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More content will be provided in this wiki as it is determined to be relevant.

Table of Contents

Metadata configuration


All examples below reference the Metadata Signing Key in their configuration and will only work once the certificate has been copied to (by default) /etc/shibboleth. Do not skip this step!


Code Block
titleAll IDPs registered with ACOnet plus Interfederation IDPs
<MetadataProvider type="XML" url=""
          validate="true" backingFilePath="aconet-metadata.xml" reloadInterval="7200">
    <MetadataFilter type="RequireValidUntil" maxValidityInterval="2419200"/>
    <MetadataFilter type="Signature" certificate="aconet-metadata-signing.crt" verifyBackup="false"/>
    <MetadataFilter type="EntityRoleWhiteList">
    <DiscoveryFilter type="Blacklist" matcher="EntityAttributes" trimTags="true"
      attributeValue="" />

Metadata filter examples

The Shibboleth SP software has powerful Metadata filtering capabilities which allow to restrict entities known to the SP via SAML metadata to only those matching certain criteria. Below are a couple of examples that are useful in specific situations. For convenience ("copy+paste") these are all self-contained but can be composed and arranged as specified in the documentation.

Campus-internal SPs (Whitelist)

Many institutions use Shibboleth and SAML also for internal "campus federation", i.e. with Service Providers not exposed to the Federation but only known to the institutions' own IDP. (That IDP is usually the only IDP that knows about such "campus" SPs.) Still these SPs will need trustworthy and current SAML metadata for the institutional IDP. The easiest and most secure way to achieve that is by pointing such SPs to the federation Metadata but also adding a metadata whitelist filter, which effectively removes all other IDPs. E.g. only limiting an SP to the Vienna University SAML IDPs (production and test instances):


Of course the key for signature validation needs to be downloaded/configured on these SPs just like on any other (i.e., SPs that are registered with the federation) even though the SP itself is not exposed to the federation. That also means the institutional IDP needs a way to register those SPs, but usually an XML file with SAML metadata managed directly at the IDP is sufficient for this.

Prevent all access from OpenIDP (Blacklist)

If deployers of a Service Provider are certain they don't have a current (or future) use for identities provided by the ACOnet OpenIDP they could filter it out at the metadata level, preventing any logins from that IDP wholesale:


Note that if you're using the Shibboleth EDS Discovery Service you could chose to only hide an entity in the discovery service, but keep it's metadata available to the Shibboleth SP. This allows continued use of the "hidden" IDP (e.g. for testing purposes) without showing the IDP publicly in the EDS interface. (Of course you'd need to provide other methods or documentation for the ones supposed to use such "hidden" IDPs.)

Hide IDPs that have asked not to be shown (Blacklist IDP discovery)

Here's a combined example of how to hide two specific IDPs by name from the EDS, as well as hiding all IDPs tagged with the REFEDS Hide-from-Discovery category:



Note that a DiscoveryFilter will not prevent use of matching IDPs with the local SP! The only result of a discovery filter is filtering the output of the Shibboleth SP's "DiscoFeed" JSON resource that is used by the Shibboleth Embedded Discovery Service (but can be used by others as well, of course).  If you want to prevent the SP from federating with certain IDPs (or groups of IDPs) – as some kind of initial coarse access control – use a MetadataFilter instead (like in the examples above) and/or properly implement authorization within the protected resource (webserver ACLs, application).

Attribute Mapping

Persistent NameIDs

By default the Shibboleth SP software will map persistent NameIDs to the internal attribute "persistent-id", whether they come from a NameID from the Subject element of the SAML Assertion, or from a NameID as value of the eduPersonTargetedID SAML Attribute. That's generally fine but sometimes an IDP may send a persistent NameID (ideally the exact some one) in both places at the same time. If that happens the Shibboleth SP will create a multi-valued internal "persistent-id" attribute, with values separated by a semicolon (";") – same as the SP does for all multi-valued attributes. There are several ways to deal with that case:


A better way is to change the SP's attribute map and policy, to avoid those duplicated multi-valued "persistent-id" attributes. To do that first remove the following unneeded mapping from your attribute-map.xml:

First, remove the (if it exists) the following rule for the internal "targeted-id" attribute from your attribute-policy.xml (if it even exists) as  as we're about to change its content further below:

Code Block
titleattribute-policy.xml: REMOVE all of this
<afp:AttributeRule attributeID="targeted-id">
    <afp:PermitValueRuleReference ref="ScopingRules"/>

Then also completely remove (if it even exists) the corresponding rule for the SAML1 "targeted-id" attribute from your attribute-map.xml (you should never receive something like that anyway):


Next, change (only) the id XML Attribute attribute in the following defintion from "persistent-id" to "targeted-id", so that:


  • (Proper) Persistent NameIDs sent in the Subject element of the SAML Assertion will be mapped to the internal "persistent-id" attribute
  • Persistent NameIDs sent as eduPersonTargetedID SAML Attribute values will be mapped to the internal "targeted-id" attribute
  • IDPs sending both will therefore no longer create multi-valued "persistent-id" internal attributes!

To further isolate your application from all those different identifier attributes and NameIDs that are currently common use the Shibboleth SP's REMOTE_USER precedence list. Any : Any (internal, after mapping) attribute names listed there are then tried in order to populate the REMOTE_USER special CGI variable from , using the first attribute that is not empty (i.e., that has a value). So all that's needed to support any kind of legacy (eduPersonTargetedID), past/present (persistent NameID) or present/future (pairwise-id, subject-id) identifiers is to make sure they're all listed in the Shibboleth SP's REMOTE_USER precedence list, e.g. by adding targeted-id (as re-defined above) to the end of the list: