BAE SAML for AR, v1.0

This Trustmark Definition specifies the conformance criteria and assessment process for Attribute Requesters wishing to support the BAE SAML Attribute Query/Response Protocol.

Assessment Steps (7)

The AR uses and supports SAML 2.0 (SAML_2_0_Check)

Does this AR support SAML 2.0? Please provide a sample SAML Request (as XML/Text).

Sample Request

Provide a full XML SAML Request as text or an uploaded XML file.

Valid Issuer in Request (Valid_Issuer)

Does the AR include a valid Issuer in the request?

Sample Request

Provide a full XML SAML Request as text or an uploaded XML file.

Valid Destination in Request (Valid_Destination)

Does the AR include a valid destination within the attribute request?

Sample Request

Please provide a full XML SAML Request as text or an uploaded XML file.

Valid Subject in Request (Valid_Subject)

Does the AR include a valid subject in the query?

Sample Request

Please provide a full XML SAML Request as text or an uploaded XML file.

Valid XML Signature on Request (Signed_Request)

Does the AP include a valid XML Digital Signature on all Requests?

Sample Request

Please provide a full XML SAML Request as text or an uploaded XML file.

Valid Attribute NameFormat in Request (Attribute_NameFormat)

Does the AR exclusively request valid Attribute NameFormats?

Sample Request

Please provide a full XML SAML Request as text or an uploaded XML file.

Verify Signature on Response (Verify_Response_Signature)

Does the AR verify the signature on responses from an attribute provider? Please test with a valid and invalid signature and include sufficient log snippets or other error messages to indicate that invalid or unsigned responses generate appropriate errors.

Logfile Snippets

Please provide sufficient logfile snippets and/or screenshots of errors to clearly show invalid or unsigned data is not trusted.

Conformance Criteria (7)

SAML 2.0

ARs must use the SAML 2.0 protocol within Attribute Requests and consume responses using SAML 2.0.

Section 4.2

The Attribute Requester must include their unique Issuer Identifier within the SAML Attribute Query.

Section 4.3.1

The Attribute Requester must include the unique ID of the Attribute Provider being queried within the SAML Destination element.

Section 4.3.1

The Attribute Query must include a valid SAML Subject.

Section 4.3.1
Request Signed

The Attribute Query must include a valid XML Digital Signature, signed by the requester.

Section 4.3.5
Attributes Requested

If the AR requests specific attributes, it must also specify a valid SAML NameFormat from the following:

  • urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:attrname-format:unspecified
  • urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:attrname-format:uri
  • urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:attrname-format:basic

Section 4.3.2
Response Signature

ARs must verify the signature on responses from Attribute Providers.

Section 4.4.4


Publication Date 2017-05-18
Trustmark Reference Attribute
Issuing Organization
No Responder 404-407-8956 75 5th Street NW, Suite 900, Atlanta, GA 30308
Keywords BAE, Attribute, AR, Attribute Requester, Backend Attribute Exchange, Attribute Query, BAE Requester, Interoperability,
Issuance Criteria
Assessment Step Preface

This assessment is intended to be performed on Attribute Requesters that wish to use the BAE Protocol. To adequately perform these steps the assessor must possess a test BAE Responder that supports outputting detailed diagnostics. One such tool is the JHUAPL Testbed. You may also use a local BAE Server capability.

The assessor's test client must be configured to trust the Attribute Provider being evaluated. Additionally, the AP being evaluated must be configured to trust the test BAE client.

Target Stakeholder Organizations that have a vested interest in the U.S. Federal Identity, Credential, and Access Management (FICAM) program and specifically its BAE technical specifications.
Target Recipient Organizations that wish to consume attributes via the BAE Protocol.
Target Relying Party Attribute Providers that wish to provide attributes via the BAE Protocol.
Target Provider Any organization that is capable of assessing the BAE protocol.
Provider Eligibility Criteria Any organization or business entity may act as a Trustmark Provider for trustmarks under this Trustmark Definition.
Assessor Qualifications Any individual employed or contracted by the Trustmark Provider may act as the assessor for trustmarks under this Trustmark Definition.
Trustmark Revocation Criteria For any trustmark issued under this Trustmark Definition, the Trustmark Provider must revoke the trustmark upon any condition whereby one or more Conformance Criteria cease to be satisfied.
Extension Description This Trustmark Definition requires no extension data.
Legal Notice This document and the information contained herein is provided on an "AS IS" basis, and the Georgia Tech Research Institute disclaims all warranties, express or implied, including but not limited to any warranty that the use of the information herein will not infringe any rights or any implied warranties or merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. In addition, the Georgia Tech Research Institute disclaims legal liability for any loss incurred as a result of the use or reliance on the document or the information contained herein.

Sources (1)

Terms (26)

Term Name Abbreviations Definition

An account is used to associate transactional records with an end user or organization. Presence of an account does not necessarily mean that there are credentials (e.g., username and password) associated with the account.


To make a statement about the properties of a user or user's act of authentication.

Authentication Session

Period of time that an end user remains trusted after the end user authenticates. That is because an IDP typically does not require an end user to re-authenticate for every page requested. Each IDP defines its own authentication session duration. If an end user returns to the IDP and an earlier authentication session has expired, the IDP re-authenticates the end user even if single sign-on is in effect.

Backend Attribute Exchange BAE

BAE is an attribute exchange protocol published by ICAM based on the SAML Attribute Query Response protocol.


Mappings of SAML request-response message exchanges onto standard messaging or communication protocols.

Consolidated Metadata

A single XML file containing a top-level root <md:EntitiesDescriptor> containing multiple <md:EntityDescriptor> and/or <md:EntitiesDescriptor> elements.

Credential Service Provider CSP

For the purposes of SAML SSO, they are synonymous with Identity Providers.

Digital Encryption

Private key data encryption that converts data into a form that cannot be easily understood by unauthorized people. Decryption is the process of converting encrypted data back into its original form, so it can be understood. Within the FICAM SAML Profile, encryption pertains to SSL v3 or TLS 1.1 (and higher), encryption and/or XML encryption, depending upon the Level of Assurance.

Digital Signature

An asymmetric key operation where the private key is used to digitally sign an electronic document and the public key is used to verify the signature. Digital signatures provide authentication and integrity protection.


Process of an end user finding a IDP and/or RP.

Extensible Markup Language XML

XML is a specification developed by the W3C that enables the definition, transmission, validation, and interpretation of data between applications and between organizations. In a nutshell, XML describes data and focuses on what data is. XML facilitates technical interoperability, and is used in identity management standards such as SAML (e.g., to convey information in a SAML assertion).

Federal Identity, Credential, and Access Management FICAM

Federal Identity, Credential, and Access Management (ICAM) requires a mechanism to assess the identity management standards against applicable federal requirements, policies, and laws.

Holder-of-Key Assertion

A holder-of-key assertion contains a reference to a public key (corresponding to a private key) or a symmetric key possessed by the end user. The RP requires the end user to prove possession of the private key or secret that is referenced in the assertion. In proving possession, the end user also proves that he or she is the rightful owner of the assertion.

Identity Provider IDP

For the purposes of SAML SSO, they are synonymous with Credential Service Providers. A kind of service provider that creates, maintains, and manages identity information for principals and provides principal authentication to other service providers (relying parties) within a federation, such as with web browser profiles.

Locally Unique Identifiers LUID

The unique identifier used for attribute resolution by Attribute Providers / BAE Responders.


Information shared between endpoints (e.g., RP, IDP) necessary for technical interoperation.

National Identity Exchange Federation NIEF

The National Identity Exchange Federation (NIEF) is a collection of government agencies and other organizations in the U.S. that have come together to share sensitive information, subject to applicable access controls, under a common, well-defined, standards-based trust framework.


Ability to maintain data.

Protected Session

A session wherein messages between two participants are encrypted and integrity is protected using a set of shared secrets called session keys. A participant is said to be authenticated if, during the session, he, she or it proves possession of a long term token in addition to the session keys, and if the other party can verify the identity associated with that token. If both participants are authenticated, the protected session is said to be mutually authenticated. One way to implement a protected session is SSL/TLS, which is required for this Profile.

Pseudonymous Identifier

Private end user pseudonym that will only be used with one site. The site will always know it's you when you come back, but it won't be able to look up any other information about you, or correlate your profile with other sites.

Relying Party RP

A system entity (i.e., stand-alone system or group of applications that rely on a central authentication system) that decides to take an action based on information from another system entity. For example, a SAML Relying Party depends on receiving assertions from an asserting party (e.g., a SAML Identity Provider) about a subject. A Relying Party is also referred to as a Service Provider.

Security Assertion Markup Language SAML

The set of specifications describing security assertions that are encoded in XML, profiles for attaching the assertions to various protocols and frameworks, the request/response protocol used to obtain the assertions, and bindings of this protocol to various transfer protocols (for example, SOAP and HTTP). SAML addresses web single sign-on, web services authentication, attribute exchange, authorization, non-repudiation, and secure communications. SAML defines assertion message formats that are referenced in Liberty Alliance, Shibboleth, WS-Security, and other specifications. SAML has become the standard web SSO identity management solution. Several versions have been released to date, including SAML 1.0, SAML 1.1, and SAML 2.0. The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) oversees SAML.

Security Token Service STS

An STS provides a standards-based method of converting security tokens across different formats.

Service Provider SP

For the purpose of SAML SSO, they are synonymous with Relying Parties. Service Providers generate SAML AuthnRequests, provide users with discovery interfaces, consume SAML Responses, and generally provide some sort of service or capability for a user.

Signature Verification

The process of checking the digital signature by reference to the original message and a given public key, thereby determining whether the digital signature was created for that same message using the private key that corresponds to the referenced public key.

Single Sign-on SSO

Once an end user has authenticated their identity at an IDP, he or she may, by their choice, move among RPs that interoperate with the IDP without re-authenticating. In other words, the end user is seamlessly logged into any other RP that interoperates with the IDP. For privacy considerations, end users must take explicit actions to opt-in to SSO. In addition, SSO is in effect only for the duration of the end user's current browser session and authentication session.

Also available as XML or JSON