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Re: [grouper-dev] RE: grouper subject attribute security

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  • From: "Michael P. Pelikan" <>
  • To:
  • Subject: Re: [grouper-dev] RE: grouper subject attribute security
  • Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2011 10:17:55 -0400
  • Organization: ITS Emerging Technologies

Very interesting post. Thanks,
-- Michael

On 8/11/11 12:03 AM, Chris Hyzer wrote:
Another piece of this use case is a common issue for people: custom
subjects. Note, this discussion is obviously not for 2.0. I want the
client to be able to create a subject on the fly that represents a
schema that has access to a resource. Then I want to assign permissions
for that schema to be able to read rows/columns in the database. We have
discussed this before, and have agreed that this is needed, but if we
went from scratch, it would be too much work, lots more important stuff
to do. Here is a tweak that can make it work.

Right now the grouper_groups table holds two types of objects, groups
and roles. I think we should add another type: entity. Here are the

Group: holds subjects

Role: holds subjects and rbac permissions

Entity: doesn’t hold subjects or role permissions (of course it is a
subject, so if it were added to a role you could assign individual
permissions in the context of the role)

The work involved:

1.Add an enum value to TypeOfGroup

2.Restrict in the API that this type cannot add/remove members to
itself, or assign update/read/optin/optout privileges

3.In the UI picklists, it should not show up in the group comboboxes
etc. The icon on the screens should look like an entity and not a group

The result:

1.If you can CREATE in a folder, you can create entities in that folder
(e.g. the extension would be the schema name in this case, or we could
add a custom attribute or something. This is distributed/delegated, and
the WS operations already exist

2.You could assign that entity to a role, and assign permissions to it
(i.e. that schema can read specific rows/cols)

3.You could assign VIEW and ADMIN privileges to it so other Grouper
users do not need to be bothered with it (the major disadvantage to
having this in a custom subject source which makes it public, and hard
to namespace)

4.There are no schema changes, all the import/export, WS, auditing, PIT,
notifications, etc will work

Note, you could do this now (create groups to represent subjects), and
it is probably the best way without requiring a lot of work, but it
would look weird in the UI, and you would have to remember to not add
members instead of being constrained if you try…

Thoughts? J



*From:*Chris Hyzer
*Sent:* Tuesday, July 26, 2011 3:16 PM
*To:* 'Grouper Dev'
*Subject:* grouper subject attribute security

At Penn we are developing similar to what Penn State is working on, user
attribute security with SQL data views. i.e. users (subjects ) have a
lot of attributes in our IdM, and we want to preprocess them, and have
them available for consumers. E.g. the various names, emails,
affiliations, some source-specific data (title/major), etc. We have 130
columns in the data view. These need to be secure at a column and row
level (e.g. an application could get access to see employee data, but
not student data, and only certain columns e.g. not ssn). Therefore this
is not really conducive to our LDAP deployment. Right now we are
planning on a SQL implementation using Oracle VPD/FGAC. The permissions
will be modeled as Grouper permissions and provisioned into security
tables for VPD/FGAC to use.

We have a handful of Grouper sources.xml subject attributes available
(name, email, netId, etc). However, I think it would be nice if these
extra attributes could be available in the Grouper getSubject (only) web
service. This is optional, and would be dynamic, and protected by
Grouper permissions. This is a very minor tweak, it would be is a Java
interface where you could write code to match up the request, and the
authenticated subject, and get the data for the response based on
security. Grouper would not store or manage these attributes, just like
it is now. I know Grouper is not an IdM, but I think optional plugins
where gaps in institutions’ IdM exist could be useful. The next step
(don’t need this now, but we can discuss later) could be to extend this
to the sources.xml subject attributes so that those can be managed a
little more closely across the other Grouper operations (getMembers)…

What do you think? J



Michael P. Pelikan
Emerging Technologies Group
Information Technology Services
The Pennsylvania State University

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