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The <SecurityPolicyProvider> element confugures the component that guides the low-level security and XML processing performed during the runtime operation of the SP. Many different protocols and profiles can be handled by a Shibboleth SP. The various security checks that are performed can vary across and within these profiles but can generally be implemented by a common set of rules. There are also policy controls that allow certain algorithms to be turned on and off in response to vulnerabilities.

The required type attribute specifies the plugin type; currently only one type, XML, is available, documented here.

XML SecurityPolicyProvider

Identified by type="XML", this SecurityPolicyProvider implements a custom XML syntax for expressing security processing and policy rules for different protocols and profiles, and for enabling and disabling algorithms.

It's configuration is implemented as a reloadable XML resource, which means that the XML content can be supplied inline, in a local file, or a remote file, and can be monitored for changes and reloaded on the fly. The root of the XML in any of those cases MUST be a <SecurityPolicies> element, either as a child element in an existing file or the root of a different file

By default, it's supplied in a separate file (security-policy.xml) because the settings are rarely altered. In some deployments it could be advantageous to consider supplying a centrally-hosted signed file consumed by a large number of systems, to allow for centrally-maintained algorithm policy.



Aside from the type="XML" attribute itself, there is no other attribute content specific to this plugin type.

It supports all of the attributes common to all reloadable configuration resources:

Identifies the component for logging purposes.

Remote location of an XML resource containing the required configuration. The SP does not verify the transport (i.e. it does not verify the X.509 certificate presented by the remote server when HTTPS is the transport).

local path

Path to a local file containing the required configuration

booleanfalseIf true, XML validation is performed when loading the resource
booleantrueIf a path attribute is used, the local file is monitored for changes and reloaded dynamically. This incurs some runtime overhead for locking, so should be disabled if not needed.
time in seconds0If a url attribute is used, this attribute sets the time between attempts to download a fresh copy of the resource. If 0 (the default), no reloading occurs. This incurs some runtime overhead for locking, so should be left at 0 if not needed

Synonym for maxRefreshDelay

local path
If a url attribute is used, the downloaded resource is copied to this location. If the software is started and the remote resource is unavailable or invalid, the backing file is loaded instead
local path
Path to a certificate containing a public key to use to require and verify an XML signature over the resource. The certificate's other content is ignored.
If present, the name is supplied to the <TrustEngine> used to verify an XML signature over the resource. A certificate containing the name must be available in the verification process (typically inside the signature).

Child Elements

The following child element must be provided, either inline, or as the root element of a local or remote XML resource to load from, which would be specified via the attribute(s) above.

<SecurityPolicies>1Root element of configuration

When a non-inline configuration is used, it supports the following child elements common to all reloadable configuration resources.

These child elements are typically only used when relying on a remote configuration resource and are for advanced use cases.





0 or 1Used to require the presence of a top-level signature over the entire resource and to control the verification process


0 or 1

Used to require the presence of a top-level signature over the entire resource and to control the verification process.

Mutually exclusive with the <TrustEngine> element and the certificate attribute.


0 or moreProvides low-level control over the library used to remotely access the resource


<!-- Policies that determine how to process and authenticate runtime messages. -->
<SecurityPolicyProvider type="XML" validate="true" path="security-policy.xml"/>
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