ForgeRock Directory Services 6.0 is now available

frIdentityPlatformI am delighted to announce the general availability of the ForgeRock Identity Platform 6.0, and part of it, of ForgeRock Directory Services 6.0.

This major release of Directory Services is a consolidation of the current product, bringing even more reliability and performances to a very robust product. But it also brings a number of new features and improvements.

The main change in this version is around monitoring. With a common set of services, APIs and libraries for the whole Identity Platform, we’ve refined and optimised the monitoring metrics of the Directory Services, organising them in a more logical and hierarchical way. When searching the monitoring data over LDAP, all entries now have a proper schema (objectClasses and AttributeTypes) and many metrics have been consolidated into a single attribute with a JSON. But in addition to also exposing the metrics via JMX, we are now offering 2 endpoints to directly collect them with Prometheus or Graphite and visualise them using Grafana. We’re delivering a sample Grafana dashboard to illustrate their use:

DS6_dashboard

I will write a more in depth post to describe the new monitoring capabilities of ForgeRock Directory Services 6.0.

Amongst the other improvements of the new release, I can mention:

  • Support for Time To Live (TTL) indexes at the backend level. When entries reach their TTL date, they are automatically removed from the data store.
  • Ability to sort entries based on JSON attributes and specific fields, and also ability to sort entries when using Simple Paged results (and a page size smaller than the server side index limit).
  • Support for configuring the server offline, using dsconfig (–offline).
  • Support for expressions in the configuration file
  • Support for defining a global server ID for replication, which will be used by all replicated suffixes of that server.
  • Initial separation of what is static read-only configuration from what is more dynamic in deployments.
  • A new option to ldapmodify and ldapdelete to do bulk load operations.
  • More optimisations of disk space usage with entries and logs, as well as more optimisations of performances.

You can find more details in the Release Notes.

Directory Services 6.0 can upgrade instances of OpenDJ starting with version 2.6.0 or ForgeRock Directory Services 5.x, and it has been tested to be replicating with these versions as well, allowing a smooth upgrade of a replicated service with no downtime, nor change in configuration or replication. For a rolling upgrade, stop one of the servers, take a backup, install DS 6 and upgrade, restart the server, and move to the next one.

You can get and try the new version of the ForgeRock Identity Platform, or if you are a customer, you can go directly to backstage.forgerock.com.

I’m looking forward to your feedback about the new release.

ForgeRock Identity Live is coming to Paris

Paris Identity Summit 2016
On November 21st, we will be hosting the ForgeRock Identity Live summit in Paris. The list of confirmed speakers is impressive, with Fleur Pellerin, Ian Sorbello from HSBC, Marko Orenius from Amer Sports and of course Mike Ellis, ForgeRock CEO.

Registration is here, and I hope to see you then.

Last week, we hosted our London Identity Live summit. The gallery of pictures from the event is available here.
London Identity Live

ForgeRock Trajectory…

frhqEarlier this week, ForgeRock announced an $88M series D funding, ahead of planned IPO.
I’ve been working with ForgeRock for 7 years, starting the first R&D engineering center in Grenoble, France, and building our Directory Services product. And I’m just amazed by the incredible journey we’ve accomplished since the beginning. I’m just thrilled to be part of this great adventure!

If you want to understand its foundation, take a look at this video with Mike Ellis, CEO and Steve Ferris, SVP Services and Founder.

ForgeRock Identity Live Events.

The ForgeRock 2017 Identity Live Summits are well underway but there are more to come in London (October 19) and Paris (November 21). Join us and register.

I was part of the Austin and the Dusseldorf ones in May. It’s a little late to make a summary of the events; you can find highlights, presentations on ForgeRock.com. But I thought I’d share photo albums of both events:

ForgeRock #IdentityLive 2017

ForgeRock #IdentityLive DE 2017

DDOS Attacks leveraging LDAP !

21382575392_223304551e_z
photo by Christiaan Colen

Yesterday, DDoS mitigation provider Corero Network Security disclosed a zero-day distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) technique, observed in the wild, that is capable of amplifying malicious traffic by a factor of as much as 55x. Several sites published the story as “Attackers are now abusing exposed LDAP servers to amplify DDoS attacks”.

 

According to Corero, the attacks exploited the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), but reading the details of the press release, it appears that the attackers were using Connectionless LDAP services (CLDAP) .

In this case, the attacker sends a simple query to a vulnerable reflector supporting the Connectionless LDAP service (CLDAP) and using address spoofing makes it appear to originate from the intended victim. The CLDAP service responds to the spoofed address, sending unwanted network traffic to the attacker’s intended target.

Connectionless LDAP  is a very old technical specification, published in 1995 as RFC 1798.  In 2003, this specification was obsoleted by RFC 3352 and moved to historical status. One of the main reason for obsoleting the proposed standard was its insufficient security capabilities.

OpenDJ, the open source LDAP Directory Services in Java, has never supported CLDAP and thus cannot be used in such attack. So, if you are a  ForgeRock customer, you should not worry about this kind of attack. But if you’re running a legacy product, that has CLDAP enabled by default, it is probably time to think about moving to a more recent and up to date directory service, such as OpenDJ.

 

Managing OpenDJ with REST

OpenDJ, the open source LDAP Directory Server, was the first to propose a native HTTP REST / JSON access to the data.

In the next major release, OpenDJ will be providing many enhancements to the REST interface, that I will describe in a series of posts. To start with, let’s talk about the new administrative interfaces added to manage the OpenDJ server.

When the HTTP access is enabled, OpenDJ creates by default 2 administrative endpoints: /admin/config and /admin/monitor.

/admin/config provides a read-write access to the configuration, with the same view and hierarchy of objects as the LDAP access. All of the operations that are possible with the dsconfig command, can be done over LDAP, and now REST.  As a matter of fact, the /admin/config API is automatically generated from the same XML description files that are used to generate the LDAP view and the dsconfig command line utilities. This means that any extension, plugin added to the server will also be exposed via REST without additional code.

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-15-03-54

Above is an example of query of the /admin/config endpoint, querying for all  backends , done as a user who has the privilege to read the configuration. A similar query done with a user that doesn’t have the config-read privilege does fail as below:

$ curl -s -u user.2 http://localhost:8080/admin/config/backends/userRoot
Enter host password for user 'user.2': 
{
 "message" : "Insufficient Access Rights: You do not
have sufficient privileges to perform search operations
in the Directory Server configuration",
 "code" : 403,
 "reason" : "Forbidden"
}

/admin/monitor provides a read-only view on all of the OpenDJ monitoring information that was already accessible via LDAP under the "cn=Monitor" naming context, and JMX.

$ curl -s -u user.0 http://localhost:8080/admin/monitor/
Enter host password for user 'user.0':
{
 "_id" : "monitor",
 "upTime" : "0 days 2 hours 49 minutes 54 seconds",
 "currentConnections" : "1",
 "totalConnections" : "32",
 "currentTime" : "20161024103215Z",
 "startTime" : "20161024074220Z",
 "productName" : "OpenDJ Server",
 "_rev" : "00000000644a67b2",
 "maxConnections" : "3"
}

The /admin REST endpoints can be protected with different authorization mechanisms, from HTTP basic to OAuth2. And the whole endpoint can be disabled as well if needed using dsconfig.

These administrative REST endpoints can be tested with the OpenDJ nightly builds. They are also available to ForgeRock customers as part of our latest update of the ForgeRock Identity Platform.

More about OpenDJ support for JSON attribute values

In a previous post, I introduced the new JSON syntax, JSON query and matching rules that are delivered as part of the OpenDJ LDAP directory server. Today, I will give more insights on how to customise the syntax, tune the matching rules for smarter and more efficient indexing, and I will highlight some best practices with using the JSON syntax.

JSON Syntax Validation

When defining an attribute with a JSON syntax, the server will validate that the JSON value is compliant with JSON RFC.  OpenDJ offers a few options to relax some of the constraints of a valid JSON. To change the settings of the syntax, you must use dsconfig --advanced.

>>>> Configure the properties of the Core Schema

Property Value(s)
 ----------------------------------------------------------------------
 1) allow-attribute-types-with-no-sup-or-syntax true
 2) allow-zero-length-values-directory-string false
 3) disabled-matching-rule NONE
 4) disabled-syntax NONE
 5) enabled true
 6) java-class org.opends.server.schema.CoreSchemaProvider
 7) json-validation-policy strict
 8) strict-format-certificates true
 9) strict-format-country-string true
 10) strict-format-jpeg-photos false
 11) strict-format-telephone-numbers false
 12) strip-syntax-min-upper-bound-attribute-type-description false

?) help
 f) finish - apply any changes to the Core Schema
 c) cancel
 q) quit

Enter choice [f]: 7


>>>> Configuring the "json-validation-policy" property

Specifies the policy that will be used when validating JSON syntax values.

Do you want to modify the "json-validation-policy" property?

1) Keep the default value: strict
 2) Change it to the value: disabled
 3) Change it to the value: lenient

?) help
 q) quit

Enter choice [1]:

Strict is the default mode.

Disabled means that the server will not try to validate the content of a JSON value.

Lenient means that it will validate the JSON value, but tolerate comments, single quotes and unquoted control characters.

JSON Matching Rule and Indexing

Like any attribute in the OpenDJ server, attributes with a JSON syntax can be indexed.

$ dsconfig -h localhost -p 4444 \
  -D "cn=Directory Manager" -w secret12 -X -n \
 set-backend-index-prop \--backend-name userRoot \
 --index-name json --set index-type:equality

By default, the server actually indexes each field of all JSON values. If the values are large and complex, indexing will  result in many disk I/O, possibly impacting performances for write operations.

If you know which fields of the JSON values will be queried for by the client applications, you can optimise the index and specify the JSON fields that are indexed. This is by creating a new custom schema provider for the JSON query. You can choose to overwrite the default JSON query matching rules (as illustrated below), and this will affect all JSON attributes, or you can choose to create a new rule (with a new name and OID).

In the example below, the custom schema provider overwrites the default caseIgnoreJsonQueryMatch, and only indexes the JSON fields _id and name with its subfields.

$ dsconfig -h localhost -p 4444 \
  -D "cn=Directory Manager" -w secret12 -X -n \
 create-schema-provider --provider-name "Json Schema" \
 --type json-schema --set enabled:true \
 --set case-sensitive-strings:false \
 --set ignore-white-space:true \
 --set matching-rule-name:caseIgnoreJsonQueryMatch \
 --set matching-rule-oid:1.3.6.1.4.1.36733.2.1.4.1 \
 --set indexed-field:_id \
 --set "indexed-field:name/**" 

When you overwrite the default matching rule, or you define a new one, you need to rebuild the indexes for all attributes that are making use of it.

Best Practices

The support for JSON attributes in OpenDJ is very new, but yet, we can recommend how to best use them.

The first thing, is to use the JSON syntax for attributes that are single valued. Indexing is designed to associate values with entries. Because JSON query indexes are built for all fields of the JSON objects, an entry will be returned if a query matches all fields, even though they are in different objects.

The JSON syntax is handy to store complex JSON objects in a single attribute and query them, through any field. However, the larger the values, the  more impact on the directory server’s performances. As, by default, all JSON fields are indexed, the more fields, the more expensive will be indexing. Also, because the JSON objects are LDAP attributes, the only way to change a value is to replace the value with a new one (or delete the value and add a new one, which are operations with even more bytes). There is no patch operation on the value. Finally, OpenDJ stores all attributes of an entry in a single database record. So any change in the entry itself will require to write the whole entry again.

As we’ve seen above, OpenDJ proposes a way to customise the JSON queries and the JSON fields that are indexed. We suggest that you make use of this capability and optimise the indexing of JSON objects for the queries run by the client applications.

If you plan to store different kinds of JSON objects in an OpenDJ directory service, define different attributes with the JSON syntax, and use a custom JSON query per attribute. For example, lets assume you will have entries that are persons with an address attribute with a JSON syntax, and some other entries that represent OAuth2 tokens, and the token main attribute has a JSON syntax. You should define an address attribute and a token attribute, both with the JSON syntax, but their specific matching rules, like below.

attributeTypes: ( 1.3.6.1.4.1.36733.2.1.1.999 NAME 'address'
  SYNTAX 1.3.6.1.4.1.36733.2.1.3.1
  EQUALITY caseIgnoreJsonAddressQueryMatch SINGLE-VALUE )

attributeTypes: ( 1.3.6.1.4.1.36733.2.1.1.999 NAME 'token'
  SYNTAX 1.3.6.1.4.1.36733.2.1.3.1 
  EQUALITY caseIgnoreJsonTokenQueryMatch SINGLE-VALUE )

where the matching rules are defined as such:

$ dsconfig -h localhost -p 4444 \
  -D "cn=Directory Manager" -w secret12 -X -n \
 create-schema-provider \
 --provider-name "Address Json Schema" \
 --type json-schema --set enabled:true \
 --set case-sensitive-strings:false \
 --set ignore-white-space:true \
 --set matching-rule-name:caseIgnoreJsonAddressQueryMatch \
 --set matching-rule-oid:1.3.6.1.4.1.36733.2.1.4.998

and

$ dsconfig -h localhost -p 4444 \
  -D "cn=Directory Manager" -w secret12 -X -n \
 create-schema-provider \
 --provider-name "Token Json Schema" \
 --type json-schema --set enabled:true \
 --set case-sensitive-strings:false \
 --set ignore-white-space:true \
 --set matching-rule-name:caseIgnoreJsonTokenQueryMatch \
 --set matching-rule-oid:1.3.6.1.4.1.36733.2.1.4.999 \
 --set indexed-field:token_type \
 --set indexed-field:expires_at \
 --set indexed-field:access_token

Note that there is an issue with OpenDJ 4.0.0-SNAPSHOTS (nightly builds) and when you define a new Schema Provider, you need to restart the server to have it be effective.