Shibboleth Security Advisory [9 April 2014]

Cantor, Scott cantor.2 at
Wed Apr 9 11:47:13 EDT 2014

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Shibboleth Security Advisory [9 April 2014]

An updated version of the OpenSSL library, 1.0.1g, is available
that corrects a serious bug that can lead to information leakage,
including disclosure of private keys.

Refer to the Recommendations section below for specific guidance on
how particular platforms are affected.

OpenSSL "Heartbleed" vulnerability
A security advisory for versions of OpenSSL 1.0.1 prior to 1.0.1g
has been issued for a serious vulnerability known as "Heartbleed".

The vulnerability has been published as CVE-2014-0160 and a website
describing the issue can be found at

Since Shibboleth products make extensive use of TLS, and the Service
Provider itself uses OpenSSL directly, deployments of both Identity
and Service Providers *may* be affected by this issue.

Since both products are generally deployed in a web environment,
it may be necessary to revoke existing browser-facing TLS certificates
and obtain new ones, if the web server itself relied on an
affected version of OpenSSL.

The IdP product is a Java implementation, and as such does not
directly make use of OpenSSL, but is often deployed in conjunction
with Apache as a web server. In addition, it is common to support
certain SAML profiles involving SOAP by deploying a common key for
both signature generation and TLS security on a non-browser-facing
port, such as 8443. In such a case, a vulnerable OpenSSL version
could have disclosed that key.

The SP product makes direct use of OpenSSL, and due to the nature
of this bug, it is possible for an SP's local signing/authentication
key to be disclosed in the course of connecting to a malicious
system in the course of performing SOAP-based requests or metadata

In the specific case of a Shibboleth SP on Windows, versions 2.5.0
and later included a vulnerable version of OpenSSL. Earlier versions
did not. On other platforms, the version of OpenSSL will depend on
the OS, or local installation choices, and so may or may not be
affected on a case by case basis, much like the IdP.

All deployers should assess their systems in light of this issue,
and may need to take additional remedial steps beyond simply patching
their systems if the possibility exists for private key exposure.

In the specific case of Microsoft Windows, a patch is available for
the Service Provider 2.5.3 release that updates the version of OpenSSL
to the patched version, 1.0.1g.

Many federations in higher education that make use of Shibboleth
or other SAML products have, or are likely to, issue advisories
regarding this issue, and they may provide more concrete guidance
to their communities.

First and foremost, ensure that patches are applied to any OpenSSL
libraries in use that are vulnerable to this issue.

For Windows installations, a patch [1][2] is now available to update
version 2.5.3 to the latest OpenSSL revision to correct the issue.

Older Windows versions containing affected versions need to be
updated to 2.5.3 to apply this patch.

The installer for 2.5.3 has been updated to include this patch.

Systems that had been vulnerable to this issue need to carefully
consider the implications, and taking a conservative view, it is
wise to move forward with a key migration to replace any SAML
signing or encryption keys that may have been compromised. Most,
though not all, systems relying on Shibboleth also rely on a trust
model based on SAML metadata that allows keys to be "revoked" by
simply removing them from metadata after having migrated to a new

The Shibboleth documentation and federations such as InCommon have
provided material about key migration that may be of use [3][4].

URL for this Security Advisory:


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