               REFEDERATE (Optional1)
                   If "yes" (case insensitive), the federation and
                   jurisdiction of the imported identity (i.e., the
                   DACS_IDENTITY argument) are changed to that of the target
                   jurisdiction. If this directive is unspecified or has
                   another value, the original identity is retained.

                   For example, if the TOKEN operation at jurisdiction ALPHA
                   of federation FED2 is passed DACS_IDENTITY with a value of
                   FED1::BETA:bobo and REFEDERATE is enabled, then the
                   imported identity will be FED2::ALPHA:bobo .

                       This directive is useful in certain circumstances in
                       that it can prevent a particular individual from being
                       known by multiple names, which may complicate access
                       control rules. It must be used with care, however.

                       Say Bobo is naturally known as ALPHA:bobo within
                       federation FED2. If she authenticates as
                       FED1::BETA:bobo and uses dacs_auth_transfer to obtain
                       credentials in FED2, then by default her new
                       credentials will be for the name FED1::BETA:bobo; i.e.,
                       her DACS identity is retained.

                       Access control rules in FED2 may need to handle both
                       names, however, which can lead to problems. Some DACS
                       administrators in FED2 may not even be aware of FED1,
                       and so access to FED1::BETA:bobo may be denied while
                       access to the same resource may be granted to

                       If no two distinct identities in FED1 can be mapped to
                       the same identity in FED2 (i.e., the same username
                       component is not associated with more than one
                       jurisdiction that can export the identity to FED2),
                       then the administrator at the initial federation can
                       advise the administrator at the target federation that
                       the REFEDERATE directive should be enabled. Transferred
                       identities will then be modified to appear to have been
                       authenticated by FED2::ALPHA. When this feature is
                       configured, although Bobo authenticates as
                       FED1::BETA:bobo, her imported identity will be

                       If enabling this directive would cause two or more
                       distinct identities to be mapped to the same DACS
                       identity, the directive should not be used because
                       different individuals may be assigned the same DACS
                       name in the target federation.

               PREDICATE (Optional1)
                   The value of this directive is an expression. If the
                   expression does not evaluate to True, importation will not
                   be permitted.

               CREDENTIALS_LIFETIME_SECS (Optional1)
                   This directive is used to override the value of the
                   AUTH_CREDENTIALS_DEFAULT_LIFETIME_SECS[11] directive or the

               IMPORT_ROLES (Optional1)
                   If "yes" (case insensitive), any roles in the existing
                   credentials will be copied to the new credentials. The
                   roles must be syntactically valid at the target
                   jurisdiction. Within the context of the clause, the
                   variable ${Auth::IMPORTED_ROLES} is assigned the roles
                   string. The default is "no".

               IMPORT_URL (Optional1)
                   This is the URL of the IMPORT stage of the protocol. By
                   default, this is the same as that of the TOKEN stage, which
                   is correct for dacs_auth_transfer since it implements all
                   stages of the protocol.

               SUCCESS_URL (Optional1)
                   If the transfer is successful and the user has not
                   specified another URL via the TRANSFER_SUCCESS_URL
                   argument, the user will be redirected to SUCCESS_URL. This
                   directive is used by dacs_auth_transfer in the IMPORT

               ERROR_URL (Optional1)
                   If the transfer fails and the user has not specified
                   another URL via the TRANSFER_ERROR_URL argument, the user
                   will be redirected to ERROR_URL. This directive is used by
                   dacs_auth_transfer in the IMPORT stage.

               ROLES* (Optional1)
                   The value of this directive is an expression that is
                   evaluated at run-time. Provided an error does not occur,
                   the resulting string becomes the role string for the new
                   credentials. The new role string must be syntactically
                   valid at the target jurisdiction. The variable
                   ${Auth::IMPORTED_ROLES} is initialized to the role string
                   (if any - see IMPORT_ROLES) from the existing credentials
                   and is assigned the value of the expression.

                   For example, to add fed1 to those found in the existing

                       IMPORT_ROLES "yes"
                       ROLES* '${Auth::IMPORTED_ROLES} . ",fed1"'

               EXIT* (Optional1)
                   The value of this directive is an expression that is
                   evaluated at run-time. Provided an error does not occur,
                   side effects from the evaluation may alter the final result
                   of the clause. The variable ${Auth::IMPORTED_ROLES} is
                   initialized to the role string (if any - see IMPORT_ROLES)
                   from the existing credentials and
                   ${Auth::IMPORTED_USERNAME} is assigned the (tentative)
                   imported username component from the imported credentials.
                   Either variable may be modified by the expression. The new
                   role string must be syntactically valid at the target
                   jurisdiction. The new username must be syntactically valid.

                   This directive maps all imported usernames to guest,
                   relative to the target jurisdiction:

                       EXIT* '${Auth::IMPORTED_USERNAME} = "guest"'

               An IMPORT request is validated before being accepted, which
               includes examining the token and checking for revocation of the
               identity. There is no guarantee that if the TOKEN operation
               succeeds the IMPORT operation will also.

               DACS credentials imported by dacs_auth_transfer are marked as
               being alien and imported, the jurisdiction that executed the
               importation is recorded, and the IP address associated with the
               user's initial credentials are associated with the new
               credentials; these characteristics can be tested using the
               dacs.exprs(5)[10] function.

                   An access control rule must be in place to ensure that this
                   operation can only be executed by appropriate users. Access
                   might well be granted to any user but might reasonably be
                   restricted based on IP address, etc.

           To recap, assuming dacs_auth_transfer is used to transfer
           credentials between two DACS federations (which we will call
           Federation A and Federation B) and no errors occur, the flow of
           control will typically be as follows:

            1. The user follows a link that invokes dacs_auth_transfer at some
               jurisdiction within Federation A.

            2. dacs_auth_transfer generates an HTML document that is displayed
               on the user's browser. The user selects a target federation
               (Federation B) and credentials to transfer from those presented
               within an HTML form and submits it, invoking dacs_auth_transfer
               at Federation A again, but this time to perform the EXPORT
               operation. The list of credentials from which the user can
               choose depends on the user's current credentials in Federation
               A. The list of target federations depends on those known to the
               jurisdiction that processes the request.

            3. The dacs_auth_transfer at Federation A processes the EXPORT
               operation and invokes the TOKEN operation at Federation B. This
               action is transparent to the user. The response from Federation
               B is a URL that represents a complete IMPORT operation directed
               at Federation B. The EXPORT operation redirects the user's
               browser to that URL.

            4. Upon receiving the redirect, the user's browser invokes the
               IMPORT operation at Federation B.  Federation B returns new
               credentials and redirects the user's browser to a configured or
               requested URL.

           To interoperate with dacs_auth_transfer to import DACS credentials,
           a program must implement the TOKEN operation. It must also provide
           functionality similar to that of the IMPORT operation. Because the
           TOKEN operation returns a URL encapsulating an IMPORT request to
           which the client is redirected, however, the IMPORT operation can
           be implementation-dependent and does need to interoperate with

           To interoperate with dacs_auth_transfer to export credentials to a
           DACS federation, a program must be capable of invoking
           dacs_auth_transfer with the TOKEN operation and its arguments, and
           redirect the client to the URL provided by dacs_auth_transfer.

   Web Service Arguments
       In addition to the standard CGI arguments[12], dacs_auth_agent
       understands a variety of arguments that depend on the operation being
       requested. The descriptions of the arguments that follow are therefore
       grouped by operation.

       The additional arguments accepted by dacs_auth_transfer follow.

           For this stage, the value of the OPERATION argument is PRESENTATION
           (case insensitive).

           The FORMAT argument (see dacs(1)[13]) determines the type of
           output, with the default being HTML.

           Additional arguments:

               If "yes" and there is exactly one set of credentials and one
               target federation (i.e., there is nothing for the client to
               select), then automatically redirect the client to a URL
               representing the EXPORT stage of the protocol. Though the
               client will not be required to submit a form, he will not have
               the opportunity to see which identity is being transferred or
               the name of the target federation.

           For this stage, the value of the OPERATION argument is EXPORT (case

           Additional arguments:

               This is the identity corresponding to the credentials to be
               exported, expressed as a full DACS user identity (see

               This is the jurisdiction's identifier for the federation to
               which the selected credentials are to be transferred. The user
               will typically select this identifier from a list produced by
               the same jurisdiction that performs the PRESENTATION operation.

               If the transfer operation is successful, the user will be
               redirected to this URL.

               If the transfer operation fails, the user will be redirected to
               this URL. If unspecified, the AUTH_TRANSFER_ERROR_URL will be
               used if configured, otherwise a message will be emitted.

               If "yes", operate in a debugging mode.

           For this stage, the value of the OPERATION argument is TOKEN (case

           Additional arguments:

               The value of this argument is identical to the argument of the
               same name that is passed to the EXPORT stage. If the transfer
               succeeds, this is the identity for which new credentials will
               be issued.

               This is the identifier for the federation that received the
               EXPORT request. The target federation must have a mapping for
               this identifier.

               The IP address from which the EXPORT request was issued.

               If the transfer operation is successful, the user wants to be
               redirected to this URL. If unspecified, a default URL will be

               If the transfer operation fails, the user will be redirected to
               this URL. If unspecified, a default URL will be used.

               If "yes", operate in a debugging mode.

           For this stage, the value of the OPERATION argument is IMPORT (case

           Additional arguments:

               This is the value of the token returned by a previous call to
               the TOKEN stage of the protocol.

               If the transfer operation is successful, the user wants to be
               redirected to this URL. If unspecified, a default URL
               configured at the target federation using the
               AUTH_TRANSFER_SUCCESS_URL[15] directive will be used.

               If the transfer operation fails, the user wants to be
               redirected to this URL. If unspecified, a default URL
               configured at the target federation using the
               AUTH_TRANSFER_ERROR_URL[16] will be used.

               If "yes", operate in a debugging mode.

       The following example describes step-by-step how to configure two DACS
       federations, FED_EX1 (example.com) and FED_EX2 (example.net), to enable
       credentials to be transferred fromFED_EX1toFED_EX2. For FED_EX1, the
       jurisdiction J1 (j1.example.com) will be configured to export
       credentials and for FED_EX2, J2 (j2.example.net) will be configured to
       import credentials. The example assumes that these two jurisdictions
       have already installed and configured DACS and that it is possible to
       authenticate (obtain credentials) somewhere within FED_EX1.

           This example will not actually work without changing the domain
           names, URLs, and identities that it uses for demonstration purposes
           to those configured for your federations and jurisdictions. Having
           successfully reproduced this example functionality on your systems,
           it should be apparent how to extend it for additional jurisdictions
           and federations, and how to make credential transfer bidirectional.

        1. At J1, add a jurisdiction-specific access control rule that allows
           dacs_auth_transfer to be used to export an identity:

               <acl_rule status="enabled">
                 <service url_expr='"${Conf::dacs_cgi_bin_prefix}/dacs_auth_transfer"'/>

                <rule order="allow,deny" pass_credentials="all">
                   user("auth") and (${Args::OPERATION} eq "PRESENTATION"
                     or ${Args::OPERATION} eq "EXPORT")

           At J2, add a jurisdiction-specific access control rule that allows
           dacs_auth_transfer to be used to import an identity:

               <acl_rule status="enabled">
                 <service url_expr='"${Conf::dacs_cgi_bin_prefix}/dacs_auth_transfer"'/>

                <rule order="allow,deny" pass_credentials="all">
                   (from("j1.example.com") and ${Args::OPERATION} eq "TOKEN")
                     or ${Args::OPERATION} eq "IMPORT"

               In particular, the rule at the target federation must restrict
               access based on the identity, or possibly the IP address,
               associated with the request. If the cookie-based authentication
               method is used, the rule would test for that specific identity.

        2. At J1, configure dacs_auth_transfer to know how to invoke the TOKEN
           operation so that it can export credentials to FED_EX2. Add this
           directive to dacs.conf:

               AUTH_TRANSFER_EXPORT \
                 "FED_EX2 https://j2.example.net/cgi-bin/dacs/dacs_auth_transfer"

           Note that this is the only required additional configuration at J1.

        3. At J2, configure dacs_auth_transfer so that it will import
           credentials from FED_EX1. Add a Transfer clause to dacs.conf:

               ACCEPT_ALIEN_CREDENTIALS "yes"

               <Transfer id="fed_ex1">
               IMPORT_FROM "FED_EX1"
               SUCCESS_URL \

           This configuration allows credentials to be imported from
           federation FED_EX1. As the default, after successful importation
           users will be redirected to a page that lists their identities in
           federation FED_EX2. In practice this might point to the site's home
           page, for example. The jurisdiction must be told to recognize
           credentials imported from FED_EX2 using the
           ACCEPT_ALIEN_CREDENTIALS directive.

        4. The configuration can now be tested. First, authenticate somewhere
           within FED_EX1 using your browser. Let's assume that you
           authenticated as the identity FED_EX1::J1:bob so that this example
           can refer to a specific name. Invoke this URL from the browser:


           You should be presented with a web page that displays the identity
           FED_EX1::J1:bob (and any others that happen to be in effect) and
           the target federation name FED_EX2 (and any other federations
           specified by a AUTH_TRANSFER_EXPORT directive). It might be
           instructive to view the source for the HTML page if you are still
           not clear about what the PRESENTATION operation does. Click on the
           Transfer button (if necessary, first selecting an identity and
           target federation).

           One can bypass the PRESENTATION operation by directly invoking the


           If the transfer is successful, your browser should now possess the
           original credentials for the identity FED_EX1::J1:bob, valid within
           FED_EX1, and credentials for the identity FED_EX1::J1:bob that are
           valid within FED_EX2; dacs_current_credentials, where your browser
           should be redirected to in this example, should display the latter.
           Note that though issued by different sites, the two cookies have
           the same cookie name.

       The following example illustrates how an identity might be transferred
       from a non-DACS federation (SOME_FED) to a DACS federation (again,
       FED_EX2 via its jurisdiction J2). We will assume that an appropriate
       access control rule has been configured at J2.

       As in the previous example, at J2, configure dacs_auth_transfer so that
       it will import credentials from SOME_FED by adding a Transfer clause to


           <Transfer id="some_fed">
           IMPORT_FROM  "SOME_FED"
           REFEDERATE   "YES"
           IMPORT_ROLES "NO"

       This configuration allows credentials to be imported from federation

       A system administrator must write a small program, run somewhere within
       SOME_FED, that will invoke dacs_auth_transfer at J2 with appropriate
       arguments. The program might be run automatically as part of the login
       procedure at SOME_FED or explicitly by providing a link that a user can
       follow (e.g., labelled "Transfer Login To FED_EX2", or similar). The
       program simply invokes the TOKEN operation at J2 and, if successful,
       redirects the user to the URL that is returned to it by
       dacs_auth_transfer (which represents an IMPORT operation). If the
       IMPORT operation succeeds, the user will be issued an HTTP cookie
       bearing the DACS credentials. If desired, the URL that the user should
       visit after a successful transfer can be specified through the
       TRANSFER_SUCCESS_URL argument.

       The program might initiate the transfer by constructing and invoking a
       URL (via the POST method) much like this:

           import_url=`http -p INITIAL_FEDERATION "SOME_FED" \
             -p DACS_IDENTITY "FED_EX2::J2:bobo" \
             -p CLIENT_ADDR \
             -p TRANSFER_SUCCESS_URL \
               "https://j2.example.net/cgi-bin/dacs/dacs_current_credentials" \
             -p OPERATION TOKEN \

       Here, the requested DACS identity is FED_EX2::J2:bobo. If the response
       looks like a URL, then the TOKEN operation succeeded; to continue the
       transfer, the program must redirect the user to the URL. In this
       example, if credentials are returned to the user, the user will be
       redirected to dacs_current_credentials by DACS (which is useful for
       testing but unlikely in actual use).


       The program exits 0 if everything was fine, 1 if an error occurred.

       dacs_authenticate(8)[17], dacs_auth_agent(8)[18], dacs.conf(5)[19]

       The jurisdictional meta information should be extended to identify
       importing and exporting jurisdictions (e.g., as reported by

       It should be possible to optionally perform comparative checks on the
       IP address from which the EXPORT request was issued and the IP address
       from which the IMPORT request was issued. At present, if they are not
       identical a warning message is logged but importation is allowed.

       The current implementation is stateless on the server side. By
       including a nonce in the token, the possibility of replay could be
       further reduced.

       A mechanism for mapping imported names may be needed.

       Although the credential's DACS role string is passed to the target
       federation, a flexible mechanism for optionally including them in the
       imported credentials should be added.

       The protocol should be improved with respect to peer identification for
       the TOKEN operation.

       Distributed Systems Software (www.dss.ca[21])

       Copyright2003-2012 Distributed Systems Software. See the LICENSE[22]
       file that accompanies the distribution for licensing information.

        1. dacsoptions


        3. dacs.acls(5)

        4. dacs_auth_transfer.css

        5. dacs_auth_transfer.dtd



        8. dacscookie(1)


       10. user()


       12. standard CGI arguments

       13. dacs(1)

       14. dacs(1)



       17. dacs_authenticate(8)

       18. dacs_auth_agent(8)

       19. dacs.conf(5)

       20. dacs_list_jurisdictions(8)

       21. www.dss.ca

       22. LICENSE

DACS 1.4.28b                      02/04/2014             DACS_AUTH_TRANSFER(8)