Manual Chapter : HTTP and HTTPS Authentication

Applies To:

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BIG-IP APM

  • 15.0.0
Manual Chapter

HTTP and HTTPS Authentication

About HTTP AAA server authentication

An HTTP AAA server directs users to an external web-based server to validate credentials. Access Policy Manager (APM) supports these HTTP authentication types:
  • HTTP basic authentication - Directs users to a URI
  • HTTP NTLM authentication - Directs users to a URI
  • HTTP form-based authentication - Directs users to a form action URL and provides the specified form parameters
  • HTTP custom post - Directs users to a POST URL, a submit URL, or a relative URL and provides the specified content
Use HTTPS instead of HTTP authentication for improved security, because HTTP authentication passes user credentials as clear text.

Task summary for HTTP authentication

To set up this configuration, you must first configure one HTTP AAA server that supports the type of authentication that you want: HTTP Basic/NTLM, form-based, or custom post. After you configure an HTTP AAA server, you must add an HTTP Auth action to an access policy and specify the HTTP AAA server that supports the authentication type that you want to use.

Configuring an AAA server for HTTP Basic/NTLM authentication

You configure an HTTP AAA server when you want to use Basic/NTLM authentication.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Authentication
    HTTP
    .
    The HTTP servers screen opens.
  2. Click
    Create
    .
    The New Server properties screen opens.
  3. In the
    Name
    field, type a unique name for the authentication server.
  4. For
    Authentication Type
    , select
    Basic/NTLM
    .
  5. In the
    Start URI
    field, type the complete URI that returns the logon form.
    The URI resource must respond with a challenge to a non-authenticated request.
  6. Click
    Finished
    .
    The new server displays on the list.

Configuring an HTTP AAA server for form-based authentication

You create a form-based HTTP AAA configuration to use HTTP form-based authentication from an access policy.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Authentication
    HTTP
    .
    The HTTP servers screen opens.
  2. Click
    Create
    .
    The New Profile screen opens.
  3. In the
    Name
    field, type a unique name for the authentication server.
  4. For
    Authentication Type
    , select
    Form Based
    .
  5. In the
    Start URI
    field, type a URI, for example,
    http://plum.tree.lab2.sp.companynet.com/
    .
    This resource must respond with a challenge to a non-authenticated request.
    This field is optional. If you type a URI in this field and you type a relative URL in the
    Form Action
    field, Access Policy Manager (APM) uses the value of the
    Start URI
    as the base URL; APM uses the base URL to resolve the relative URL and produce the final URL for HTTP POST.
  6. From the
    Form Method
    list, select either
    GET
    or
    POST
    .
    If you specify
    GET
    , the authentication request converts as HTTP GET.
  7. In the
    Form Action
    field, type a URL that specifies where to process the form and perform form-based authentication. If you specified a
    Start URI
    , you can type a relative URL, otherwise you must type an absolute URL:
    • relative URL - When specified, form-based authentication is performed after the URL is resolved using the base URL that is specified in the
      Start URI
      field.
    • absolute URL -When specified, form-based authentication is performed at this URL.
  8. In the
    Form Parameter For User Name
    and
    Form Parameter For Password
    fields, type the parameter name and password used by the form to which you are sending the POST request.
  9. In the
    Hidden Form Parameters/Values
    field, type the hidden form parameters required by the authentication server logon form at your location.
    You must provide hidden form parameters and values if there are any. When present, these values are required by the authentication server logon form at your location.
    Specify a parameter name, a space, and the parameter value, if any. Start each parameter on a new line. If you use a session variable as a value, format it as shown in this example: %{
    session.client.platform
    }.
  10. In the
    Number Of Redirects To Follow
    field, type how far from the landing page, in pages, the request should travel before failing.
  11. For the
    Successful Logon Detection Match Type
    setting, select the method your authenticating server uses, and type the option definition in the
    Successful Logon Detection Match Value
    field.
  12. Click
    Finished
    .
    The new server displays on the list.

Configuring an HTTP AAA server for custom post authentication

You create a custom post configuration when there is no form and when body encoding is different from form encoding. (This can happen when POST is generated by JavaScript or ActiveX.) Using a custom post, you can specify the entire post body and any non-default HTTP headers.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Authentication
    HTTP
    .
    The HTTP servers screen opens.
  2. Click
    Create
    .
    The New Profile screen opens.
  3. In the
    Name
    field, type a unique name for the authentication server.
  4. For the
    Authentication Type
    setting, select
    Custom Post
    .
  5. In the
    Start URI
    field, type in a URL resource, for example,
    http://plum.tree.lab2.sp.companynet.com/
    .
    If you do not specify a Start URI, Access Policy Manager will likely detect that the absolute URI based on the Form Action parameter should be used for HTTP POST. If you specify a Start URI, Access Policy Manager uses both the Start URI and the Form Action parameters as the final URL for HTTP POST.
  6. In the
    Form Action
    field, type the POST URL, the submit URL, or a relative URL.
  7. For the
    Successful Logon Detection Match Type
    setting, select the method that the authenticating server uses.
  8. For the
    Successful Logon Detection Match Value
    , type a value depending on the
    Successful Logon Detection Match Type
    that you selected:
    • By Resulting Redirect URL
      - Specify a URL if you selected this type.
    • By Presence of Specific String in Cookie
      - Specify a single string if you selected this type.
      With this option, when APM receives a duplicate cookie, it adds it to the existing cookie list. As a result, multiple cookies with the same name, domain, and path can exist and can be searched.
    • By Presence of Cookie That Exactly Matches
      - Specify the exact key fields (name, path, and domain) that are present in the HTTP response cookie if you select this type. Failure to supply the exact number of keys and the exact values for the HTTP response cookie results in a
      No matching cookie found
      error.
      This option supports cookie merge functionality. When APM receives a cookie that has the same name, domain, and path as an existing cookie, it merges it into the existing cookie.
    • By Specific String in Response
      - Specify a string if you select this option.
  9. In the
    Number Of Redirects To Follow
    field, type how far from the landing page, in pages, the request should travel before failing.
  10. From the
    Content Type
    list, select an encoding for the HTTP custom post.
    The default setting is
    XML UTF-8
    .
    If you select 
    None
    , you must add a header in the 
    Custom Headers
     setting and you must apply your own encoding through an iRule.
  11. In the
    Custom Body
    field, specify the body for the HTTP custom post.
  12. For
    Custom Headers
    , specify names and values for header content to insert in the HTTP custom post.
  13. Click
    Finished
    .
    The new server displays on the list.
This creates an HTTP AAA server that provides a custom post for authentication.
To put this authentication into effect, add this AAA server to an HTTP Auth action in an access policy.

Creating an access profile

You create an access profile to provide the access policy configuration for a virtual server that establishes a secured session.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Profiles / Policies
    .
    The Access Profiles (Per-Session Policies) screen opens.
  2. Click
    Create
    .
    The New Profile screen opens.
  3. In the
    Name
    field, type a name for the access profile.
    A access profile name must be unique among all access profile and any per-request policy names.
  4. From the
    Profile Type
    list, select one these options:
    • LTM-APM
      : Select for a web access management configuration.
    • SSL-VPN
      : Select to configure network access, portal access, or application access. (Most access policy items are available for this type.)
    • ALL
      : Select to support LTM-APM and SSL-VPN access types.
    • SSO
      : Select to configure matching virtual servers for Single Sign-On (SSO).
      No access policy is associated with this type of access profile
    • RDG-RAP
      : Select to validate connections to hosts behind APM when APM acts as a gateway for RDP clients.
    • SWG - Explicit
      : Select to configure access using Secure Web Gateway explicit forward proxy.
    • SWG - Transparent
      : Select to configure access using Secure Web Gateway transparent forward proxy.
    • System Authentication
      : Select to configure administrator access to the BIG-IP system (when using APM as a pluggable authentication module).
    • Identity Service
      : Used internally to provide identity service for a supported integration. Only APM creates this type of profile.
      You can edit Identity Service profile properties.
    Depending on licensing, you might not see all of these profile types.
    Additional settings display.
  5. From the
    Profile Scope
    list, select one these options to define user scope:
    • Profile
      : Access to resources behind the profile.
    • Virtual Server
      : Access to resources behind the virtual server.
    • Global
      : Access to resources behind any access profile with global scope.
    • Named
      : Access for SSL Orchestrator users to resources behind any access profile with global scope.
    • Public
      : Access to resources that are behind the same access profile when the Named scope has configured the session and is checked based on the value and string configured in the Named scope field.
  6. In the Language Settings area, add and remove accepted languages, and set the default language.
    A browser uses the highest priority accepted language. If no browser language matches the accepted languages list, the browser uses the default language.
  7. Click
    Finished
    .
The access profile displays in the Access Profiles List. Default-log-setting is assigned to the access profile.

Using HTTP authentication in an access policy

Before you can set up an access policy to use HTTP authentication, you must have at least one HTTP AAA server configured.
You configure an access policy with an HTTP Auth action when you want users to authenticate using one of the HTTP authentication types that Access Policy Manager (APM) supports: Basic, NTLM, form-based, or custom.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Profiles / Policies
    .
    The Access Profiles (Per-Session Policies) screen opens.
  2. In the Per-Session Policy column, click the
    Edit
    link for the access profile you want to configure.
    The visual policy editor opens the access policy in a separate screen.
  3. Click the
    (+)
    icon anywhere in the access policy to add a new item.
    Only an applicable subset of access policy items is available for selection in the visual policy editor for any access profile type.
    A popup screen opens, listing predefined actions on tabs such as General Purpose, Authentication, and so on.
  4. On the Logon tab, select
    Logon Page
    and click the
    Add Item
    button.
    The Logon Page Agent properties screen opens.
  5. Make any changes that you require to the logon page properties and click
    Save
    .
    The properties screen closes and the policy displays.
  6. Click the
    (+)
    icon anywhere in the access policy to add a new item.
    Only an applicable subset of access policy items is available for selection in the visual policy editor for any access profile type.
    A popup screen opens, listing predefined actions on tabs such as General Purpose, Authentication, and so on.
  7. On the Authentication tab, select
    HTTP Auth
    and click
    Add item
    .
    A properties popup screen opens.
  8. From the
    AAA Server
    list, select the AAA HTTP server you want to use for authentication.
  9. Add any other branches and actions that you need to complete the policy.
  10. Click
    Save
    .
    The properties screen closes and the policy displays.
  11. Click
    Apply Access Policy
    to save your configuration.
This adds an HTTP AAA authentication server to the access policy.
To apply this access policy to network traffic, add the access profile to a virtual server.
To ensure that logging is configured to meet your requirements, verify the log settings for the access profile.

Creating a virtual server for an access policy

When creating a virtual server for an access policy, specify an IP address for a single host as the destination address.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Local Traffic
    Virtual Servers
    .
    The Virtual Server List screen opens.
  2. Click
    Create
    .
    The New Virtual Server screen opens.
  3. In the
    Name
    field, type a unique name for the virtual server.
  4. In the
    Destination Address
    field, type the IP address for a host virtual server.
    This field accepts an address in CIDR format (IP address/prefix). However, when you type the complete IP address for a host, you do not need to type a prefix after the address.
  5. In the
    Service Port
    field:
    • If you want to specify a single service port or all ports, confirm that the
      Port
      button is selected, and type or select a service port.
    • If you want to specify multiple ports other than all ports, select the
      Port List
      button, and confirm that the port list that you previously created appears in the box.
  6. From the
    HTTP Profile (Client)
    list, select a previously-created HTTP/2 profile for client-side traffic.
  7. If you use server SSL for this connection, from the
    SSL Profile (Server)
    list, select a server SSL profile.
  8. If you use client SSL for this profile, from the
    SSL Profile (Client)
    list, select a client SSL profile.
  9. In the Access Policy area, from the
    Access Profile
    list, select the access profile that you configured earlier.
  10. From the
    Connectivity Profile
    list, select a connectivity profile.
    You can select the default connectivity profile,
    connectivity
    if you have not defined a specific profile for the traffic that is directed to this virtual server.
  11. Click
    Finished
    .
You have configured a host virtual server and associated an access profile with it.

Overview: Configuring HTTPS authentication

You can configure HTTP AAA authentication to use server-side SSL (HTTPS). To set up this configuration, you must first configure one HTTP AAA server that supports the type of authentication that you want to use: HTTP Basic/NTLM, form-based, or custom post.

HTTP AAA server configuration notes

Configure the HTTP AAA server so that in the
Start URI
or
Form Action
field you use:
  • The http scheme (not https)
  • The host name of the external HTTP server (rather than the IP address)
For example:
http://plumtree.lab2.sp.companynet.com
.

Virtual server configuration notes

Configure the virtual server to use the host name of the external HTTP server; this is the same host name as used in the HTTP AAA server configuration.
Set the
Destination
field to use the host name of the external HTTP server. For example:
companynet.com
(and set the
Service Port
to HTTP).
To ensure that SSL is used between the HTTP AAA server and the external HTTP server, the virtual server configuration includes a server SSL profile and a pool with a member that uses SSL.

DNS configuration notes

The DNS configuration on the BIG-IP® system must send traffic to the virtual server instead of the external HTTP server.
This implementation does not explain how to configure DNS.

Task summary

Before you start these tasks, configure an HTTP AAA server.

Creating a pool for HTTPS authentication

You create a pool (HTTPS) so that you can assign it to a virtual server (HTTP) that accepts HTTP traffic and provides server-side SSL using this pool.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Local Traffic
    Pools
    .
    The Pool List screen opens.
  2. Click
    Create
    .
    The New Pool screen opens.
  3. In the
    Name
    field, type a unique name for the pool.
  4. Scroll down to the Resources area.
  5. In the
    New Members Address
    field, type an IP address.
  6. From the
    Service Port
    list, select
    HTTPS
    .
  7. Click
    Add
    .
  8. Click
    Finished
    .

Creating a virtual server for HTTPS authentication

You create a virtual server that accepts HTTP traffic, encrypts it (using a server SSL profile), and passes it to an HTTPS server to provide secure communication between the BIG-IP system and an external HTTP authentication server.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Local Traffic
    Virtual Servers
    .
    The Virtual Server List screen opens.
  2. Click
    Create
    .
    The New Virtual Server screen opens.
  3. In the
    Name
    field, type a unique name for the virtual server.
  4. In the
    Destination Address
    field, type the IP address of the external HTTP server.
  5. From the
    Service Port
    list, select
    HTTP
    .
  6. From the
    SSL Profile (Server)
    list, select a profile.
    This ensures that there is an SSL connection between the HTTP virtual server and the external HTTPS server.
  7. From the
    VLAN and Tunnel Traffic
    list, select
    Enabled on...
  8. From the
    Source Address Translation
    list, select
    Auto Map
    .
  9. Scroll all the way down to the Resources area and from the
    Default Pool
    list, select the pool you configured previously.
    The pool must contain a member configured for HTTPS.
  10. Click
    Finished
    .

Creating an access profile

You create an access profile to provide the access policy configuration for a virtual server that establishes a secured session.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Profiles / Policies
    .
    The Access Profiles (Per-Session Policies) screen opens.
  2. Click
    Create
    .
    The New Profile screen opens.
  3. In the
    Name
    field, type a name for the access profile.
    A access profile name must be unique among all access profile and any per-request policy names.
  4. From the
    Profile Type
    list, select one these options:
    • LTM-APM
      : Select for a web access management configuration.
    • SSL-VPN
      : Select to configure network access, portal access, or application access. (Most access policy items are available for this type.)
    • ALL
      : Select to support LTM-APM and SSL-VPN access types.
    • SSO
      : Select to configure matching virtual servers for Single Sign-On (SSO).
      No access policy is associated with this type of access profile
    • RDG-RAP
      : Select to validate connections to hosts behind APM when APM acts as a gateway for RDP clients.
    • SWG - Explicit
      : Select to configure access using Secure Web Gateway explicit forward proxy.
    • SWG - Transparent
      : Select to configure access using Secure Web Gateway transparent forward proxy.
    • System Authentication
      : Select to configure administrator access to the BIG-IP system (when using APM as a pluggable authentication module).
    • Identity Service
      : Used internally to provide identity service for a supported integration. Only APM creates this type of profile.
      You can edit Identity Service profile properties.
    Depending on licensing, you might not see all of these profile types.
    Additional settings display.
  5. From the
    Profile Scope
    list, select one these options to define user scope:
    • Profile
      : Access to resources behind the profile.
    • Virtual Server
      : Access to resources behind the virtual server.
    • Global
      : Access to resources behind any access profile with global scope.
    • Named
      : Access for SSL Orchestrator users to resources behind any access profile with global scope.
    • Public
      : Access to resources that are behind the same access profile when the Named scope has configured the session and is checked based on the value and string configured in the Named scope field.
  6. In the Language Settings area, add and remove accepted languages, and set the default language.
    A browser uses the highest priority accepted language. If no browser language matches the accepted languages list, the browser uses the default language.
  7. Click
    Finished
    .
The access profile displays in the Access Profiles List. Default-log-setting is assigned to the access profile.

Using HTTP authentication in an access policy

Before you can set up an access policy to use HTTP authentication, you must have at least one HTTP AAA server configured.
You configure an access policy with an HTTP Auth action when you want users to authenticate using one of the HTTP authentication types that Access Policy Manager (APM) supports: Basic, NTLM, form-based, or custom.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Profiles / Policies
    .
    The Access Profiles (Per-Session Policies) screen opens.
  2. In the Per-Session Policy column, click the
    Edit
    link for the access profile you want to configure.
    The visual policy editor opens the access policy in a separate screen.
  3. Click the
    (+)
    icon anywhere in the access policy to add a new item.
    Only an applicable subset of access policy items is available for selection in the visual policy editor for any access profile type.
    A popup screen opens, listing predefined actions on tabs such as General Purpose, Authentication, and so on.
  4. On the Logon tab, select
    Logon Page
    and click the
    Add Item
    button.
    The Logon Page Agent properties screen opens.
  5. Make any changes that you require to the logon page properties and click
    Save
    .
    The properties screen closes and the policy displays.
  6. Click the
    (+)
    icon anywhere in the access policy to add a new item.
    Only an applicable subset of access policy items is available for selection in the visual policy editor for any access profile type.
    A popup screen opens, listing predefined actions on tabs such as General Purpose, Authentication, and so on.
  7. On the Authentication tab, select
    HTTP Auth
    and click
    Add item
    .
    A properties popup screen opens.
  8. From the
    AAA Server
    list, select the AAA HTTP server you want to use for authentication.
  9. Add any other branches and actions that you need to complete the policy.
  10. Click
    Save
    .
    The properties screen closes and the policy displays.
  11. Click
    Apply Access Policy
    to save your configuration.
This adds an HTTP AAA authentication server to the access policy.
To apply this access policy to network traffic, add the access profile to a virtual server.
To ensure that logging is configured to meet your requirements, verify the log settings for the access profile.

Adding the access profile to the virtual server

You associate the access profile with the virtual server so that the system can apply the profile to incoming traffic.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Local Traffic
    Virtual Servers
    .
    The Virtual Server List screen opens.
  2. Click the name of the virtual server you want to modify.
  3. In the Access Policy area, from the
    Access Profile
    list, select the access profile that you configured earlier.
  4. Click
    Update
    to save the changes.