CAS 2.0 authentication module for Django
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README.md

django-cas2

CAS 2.0 authentication module for Django with support for proxy authentication and single sign out. This project is a fork and rewrite of the original django-cas module which is found at https://bitbucket.org/cpcc/django-cas/ as of this writing. It is a drop-in replacement for most cases, but support for very old versions of CAS, Python and Django is removed and in the case you need this (you really shouldn't) you have to look for the django-cas version mentioned above.

CAS, Central Authentication Server, is an open source, single sign on solution for web applications. Django is a Python web application framework.

More useful detailed information about CAS is the protocol specification and the CAS Proxy Walkthrough

Major release 2.0

The release 2.0 marks a more definite departure from previous versions of Django and focuses on support for Django versions 1.4 and later. See RELEASE_NOTES for more information about the relase.

Comparing to original django_cas module

This fork was prompted by missing functionality in the original django_cas module. The original django_cas module works ok for basic CAS authentication, but does not support any more advanced features of CAS. This project add features and removes support for old framework versions, e.g:

  • Support for CAS proxy authentication making it possible to authenticate to backend web services using CAS.
  • Support for the CAS gateway feature prohibiting user interaction. This is typically used by backend services not directly exposed to the user.
  • Support for CAS single sign out making it possible to sign out users from your Django application when they sign out of the CAS single sign on server.
  • Use logging and raise 400:s rather than raise 500:s for most error cases.
  • Removed Django messaging. The original module registers a welcome message for all users. This has to be taken care of somewhere else if you want this feature. It's easy enough using the user_logged_in signal issued by Django for example.
  • Removed creation of user accounts on successful authentication by default. This is often not wanted in managed environments. If you want the original behaviuor, use the CAS_AUTO_CREATE_USERS setting mentioned below.
  • Removed support for old versions of Django and Python. This module is currently focused on Django 1.4 and later versions as well as Python 2.6 and later. If you need support for previous versions, look at the 1.2 release of this project or the original django_cas module.

Installation

Run python setup.py install as per usual or mess with your PYTHONPATH appropriately, using the master branch for the latest stable version or the pre built source tar-balls in the downloads section.

Or you can use pip to install directly from the master branch.

pip install -e git+git://github.com/fjollberg/django-cas2#egg=django_cas

Django configuration

Add the django_cas CASMiddleware and CASBackends to the Django configuration. Note that you need the Django AuthenticationMiddleware as well.

MIDDLEWARE_CLASSES = (
	...
    'django.contrib.auth.middleware.AuthenticationMiddleware',
    'django_cas.middleware.CASMiddleware',
    ...
)

AUTHENTICATION_BACKENDS = (
	...
    'django.contrib.auth.backends.ModelBackend',
    'django_cas.backends.CASBackend',
    ...
)

The login and logout URLs must be handled in the urls.py file, and to use proxy authentication support also the proxy call back URL, see optional settings below.

...
(r'^accounts/login/$', 'django_cas.views.login'),
(r'^accounts/logout/$', 'django_cas.views.logout'),
...

Create necessary database tables with the Django management command python manage.py syncdb.

Configuration options for django-cas2

Mandatory setting

CAS_SERVER_URL: None

Mandatory. The URL for the CAS server.

Optional settings

CAS_LOGOUT_COMPLETELY: True

If True, redirect and do a CAS logout when user logs out of the Django application. It is in most cases pointless to turn this off unless CAS_RENEW is set.

CAS_SINGLE_SIGN_OUT: True

If True, support single sign out reqeusts form the CAS server and sign out of the Django application when a user signs out of CAS.

NOTE: If your sessions are not database mapped, either with the database backend or the cached database backend, the table keeping track of the session ticket - session mappings may not always be cleared when sessions are expired and deleted. In that case you have to run the django-admin command purge_session_service_tickets periodically.

CAS_RENEW: False

If True, enables the renew feature of CAS, sending renew parameter on login and verification of tickets to enforce that the login is made with a fresh username and password verification in the CAS server.

CAS_GATEWAY: False

If True, enables the gateway feature of CAS, enforcing a non-interactive authorization by CAS. In other words, a user will not be presented with a login screen if not signed into CAS, but redirected to the service URL with not ticket. This is useful for backend web services that are not directly accessed by users. This option in CAS is fundmentally incompatible with the renew feature mentioned above, hence CAS_GATEWAY will be silently ignored and no gateway option sent to the CAS server if CAS_RENEW is set.

NOTE: setting CAS_GATEWAY will add a parameter, 'casgw', to the service URL to identify failed gateway requests as such. It is a part of the inner workings of django_cas and not apublic property, but it may interfere with any existing parameter with the same name used by your Django application. The name is configurable by setting CAS_GATEWAY_PARAM.

CAS_REDIRECT_URL: '/'

Default URL to redirect to after login and logout when there is no referrer or next page provided by Django.

CAS_IGNORE_REFERER: False

If True, logging out of the application will always send the user to the URL specified by CAS_REDIRECT_URL.

CAS_RETRY_LOGIN: False

If True, redirect back to CAS server if CAS authentication fails.

CAS_AUTO_CREATE_USERS : False

If True, automatically create accounts for authenticated users which don't have one. This is a change in behavior from the original django-cas module which hade no such option and auto created users. Admittedly, it was probably a mistake to change the default, but there you go. It won't hurt your data at least.

CAS_PROXY_CALLBACK: None

The callback URL the CAS server should use to inject proxy tickets. Setting this enables proxy granting ticket support. The URL must also be registered in urls.py and handled by the django_cas.views.proxy_callback, e.g: (r'^accounts/login/casProxyCallback$', 'django_cas.views.proxy_callback') See Proxy CAS Authentication for more information and trouble shooting hints.

CAS_ALLOWED_PROXIES : []

A list of URLs of proxies that are allowed to proxy authenticate to the Django application. If set, the proxy chain provided by the CAS server in the validation response must not contain services that are not included in this list. There is currently no wild carding or other magic.

CAS_EXTRA_LOGIN_PARAMS: None

Not quite sure what the purpose for this is, anyone using it? How? I'm tempted to remove it since it is outside of the protocol specification, but I can think of some possible use cases, the question is if someone is using it? /Fredrik Jönsson Oct 15 2012

A dictionary of extra URL parameters to add to the login URL when redirecting the user.

Security considerations

Use SSL/TLS

Even if the authentication with CAS is made using a mechanism which makes it difficult to interfere with, all authorized communication will subsequentely use a cookie identifing the session which can be used to hijack the connection. So you need to encrypt the communication. There is just no way around that if you want to enforce some sort of security.

Single sign out

There was in the applied single-sign-out patch, and in the 1.0 release of this project a setting with which you could list hosts which where allowed to do the single sign out call to the application, CAS_LOGOUT_REQUEST_ALLOWED. This is removed in 1.1. As it was implemented it did not work in a number of situations, and my belief is that it suggested security that it didn't really provide.

The recommendation instead is that if you have conserns with the possibility of denial of service attacks caused by faked logout requests with compromised CAS session tickets, you should turn single sign out support of completely, using CAS_SINGLE_SIGN_OUT = False.

The issue at hand is that if someone intercepts your service ticket, it can be used to logout the user from the application at a later point. In this sense, the CAS service ticket has a long life, wheras it otherwise has a very short life span for authentication. The service ticket is sent as an URL parameter and thus generally more exposed (for example in access logging) than most other authentication data.

The only likely place the service ticket is more exposed than other relevant data, say the django session, is in the access log files. The possibly increased risk is thus if the log files are more easily accessible than other harmful data, such as the database, or provides another vector of attack. The possible effect of this risk is that users could be logged out, causing a kind of denial of service.

The CAS_LOGOUT_REQUEST_ALLOWED amended this effect to some extent by given the remote address in the request, only allow hosts with the correct address as reported by the address resolving routines of the server host. This is in itself fraught with a number of issues, and does not work well for proxied applications. Some of these deficits could be worked around by additional code.

Development

This project uses git and git flow style branching. Hence, the master branch is the stable release branch, and development is done on the development branch. For more information about the branch model see http://nvie.com/posts/a-successful-git-branching-model/. For the git flow command line tool, see https://github.com/nvie/gitflow.

Version numbering follows the Semantic versioning approach. A 'KTH-' prefix is currently applied to the version number to distinguish this project from the original django_cas project derivatives for the time being, see further below.

Copyrights

The source has been and is licensed by a MIT license. In other words, do as you please with it, but don't think you can hold us liable for any damage caused to or by you if you use it.

Rationale for forking

The django-cas project has been rather poorly maintained for some time. The most obviuos changes include moving the repo around. Patches supplied by myself in order to support proxy authentication and by others for single sign out (http://code.google.com/r/arnaudgrausem-django-cas/) have not been integrated but are in fact lost in the repo changes.

Also the django_cas project suffers from dead code, some wierdness and support for really, really old versions of CAS, Python and Django, bogging it down.

The module is still called django_cas for the time being, the rationale being that it is a drop-in replacement and I don't want to handle migrations issues in the database as yet.