CAS 5 RC1 Release


Based on the CAS project release schedule, today we are excited to announce the first release candidate in the CAS 5 series. There are a few enhancements packed into this release that are worthy to publicize. So here it goes.

Before we get started, it should be pointed out that releases of CAS 5 are available to adopters to try. Deployers are more than welcome to try these out and share feedback.

The current documentation of CAS 5 is also available here.

OpenID Connect

OIDC support in CAS gets a number of improvements and bug fixes thanks to Jérôme.

Google reCAPTCHA

Over the years, there have been several requests on the mailing list asking for guidance to enable a CAS integration with Google’s reCAPTCHA. While a recipe existed for enabling this feature for older CAS versions, over time it’d gotten rusty. In this release, CAS starts to support Google’s reCAPTCHA natively. Just like with all other features, there will be no need to modify the CAS login webflow or any other configuration file. Include the relevant module, and provide your settings for reCAPTCHA.

This article may be of further interest to you.

Default Redirect URL

What happens when users accidentally and incorrectly bookmark the https://sso.example.org/cas/login url? They get to the CAS login page, authenticate and then are greeted with a warm welcoming message that redirects them to nowhere important. Phone calls and support tickets flood IT services reporting that CAS or this/that application are broken.

That’s no fun.

So to accommodate this briefly, CAS starts to support a default redirect URL to which you can redirect your audience if no target application is specified upon authentication. The URL can be just about anywhere, as long as you have authorized and registered it correctly. In most cases, it’s a redirect to some sort of portal page that lists all services integrated with CAS.

Case Insensitive Attribute Release

So you have set up CAS to retrieve attributes from your LDAP server and decided to retrieve the attribute givenName. You then register a few services and design them such that they would be allowed to receive givenName, yet nothing is released. Your logs show givenName is found and your LDAP queries and browsers all show that attribute has a valid value and all the right permissions are set. What’s happening? Is CAS secretly biased against that attribute?

Some LDAP servers seem to change the case of the attribute name when they pass it back to the requesting application. CAS may submit givenName, yet it receives givenname. When the application asks for attributes CAS looks at the associated attribute policy and finds that it’s authorized to release givenName, yet the actual principal has no such attribute! It only has givenname. As a result, the application gets nothing.

To accommodate this scenario, CAS starts to treat attributes that are specified in attribute release policies in a case insensitive manner. With this change, CAS may ask for givenName and the LDAP server is free to return givenname, GIVENNAME or a hyper-emo version of it, gIvEnNaMe. At release time, since case no longer matters the application will correctly receive givenName.

If it matters that much, note that you can always control the exact case of the attribute released as well and override the CAS behavior.

Also note that this behavior is applicable to all sources from which you retrieve attributes. It’s not limited to LDAP though the issue described most commonly affects LDAP.

Geoprofiling Authentication Requests

How do you block what you may consider a suspicious authentication attempt? For instance, you may wish to disallow requests from certain locations or IP addresses or even fancier, you may want those requests to pass through multifactor authentication for extra security.

As a variant of adaptive authentication and starting with this release candidate CAS allows you to geoprofile authentication requests and then based on your devised rules, reject those or force them through a particular multifactor provider. Geoprofiling can be achieved via Maxmind or GoogleMaps, both of which are services that require a paid subscription for full API usage.

Groovy, maaan!

Furthermore, CAS starts to support attribute release via the Groovy programming language. In short, you can specify a groovy script that is executed upon attribute resolution and/or release to dynamically and programmatically decide which application should receive a selection of attributes.

Note that attribute resolution could always be done via Groovy. This bit is not new. We have just made the configuration of it a whole easier. Also note that in CAS, attribute resolution is a separate process from attribute release. You can mix and match options that are available for both.

Needless to say, the script is all Groovy and and is capable of executing any kind of operation the Groovy language itself is able to support.

Spring Cloud: Vault & MongoDb

CAS adds support for Vault and MongoDb, as options that may be used to house CAS configuration.

DuoSecurity WebSDK 2.3

Thanks to contributions from DuoSecurity, the Duo WebSDK module is now bumped to 2.3.

Front Channel SLO

While it has been and still is somewhat of an experimental feature, this release candidate improves the CAS front-channel single logout functionality. CAS attempts to collect applications that are defined to use front-channel logout and will use a bit of fancy javascript to contact each endpoint to pass along the logout notification request. The payload and syntax of the request is identical to the current back-channel logout, and status of each request is tracked and displayed in the user interface.

SAML2 SP Integrations

Now that CAS 5 starts to support the SAML2 protocol, you gotta ask: what if we could extend the auto-configuration strategy to provide built-in SP integrations? That is, much like anything else, you should be able to declare what your SP metadata is, what attributes it requires and so on in a simple .properties file. CAS should auto-register the SP and take care of all the other technical details.

Right?

Right! With this release, CAS starts to support the following SP Integrations out of the box:

  • Dropbox
  • Box
  • Salesforce
  • SAManage
  • ServiceNow
  • PowerFAIDS Net Partner
  • Workday
  • WebEx
  • Office365

These are generally SPs for which the SAML2 integration recipe is quite simple. As we progress forward, we hope to start collecting more and more of such SPs, specially those that are more visible and used by the wider community often, such that we can configure once, run everywhere rather than document it repeatedly, maintain it separately and repeat it for every deployment forever.

If you have SP suggestions, please feel free to share.

Audit Log

In certain cases and depending on the nature of the request, CAS would produce an audit:unknown in the audit log. Thanks to Dima, this behavior is corrected to ensure the audit log can produce a valid user id for all cases.

Logging Dashboard

CAS starts to allow its administrators, permissions granting, to observe logging configuration and view log outputs in real time. This is done via the magic of Web Sockets, where CAS and the browser establish a light-weight TCP connection to stream log data.

Here are a few screenshots:

Custom Error Pages

Thanks to the magic of Spring Boot, CAS starts to present customized error pages based on http error codes. You can for instance design a simple 401.html to explain the error to your users better. Error pages can be defined in form of series as well, such as 5xx.html.

Here are a few screenshots:

Password Management

Starting with this release, CAS provides very modest password management capabilities. This is an optional feature which allows users to change their password in-place when CAS detects an authentication failure due to a rejected password. LDAP is supported as a backend option for managing the account password, though you could always extend CAS to provide your own implementations of password management services for various backends.

Note that this feature is off by default and without it, you simply get today’s CAS experience which is a link redirecting to your own password management tool.

Here are a few screenshots:

What’s Next?

The development team is working to make sure the CAS 5 release is on schedule.

At this point, all new development has been frozen and project is solely focusing on testing the release candidate and applying bug fixes based on community reports. There will likely be other release candidates but short of any major incidents or changes, the CAS 5 GA release should be available right on schedule.

How can you help?

  • Start your early CAS 5 deployment today. Try out features and share feedback.
  • Better yet, contribute patches.
  • Review and suggest documentation improvements.
  • Review the release schedule and make sure you report your desired feature requests on the project’s issue tracker.

Das Ende

A big hearty thanks to all who participated in the development of this release to submit patches, report issues and suggest improvements. Keep’em coming!

Misagh Moayyed

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