Tag Archives: ADFS

Renewing SSL Certificates on ADFS 3.0 (Server 2012 R2)

I recently had to replace the public-facing service communication certificates on our primary ADFS deployment on Server 2012 R2. I followed a procedure that I thought had a reasonable chance of actually doing what I wanted it to:

  1. Obtained a new private key with signed certificate.
  2. Saved the file to a pfx, and imported it onto each node in the ADFS cluster
  3. Set permissions on the certificate according to documentation
  4. Used the ADFS MMC -> Certificates -> Set Service Communications Certificate.

Everything seemed to go okay, but after a bit we started to get some complaints that some of our users could not access the Office 365 Pro Plus software download page. This was a curiosity to me, because I could not reproduce the problem. A colleague later noticed a raft of SSL errors in the System event log on one of the ADFS nodes, and disabled it in the load balancer configuration.

When I finally got around to investigating, I noticed that the system log reported problems from source ‘HTTPEvent’, with details DeviceObject: \Device\Http\ReqQueue, Endpoint: adfs.uvm.edu:443 (and also Endpoint: What gives?

I found a related TechNet Blog that shed some light on the subject:

According to this document, after setting the Service Communications Certificate in the MMC, you must run:
to fetch the certificate thumbprint of the Service Communications Cert. Take note of the certificate thumbprint, then run:
Set-ADFSSslCertificate -Thumbprint [yourThumbprint]

“Set-AdfsSslCertificate” will fix the HTTP.SYS bindings used by ADFS. Apparently the MMC does not set the bindings, which is pretty annoying because this leaves the service in a pretty darn broken state. The HTTP bindings are mentioned in this TechNet documentation:
BUT, the docs do not explicitly state that the Set-AdfsSslCertificate cmdlet needs to be run on all of the ADFS server nodes in your farm. This also is a key missing detail.

Good Documentation… you always take it for granted, until you don’t have it anymore.

Note above that I mentioned a binding problem with the address This was a carry-over from our initial deployment of ADFS 3. Back then, Microsoft did not provide a health check URL for ADFS, and the supplemental binding was needed to allow health monitor connections from our F5 load balancer without using SNI, which is required by ADFS 3.0, but not supported on the F5. These days (and if you have KB2975719 installed), you can instead monitor the following URL from your F5:
More details on this solution can be found here:

While it is nice having a proper health check, problems can arise when your ADFS server HTTP bindings go sour. It would seem that nothing is perfect.

Integrating SharePoint 2013 with ADFS and Shibboleth… The Motion Picture

Time again to attempt to implement that exciting technology, Federation Services (Web Single Sign On, SAML, WS-Federation, or whatever you want to call it) with SharePoint. Last time we tried this, SharePoint 2010 was a baby product, MS was just testing the waters with SAML 2.0 support in ADFS 2.0, and Shibboleth 2 was pretty new stuff here at UVM. The whole experience was unsatisfying. SharePoint STS configuration was full of arcane PowerShell commands, ADFS setup was complicated by poor farm setup documentation, and interop of Shibboleth 2 with ADFS 2 was not documented at all.  After wading though all of that mess, we ended up with user names being displayed as “i:05.t|adfsServiceName|userPrincipalName” (bleagh!), and with many applications that could not deal with Web SSO authenticators.  My general conclusion was that SharePoint really was not ready for federated login.

Four years later, things have changed a bit.  STS configuration still requires dense PowerShell commands, but at least it is better documented.  ADFS and Shibboleth interoperability also are excellently documented at this point.  Microsoft has most Office apps working with passive SAML authenticators, and has pledged to get the rest working this year.  While I would not judge the use of ADFS (with or without Shibboleth) to be the easy route to take to SharePoint 2013 deployment, it at least looks functional at this point.  So let’s kick the tires and see how it works…

Part 1: ADFS Setup

First, we need to setup ADFS.  We chose to deploy “ADFS 3” using Windows Server 2012 R2 as the OS platform.  ADFS 3 is required to support the new “workplace join” feature of Server 2012 R2.  Since we want to test this, we would need ADFS 3 anyway.  Unfortunately, ADFS on Server 2012 R2 is pretty virgin territory, and does not have the same troubleshooting resources available for it as do earlier releases.

Most of the configuration steps followed the TechNet documentation without variation.  We did find that we needed to modify the ACL on the service account used to run ADFS… we added the “Authenticated Users” principal to the ACL, and assigned the “Read all properties” right.

For us, the most complicating factor in ADFS 3 deployment is the replacement of IIS with the Windows Kernel-mode HTTP server “http.sys”.  When we started experiencing connectivity problems with various clients to ADFS, we had no experience with HTTP.sys to assist in troubleshooting.  Most articles on HTTP.sys relate to remote desktop services, and with Server 2003.  Our problems with HTTP.sys were rooted in an undocumented requirement for clients to submit SNI (Service Name Indicator) information in their TLS “CLIENT HELLO” sequence.  I had to open a support case with Microsoft to resolve this problem, and only afterword was I able to find any Internet discussions that reflected MS advice:

It seems that if http.sys is bound using the hostname:port format, then TLS will require SNI.  If the binding is instead specified using ipAddr:port, SNI will not be required.  To fix our problem, we just needed to add a second HTTPS certificate binding using an IP address.  In this case, we just used “”.  Here is the procedure:

  1. On each ADFS server and proxy, open an elevated command prompt
  2. run: netsh http show sslcert
  3. Record the certificate hash and application ID for the certificate used by ADFS
  4. run: netsh http add sslcert ipport= certhash= appid={}

Part 2: Configuring SharePoint to use ADFS

I started with Microsoft’s guide to configuring SAML authentication for SharePoint 2013 using ADFS:
This is a well written guide, and fairly easy to follow.  The only issue I take with the article is the recommendation to use the “emailAddress” claim as the “identifier claim” in SharePoint.  In many federated login scenarios, a foreign Idp may not want to release the email address attribute.  However, some variation of UPN likely will be released.  In the case of the InCommon federation, the “ePPN” value (eduPersonPrincipalName) generally is available to federation partners.  For this reason I chose to implement “UPN” as the “identifier claim” in the last command of phase 3 of the document:

$ap = New-SPTrustedIdentityTokenIssuer -Name  -Description  -realm $realm -ImportTrustCertificate $cert -ClaimsMappings $emailClaimMap,$upnClaimMap,$roleClaimMap,$sidClaimMap -SignInUrl $signInURL -IdentifierClaim $roleClaimmap.InputClaimType

Part 3: Migrating SharePoint Users From Windows to Claims

Since we are planning an upgrade, not a new deployment, we need migrate existing Windows account references in SharePoint to federated account references. To make this happen, we need to establish the federated account identity format. I simply log in to an open-access SharePoint site as an ADFS user, and record the account information. In this case, out accounts look like this:


and groups:


We then can use PowerShell to find all account entries in SharePoint, and use the “Move-SPUser” PowerShell cmdlet to convert them.  I am still working on a final migration script for the production cutover, and I will try to post it here when it is ready.

Of some concern is keeping AD group permissions functional.  It turns out that SharePoint will respect AD group permissions for ADFS principals, but there are a few requirements:

  1. The incoming login token needs to contain the claim type “http://schemas.microsoft.com/ws/2008/06/identity/claims/role“,
    and that this claim type needs to contain the SamAccountID (or CN) of the AD
    Group that was granted access to a site.  (In ADFS, this means that you need to release the AD LDAP Attribute “Token-Groups – Unqualified Names” as the outgoing claim type “Role”.
  2. When adding AD Groups as permissions in SharePoint, we need to use the “samAccountName” LDAP attribute as the identifier claim.  The LDAPCP (see Part 4) utility makes this easy as it will do this for us automatically when configured to search AD.

Requirement 1 could be a problem when using Shibboleth as the authentication provider.  Our Shibboleth deployment does not authenticate against AD, so a Shibboleth ticket will not contain AD LDAP “tokenGroup” data in the “role” claim.  I am working with the Shibboleth guys to see if there is any way to augment Shibboleth tokens with data pulled from AD.

Part 4:  The SharePoint PeoplePicker and ADFS

Experienced SharePoint users all know (and mostly love) the “people picker” that searches Active Directory to validate user and group names that are to be added to the access list for a SharePoint site.  One of the core problems with federation services is that they are authentication systems only.  ADFS and Shibboleth do not implement a directory service.  You cannot do a lookup on an ADFS principal that a user adds to a SharePoint site.  This is particularly irksome, since all of our ADFS users actually have matching accounts in Active Directory.

Fortunately, there is a solution… you can add a “Custom Claims Provider” into SharePoint which will augment incoming ADFS claims with matching user data pulled from Active Directory.  This provider also integrates with the PeoplePicker to allow querying of AD to validate Claims users that are being added to a SharePoint site.  A good write-up can be found here:

“But I don’t want to compile a SharePoint solution using Visual Studio,” I hear you (and me) whine.  No problem… there is a very good pre-build solution available from CodePlex:

Normally I do not like using third-part add-ons in SharePoint.  I will make an exception for LDAPCP because:

  1. It works.
  2. It saves me hours of Visual Studio work.
  3. It is a very popular project and thus likely to survive on CodePlex until it is no longer needed.
  4. If the project dies, we can implement our own Claims Provider using templates provided elsewhere with (hopefully) minimal fuss.

My only outstanding problem with LDAPCP is that it will not query principals in our Guest AD forest.  However, there are some suggestions from the developer along these lines:

To summarize, the developer recommends compiling our own version of LDAPCP from the provided source code.   We would use the method “SetLDAPConnections” found in the “LDAPCP_Custom.cs” source file to add an additional LDAP query source to the solution.  I will try this as time permits.

Part 5: Transforming Shibboleth tokens to ADFS

So far we have not strayed too far from well-trodden paths on the Internet.  Now we get to the fun part… configuring ADFS as a relying party to our Shibboleth Idp, then transforming the incoming Shibboleth SAML token into an ADFS token that can be consumed by SharePoint.

Microsoft published a rather useful guide on ADFS/Shibboleth/InCommon integration:
Using this guide we were able to set up ADFS as a relying party to our existing Shibboleth Idp with minimal fuss.  Since we already have an Idp, we skipped most of Step 1, and then jumped to Step 4 as we did not need to configure Shibboleth as an SP to ADFS.

I had the local “Shibboleth Guy” add our ADFS server to the relying parties configuration file on the Shib server, and release “uvm-common” attributes for this provider. This allows SharePoint/ADFS users to get their “eduPersonPrincipalName” (ePPN) released to ADFS/SharePoint from Shibboleth. However, SharePoint (and ADFS) do not natively understand this attribute, so we configure a “Claim Rule” on the “Claims Provider Trust” with Shibboleth.  The rule is an “Acceptance Transformation Rule” that we title “Transform ePPN to UPN”, and it has the following syntax:

c:[Type == "urn:oid:"]
=> issue(Type = "http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/ws/2005/05/identity/claims/upn",
Issuer = c.Issuer, OriginalIssuer = c.OriginalIssuer, Value = c.Value,
ValueType = c.ValueType);

The “urn:oid:” bit is the SAML 2 identifier for the ePPN type.

After configuring a basic Relying Party trust with SharePoint 2013, I need to configure Claims Rules that will release Shibboleth User attributes/claims to SharePoint.  You could use a simple “passthough” rule for this.  However, I want incoming Shibboleth tokens that have a “@uvm.edu” UPN suffix to be treated as though they are Active Directory users.  To accomplish this, I need to do a claims transformation. In AD, the user UPN has the “@campus.ad.uvm.edu” suffix, so let’s transform the Shibboleth UPN using a Claim Rule on the SharePoint Relying Party Trust:

c:[Type == "urn:oid:", Value =~ "@uvm\.edu$"]
=> issue(Type = "http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/ws/2005/05/identity/claims/upn", Issuer = "AD AUTHORITY", OriginalIssuer = c.OriginalIssuer, Value = regexreplace(c.Value, "^(?[^@]+)@(.+)$", "${user}@campus.ad.uvm.edu"), ValueType = c.ValueType);

NOTE: Code munged by WordPress. Contact me if you need exact syntax!

This appears to work… the first RegEx “@uvm\.edu$” should match an incoming UPN that ends with “@uvm.edu”. In the second set of regExps, we create a capture group for the user portion of the UPN (which is everything from the start of the value up to (but not including) the “@” character), and place the captured data into a variable called “user”. We then replace everything trailing the user portion with “@campus.ad.uvm.edu”.

However, as noted above, the incoming Shibboleth SAML token does not contain AD group data in the “Role” attribute, so users authenticating from Shibboleth cannot get access to sites where they have been granted access using AD groups.  Not good! Fortunately, there is a solution.

An only-hinted at, and certainly not well documented capability of the Claim Rule Language is the ability to create an issuable token with claims originating from more than one identity store. In our case, we need to supplement the incoming Shibboleth SAML token with “roles” claims obtained from Active Directory. I do this during the release of the ADFS token to the SharePoint relying party, using the following rule:

c:[Type == "http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/ws/2005/05/identity/claims/upn", Value =~ "^.+@campus.ad.uvm.edu$"]
=> issue(store = "Active Directory", types = ("http://schemas.microsoft.com/ws/2008/06/identity/claims/role"), query = ";tokenGroups;CAMPUS\{0}", param = regexreplace(c.Value, "^(?.+)@campus.ad.uvm.edu$", "${user}"));

NOTE: code munged by WordPress. Contact me if you need exact syntax!

The issuance part of this rule bears some discussion. We use the “query” string to collect tokenGroups (or recursive group memberships). The query is run against the Active Directory ADFS attribute store (hence store = “Active Directory”). The query must take the format:
In our case, there is no filter specified. According to TechNet, the default filter is “samAccountName={0}”, which really is what we want. We want to query a particular samAccountName for its tokenGroups. The DOMAIN\Username portion needs to be present, but the username portion is ignored. We could have used “jimmyJoeJimBob” instead of “{0}”.

The {0} represents the value collected in the “param” section of the issuance rule. I used a regular expression replacement rule to strip out the samAccountName from the UPN. Of course, I could simply have used the UPN in the query filter, which would have been cleaner. Maybe I will update this for a future project.

I had to solicit help from the Windows Higher Education list to figure this one out. There is limited documentation on the “query” portion of this rule available here. It is the only documentation I can find, and it does document the bizarre LDAP/AD query syntax discussed above:

…And some more general docs on the Claim Rule Language here:

…And an interesting use-case breakdown of the Language here:

…And a video from Microsoft’s “Identity Architects” here:

Part 6:  Where are you from?  Notes on Home Realm Discovery

When an ADFS server has multiple “Claims Provider Trusts” defined, the ADFS login page automatically will create a “WAYF”, or “Where are you from?” page to allow the user to select from multiple authentication providers.  In our case, the user would see “Active Directory” and “UVM Shibboleth”.  Since I would not want to confuse people with unnecessary choices, we can disable the display of one of these choices using PowerShell:

Set-AdfsRelyingPartyTrust -TargetName "SharePoint 2013" -ClaimsProviderName "UVM Shibboleth"

In this sample, “SharePoint 2013” is the name of the relying party defined in ADFS for which you want to set WAYF options.  “UVM Shibboleth” is the Claims Provider Trust that you want used.  This value can be provided as an array, but in this case we are going to provide only one value… the one authenticator that we want to use.  After configuring this change, ADFS logins coming from SharePoint get sent straight to Shibboleth for authentication.

Part 7: The Exciting Results

Only a sysadmin could call this exciting…

Given how heavily MS invested in implementing WS-Federation and WS-Trust into their products (MS Office support for federation services was, to the best of my knowledge, focused entirely on the WS-* protocols implemented in ADFS 1.0), I was not expecting any client beyond a web browser to work with Shibboleth.  Imagine my surprise…


IE 11 and Chrome both login using Shib with no problems.  Firefox works, but not without a glitch… upon being redirected back to SharePoint from our webauth page, we get a page full of un-interpreted html code.  Pressing “f5” to refresh clears the problem.

Office 2013 Clients:

All core Office 2013 applications appear to support opening of SharePoint documents from links in the browser.  Interestingly, it appears that Office is able to share ADFS tokens obtained by Internet Explorer, and vice versa.  The ADFS token outlives the browser session, too, so you actually have to log off of ADFS prevent token re-use.  I tested the “Export to Excel” and “Add to Outlook” options in the SharePoint ribbon, and both worked without a fuss.

Getting Office apps to open content in SharePoint directly also works, although its a bit buggy.  Sometimes our webauth login dialog does not clear cleanly after authentication.

SkyDrive Pro (the desktop version included with Office 2013) (soon to be “OneDrive for Business) also works with Shibboleth login, amazingly.  The app-store version does not work with on-premises solutions at all, so I could not test it.

Mobile Clients:

I was able to access a OneNote Notebook that I stored in SharePoint using OneNote for Android.  However, it was not easy.  OneNote for Android does not have a dialog that allow for the adding of notebooks from arbitrary network locations.  I first had to add the notebook from a copy of OneNote 2013 for Windows that was linked to my Microsoft account.  The MS account then recorded the existence of the notebook.  When I logged in to OneNote on the Android, it picked up on the SharePoint-backed notebook and I was able to connect.

The OneNote “metro” app does not appear to have the same capability as the Android app.  I cannot get it to connect to anything other than Office 365 or CIFS-backed files.

I was unable to test Office for iOS or Android because I do not own a device on which those apps are supported.

I still need to look at the “Office Document Connection” that comes with Office for the Mac, and at WebDAV clients, and perhaps some other third-party SharePoint apps to see if they work.

ADFS 2 and SharePoint 2010 Integration

Here is a quick entry on ADFS2 and SharePoint 2010 integration. It is not an implementation guide or end-to-end walkthough… that comes later, if we decide to implement this thing.

At present, I am most interested in the model of SharePoint->ADFS2->Shibboleth, where the SP-STS trusts tokens from ADFS2.  ADFS2 is part of a chained federation with our Shib service.  ADFS will consume Shib tokens, then transform them for the benefit of SharePoint.  However, I have no idea how to implement this solution at this time.

There are a few-too-many blog entires out there detailing how to configure ADFS2 and SharePoint 2010 for integration.  Trouble is, many of the step-by-step guides present contradictory configuration steps.  I guess there is no substitute for a deep, working knowledge of ADFS 2, SAML, and other Federation topics.

Here are some of the claims setup guides I have been working with:

Here are additional configuration posts on the process of upgrading an existing SharePoint Web Application from “Windows” authentication to “Claims” authentication.  The common denominators?

  1. You must add a valid new user to your claims-aware web app before migrating existing users, or the web application will be inaccessible after migration (or indeed, even before migration!)
  2. To trigger migration of users, you must invoke the “Migrate Users” method on your web app, E.g.:
    $wa = get-SpWebApplication "https://webappurl"

The things here that seem very unclear to me are:  What exactly is being done when you invoke the “MigrateUsers” method on the Web Application object?  How does SharePoint map legacy “Windows” users to new “Claims” users?  Anyway, here are the links:

Pages containing information that I have found useful while contemplating how to pull off SharePoint 2010:

Many of these links, as it turns out, were already discovered by members at dirteam.com.  Doh…


ADFS 2 Setup and Configuration

The following is a work in progress… Everything done so far works, but this is not yet a complete end-to-end deployment guide…

ADFS 2: new… improved?

There were lots of setup and configuration guides for ADFS 1.0, even though the product was nauseatingly difficult to understand.  Along comes ADFS 2… new, more powerful, better, more standards compliant… documentation reads like scrawl on a napkin.

Some setup quirks:

  • Don’t forget that no current version of Windows Server includes ADFS 2.0… not even Server 2008 R2.  If you want to install ADFS 2.0 you must download it from MS and install.  DO NOT add the out-of-box ADFS role on Server 2008 R2.  It will confuse you, because it does not disclose which version of ADFS that it is.
  • Since we are planning a farm, generate a farm SSL certificate on one of the ADFS servers, then export the certificate in PFX format (that is, with the private key), and restore the cert to the second ADFS server.
  • It is considered desirable to put the ADFS database on a reliable external database server, but documentation on this options is limited to command line help.  Here is what I did:
    1. On one of the ADFS servers, run:
      Fsconfig.exe GenerateSQLScripts /ServiceAccount [account] /ScriptDestinationFolder [destination folder]
    2. Install the appropriate version of the SQL Native Client on the ADFS servers.
    3. On the SQL server, run the two scripts that were generated by the above command.  This will create two databases… AdfsConfiguration and AdfsArtifactStore, and set permissions for the service account specified.
    4. Make sure that any firewalls on the SQL server will allow the ADFS servers to connect to it.
    5. Since we use SQL mirroring, set up mirrors for these databases.  Add the service account to the list of accepted logins on the mirror server, since this will not be done automatically.
    6. Generate certificates that will be used for the ADFS web site, token signing, and token decryption.  Put the certificates in the Windows certificate store of the local computer.
    7. Preconfigure binding of the SSL certificate to the default IIS web site.
    8. Configure the first server in the farm using the following syntax:
      Fsconfig.exe CreateSQLFarm /ServiceAccount [Service Account]
      /ServiceAccountPassword [password] /SQLConnectionString "Initial Catalog=AdfsConfiguration; Data Source=spellbound; failover partner=rearwindow; integrated security=SSPI; Network Library=DBMSSOCN" /FederationServiceName login2.uvm.edu /CleanConfig /CertThumbprint "[thumbprint]" /SigningCertThumbprint "[thumbprint]" /DecryptCertThumbprint "[thumbprint]"
      Note that the thumbprint can be obtained by viewing the properties of the certificate in Windows explorer.
    9. Note that the ADFS “Artifact Store” database should get configured automatically, but you can ceck on this by doing the following:
      1. Launch PowerShell with admin privs
      2. Run the command “Add-PSSnapin microsoft.adfs.powershell”
      3. Run “get-adfsproperties | select artifactdbconnection”
      4. Use “set-adfsproperties -artifactdbconnection” to change the string if necessary.
      5. See this resource for more details:

Of course, an ADFS server with no Federation partners does not do us much good.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any other ADFS servers that I want to integrate with, either.  What interests me more are Shibboleth services (such as our own “login.uvm.edu”), and federation with other “InCommon” partners.  I also am interested in “user centric” identity providers such as OpenID and “Windows Live ID”.  Here are some links to get us started down this path.  Unfortunately, I cannot find anything that details exactly what we want: