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Oracle® Fusion Middleware Security Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition
11g Release 1 (11.1.1)

Part Number E10543-06
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A Alternative Security Administration Options

This appendix describes alternative security administration options included for backward compatibility with upgraded systems and are not considered a best practice. This appendix contains the following sections:

A.1 Alternative Authentication Options

Several Oracle Business Intelligence legacy authentication options are still supported for backward compatibility. The best practice for upgrading systems is to begin implementing authentication using an identity store and authentication provider as provided by the default security model. An embedded directory server is configured as the default identity store and authentication provider during installation or upgrade and is available for immediate use. For more information about the default security model, see Chapter 1, "Introduction to Security in Oracle Business Intelligence" and Appendix B, "Understanding the Default Security Configuration".

Authentication is the process by which the user name and password presented during login is verified to ensure the user has the necessary credentials to log in to the system. The BI Server authenticates each connection request it receives. The following legacy authentication methods are supported by the BI Server for backward compatibility in this release:

This section contains the following topics:

A.1.1 Setting Up LDAP Authentication Using Initialization Blocks

You can set up the BI Server to pass user credentials to an external LDAP server for authentication.

The legacy LDAP authentication method uses Oracle Business Intelligence session variables that you define using the Variable Manager in the Oracle BI Administration Tool. For more information about the session variables, see "Using Variables in the Oracle BI Repository" in Oracle Fusion Middleware Metadata Repository Builder's Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition.

To set up LDAP authentication using initialization blocks:

  1. Create an LDAP Server as follows:

    1. Select Manage then Identity in the Administration Tool to launch the Identity Manager.

    2. Select Directory Servers from the left pane in Identity Manager.

    3. Right-click in the right pane in Identity Manager and select New LDAP Server. The LDAP Server dialog is displayed.

    4. Create the LDAP server by completing the fields.

  2. Create an LDAP initialization block and associate it with an LDAP server. For more information, see "Creating Initialization Blocks" in Oracle Fusion Middleware Metadata Repository Builder's Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition.

  3. Define a system variable named USER and assign the USER variable to an LDAP attribute (for example, uid, sAMAccountName, cn).

    Session variables get their values when a user begins a session by logging on. Certain session variables, called system session variables, have special uses. The system session variable USER is used with authentication. For more information about the USER system session variable, see "Defining a USER Session Variable for LDAP Authentication". For more information about system session variables, see "About System Session Variables" in Oracle Fusion Middleware Metadata Repository Builder's Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition.

  4. If applicable, delete users from the repository file.

  5. Associate the USER system variable with the LDAP initialization block. For more information, see "Defining a USER Session Variable for LDAP Authentication" and "Associating Variables with Initialization Blocks" in Oracle Fusion Middleware Metadata Repository Builder's Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition.

Note:

When using secure LDAP you must restart the Administration Tool before testing if you have done the following: set the key file name and password, tested the LDAP parameter setting successfully in the Administration Tool, and then changed the key file name and password again.

A.1.1.1 Setting Up an LDAP Server

For instances of Oracle Business Intelligence that use ADSI as the authentication method, the following options should be used when setting up the Active Directory instance:

  • In Log On To, select All Computers, or if you list some computers, include the Active Directory server as a Logon workstation.

  • Ensure that User must change password at next logon is not selected.

In the Administration Tool, the CN user used for the BIND DN in the LDAP Server section must have both ldap_bind and ldap_search authority.

Note:

The BI Server uses cleartext passwords in LDAP authentication. Make sure your LDAP Servers are set up to allow this.

To set up LDAP authentication for the repository:

  1. Open a repository in the Administration Tool in either offline or online mode.

  2. From Identity Manager, select Action, then New, then LDAP Server.

  3. In the LDAP Server dialog, in the General tab, complete the necessary fields. The following list of options and descriptions contain additional information to help you set up the LDAP server:

    • Name. The name to identify this connection (for example, My LDAP).

    • Host name. The name of your LDAP server.

    • Port number. The default LDAP port is 3060.

    • LDAP version. LDAP 2 or LDAP 3 (versions). The default is LDAP 3.

    • Base DN. The base distinguished name (DN) identifies the starting point of the authentication search. For example, if you want to search all of the entries under the o=Oracle.com subtree of the directory, o=Oracle.com is the base DN.

    • Bind DN and Bind Password. The optional DN and its associated user password that are required to bind to the LDAP server.

      If these two entries are blank, anonymous binding is assumed. For security reasons, not all LDAP servers allow anonymous binding.

      These fields are optional for LDAP V3, but required for LDAP V2, because LDAP V2 does not support anonymous binding.

      These fields are required if you select the ADSI option. If you leave these fields blank, a warning message appears asking if you want to leave the password empty anyway. If you click Yes, anonymous binding is assumed.

    • Test Connection. Use this button to verify your parameters by testing the connection to the LDAP server.

  4. Click the Advanced tab, and enter the required information. The BI Server maintains an authentication cache in memory that improves performance when using LDAP to authenticate large numbers of users. Disabling the authentication cache can slow performance when hundreds of sessions are being authenticated.

    The following list of fields and descriptions contain additional information to help you set up the LDAP server:

    • Connection timeout. When the BI Server attempts to connect to an LDAP server for user authentication, the connection times out after the specified interval.

    • Domain identifier (Optional). Typically, the identifier is a single word that uniquely identifies the domain for which the LDAP object is responsible. This is especially useful when you use multiple LDAP objects. If two different users have the same user ID and each is on a different LDAP server, you can designate domain identifiers to differentiate between them. The users log in to the BI Server using the following format:

      domain_id/user_name

      If a user enters a user name without the domain identifier, then it is authenticated against all available LDAP servers in turn. If there are multiple users with the same name, then only one user can be authenticated.

    • ADSI. (Active Directory Service Interfaces) A type of directory server. If you select the ADSI option, Bind DN and Bind password are required.

    • SSL. (Secure Sockets Layer) Select this option to enable SSL.

    • User Name Attribute Type. This parameter uniquely identifies a user. In many cases, this is the attribute used in the RDN (relative distinguished name). Typically, you accept the default value. For most LDAP servers, you would use the user ID. For ADSI, use sAMAccountName.

A.1.1.2 Defining a USER Session Variable for LDAP Authentication

To set up LDAP authentication using initialization blocks, you define a system session variable called USER and associate it with an LDAP initialization block that is associated with an LDAP server. When a user logs in to the BI Server, the user name and password is passed to the LDAP server for authentication. After the user is authenticated successfully, other session variables for the user could also be populated from information returned by the LDAP server.

Note:

If the user exists in both an external LDAP server using the legacy method and in an LDAP-based identity store based on Oracle Platform Security Services, the user definition in the identity store takes precedence. The legacy LDAP mechanism is only attempted if authentication fails against Oracle Platform Security Services.

The information in this section assumes that an LDAP initialization block has been defined.

For users not defined in an LDAP-based identity store, the presence of the defined system variable USER determines that external authentication is performed. Associating USER with an LDAP initialization block determines that the user is authenticated by LDAP. To provide other forms of authentication, associate the USER variable with an initialization block associated with an external database.

To define the USER session variable for LDAP authentication:

  1. Open a repository in the Administration Tool in either offline or online mode.

  2. Select Manage, then Variables from the Administration Tool menu.

  3. Select the Session -> Initialization Blocks leaf of the tree in the left pane.

  4. Right-click in the right pane and select New Initialization Block.

  5. In the Session Variable - Initialization dialog box, enter Authentication in the Name field.

  6. Click Edit Data Source.

  7. Select LDAP Server from the Data Source Type drop down list.

  8. Browse to select the appropriate LDAP server from the list.

  9. Click OK.

  10. Click Edit Data Target.

  11. Click New.

  12. Enter USER in the Name field.

  13. Click OK.

  14. Click Yes to the warning message about the USER session variable having a special purpose.

  15. Enter in the Mapped Variable field, the LDAP attribute that holds the user ID.

  16. Click OK.

  17. Select the Required for Authentication checkbox.

  18. Click OK.

A.1.1.3 Setting the Logging Level

Use the system variable LOGLEVEL to set the logging level for users who are authenticated by an LDAP server.

A.1.2 Setting Up External Table Authentication

You can maintain lists of users and their passwords in an external database table and use this table for authentication purposes. The external database table contains user names and passwords, and could contain other information, including group membership and display names used for Oracle BI Presentation Services users. The table could also contain the names of specific database catalogs or schemas to use for each user when querying data.

Note:

If a user belongs to multiple groups, the group names should be included in the same column, separated by semicolons.

External table authentication uses session variables that you define using the Variable Manager in the Administration Tool. For more information about the Variable Manager, see "Using Variables in the Oracle BI Repository" in Oracle Fusion Middleware Metadata Repository Builder's Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition.

Session variables get their values when a user begins a session by logging on. Certain session variables, called system variables, have special uses. The variable USER is a system variable that is used with external table authentication.

To set up external table authentication, you define a system variable called USER and associate it with an initialization block that is associated with an external database table. Whenever a user logs in, the user ID and password are authenticated using SQL that queries this database table for authentication. The initialization block uses the database connection in the physical layer to connect to the database. The connection in the physical layer contains the log in information. After the user is authenticated successfully, other session variables for the user could also be populated from the results of this SQL query.

The presence of the defined system variable USER determines that external authentication is performed. Associating USER with an external database table initialization block determines that the user is authenticated using the information in this table. To provide other forms of authentication, associate the USER system variable with an initialization block associated with a LDAP server or XML source. For more information, see "Setting Up LDAP Authentication Using Initialization Blocks".

To set up external table authentication:

  1. Import information about the external table into the Physical layer.

  2. Select Manage, then Variables in the Administration Tool to open the Variable Manager.

  3. Select Initialization Blocks in the left pane.

  4. Right-click in the right pane and select New Initialization Block.

  5. In the Initialization Block dialog box, enter a name for the initialization block.

  6. Select Database from the Data Source Connection list.

  7. Click Browse to search for the name of the connection pool this block uses.

  8. In the Initialization String area, enter the SQL statement that is issued at authentication time.

    The values returned by the database in the columns in the SQL statement is assigned to variables. The order of the variables and the order of the columns determines which columns are assigned to which variables. Consider the SQL in the following example:

    SELECT username, grp_name, SalesRep, 2 FROM securitylogons WHERE username = ':USER' and pwd = ':PASSWORD'
    

    This SQL contains two constraints in the WHERE clause:

    • :USER (note the colon) equals the name the user entered when logging on.

    • :PASSWORD (note the colon) equals the password the user entered.

    The query returns data only if the user name and password match values found in the specified table.

    You should test the SQL statement outside of the BI Server, substituting valid values for :USER and :PASSWORD to verify that a row of data returns.

  9. If this query returns data, then the user is authenticated and session variables are populated. Because this query returns four columns, four session variables are populated. Create these variables (USER, GROUP, DISPLAYNAME, and LOGLEVEL) by clicking New in the Variables tab.

    If a variable is not in the desired order, click the variable you want to reorder and use the Up and Down buttons to move it.

  10. Click OK to save the initialization block.

A.1.3 About Oracle BI Delivers and External Initialization Block Authentication

Oracle BI Scheduler Server runs Delivers jobs for users without accessing or storing their passwords. Using a process called impersonation, Oracle BI Scheduler uses one user name and password with Oracle Business Intelligence administrative privileges that can act on behalf of other users. Oracle BI Scheduler initiates an Agent by logging on to Oracle BI Presentation Services with the Oracle Business Intelligence administrative name and password.

For Delivers to work, all database authentication must be performed in only one connection pool, and that connection pool can only be selected in an initialization block for the USER system session variable. This is typically called the Authentication Initialization Block. When impersonation is used, this initialization block is skipped. All other initialization blocks must use connection pools that do not use database authentication.

Caution:

An authentication initialization block is the only initialization block in which it is acceptable to use a connection pool where :USER and :PASSWORD are passed to a physical database.

For other initialization blocks, SQL statements can use :USER and :PASSWORD. However, because Oracle BI Scheduler Server does not store user passwords, the WHERE clause must be constructed as shown in the following example:

SELECT username, groupname, dbname, schemaname FROM users
WHERE username=':USER' 
NQS_PASSWORD_CLAUSE(and pwd=':PASSWORD')NQS_PASSWORD_CLAUSE

When impersonation is used, everything in the parentheses is extracted from the SQL statement at runtime.

For more information, see the Oracle BI Delivers examples in Oracle Fusion Middleware Metadata Repository Builder's Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition.

A.1.4 Order of Authentication

The BI Server populates session variables using the initialization blocks in the desired order that are specified by the dependency rules defined in the initialization blocks. If the server finds the session variable USER, it performs authentication against an LDAP server or an external database table, depending on the configuration of the initialization block with which the USER variable is associated.

Authentication against the identity store configured in Oracle WebLogic Server Administration Console occurs first, and if that fails, then initialization block authentication occurs.

A.1.5 Authenticating by Using a Custom Authenticator Plug-In

You can create a customized authentication module using initialization blocks. An authenticator is a dynamic link library (DLL), or shared object on UNIX, written by a customer or developer that conforms to the Oracle BI Authenticator API Specification and can be used by the BI Server to perform authentication and other tasks at run time. The dynamically loadable authentication module is a BI Server module with a cache layer that uses the authenticator to perform authentication and related tasks at run time.

Sample custom authenticator code can be found in the BI EE Sample Application downloadable from Oracle Technology Network (OTN).

After you create an authentication object (authenticator plug-in) and specify a set of parameters for the authentication module (such as configuration file path, number of cache entries, and cache expiration time), you must associate the authentication object with an initialization block. You can associate the USER variable (required) and other variables with the initialization blocks.

When a user logs in, if the authentication is successful, this populates a list of variables, as specified in the initialization block.

A custom authenticator is an object in the repository that represents a custom C authenticator plug-in. This object is used with an authentication init block to enable the BI Server component to authenticate users against the custom authenticator. The recommended method for authentication is to use Oracle WebLogic Server's embedded LDAP server. However, the practice of using custom authenticators can continue to be used.

To add a custom authenticator:

  1. In the Administration Tool, select Manage, then Identity. Select Custom Authenticators from the navigation tree. Select from the following options:

    • To create a new custom authenticator: Right-click in the right pane and select New Custom Authenticator.

    • To edit a custom authenticator: Double-click the name.

  2. In the Custom Authenticator dialog, complete the necessary fields.

    • Authenticator plug-in: The path and name of the plug-in DLL for this custom authenticator.

    • Configuration parameters: The parameters that have been explicitly exposed for configuration for this custom authenticator.

    • Encrypted parameter: The parameters that have been encrypted, such as passwords for this custom authenticator.

    • Cache persistence time: The interval at which the authentication cache entry for a logged on user is refreshed, for this custom authenticator.

    • Number of cache entries: The maximum number of entries in the authentication cache for this custom authenticator (preallocated when the Oracle BI Server starts). If the number of users exceeds this limit, cache entries are replaced using the LRU algorithm. If this value is 0, then the authentication cache is disabled.

  3. Click OK.

A.1.6 Managing Session Variables

System session variables obtain their values from initialization blocks and are used to authenticate Oracle Business Intelligence users against external sources such as LDAP servers or database tables. Every active BI Server session generates session variables and initializes them. Each session variable instance can be initialized to a different value. For more information about how session variable and initialization blocks are used by Oracle Business Intelligence, see "Using Variables in the Oracle BI Repository" in Oracle Fusion Middleware Metadata Repository Builder's Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition.

A.1.7 Managing Server Sessions

The Administration Tool Session Manager is used in online mode to monitor activity. The Session Manager shows all users logged in to the session, all current query requests for each user, and variables and their values for a selected session. Additionally, an administrative user can disconnect any users and terminate any query requests with the Session Manager.

How often the Session Manager data is refreshed depends on the amount of activity on the system. To refresh the display at any time, click Refresh.

A.1.7.1 Using the Session Manager

The Session Manager contains an upper pane and a lower pane:

  • The top pane, the Session pane, shows users currently logged in to the BI Server. To control the update speed, from the Update Speed list, select Normal, High, or Low. Select Pause to keep the display from being refreshed.

  • The bottom pane contains two tabs:

    • The Request tab shows active query requests for the user selected in the Session pane.

    • The Variables tab shows variables and their values for a selected session. You can click the column headers to sort the data.

Table A-1 and Table A-2 describe the columns in the Session Manager dialog.

Table A-1 Fields in the Session Manager Dialog

Column Name Description

Client Type

The type of client connected to the server.

Last Active Time

The time stamp of the last activity on the session.

Logon Time

The time stamp that shows when the session initially connected to the BI Server.

Repository

The logical name of the repository to which the session is connected.

Session ID

The unique internal identifier that the BI Server assigns each session when the session is initiated.

User

The name of the user connected.


Table A-2 Some Fields in the Request Tab of the Session Manager Dialog

Column Name Description

Last Active Time

The time stamp of the last activity on the query.

Request ID

The unique internal identifier that the BI Server assigns each query when the query is initiated.

Session ID

The unique internal identifier that the BI Server assigns each session when the session is initiated.

Start Time

The time of the individual query request.


To view the variables for a session:

  1. In the Administration Tool, open a repository in online mode and select Manage then Sessions.

  2. Select a session and click the Variables tab.

    For more information about variables, see "Using Variables in the Oracle BI Repository" in Oracle Fusion Middleware Metadata Repository Builder's Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition.

  3. To refresh the view, click Refresh.

  4. To close Session Manager, click Close.

To disconnect a user from a session:

  1. In the Administration Tool, open a repository in online mode and select Manage then Sessions.

  2. Select the user in the Session Manager top pane.

  3. Click Disconnect.

    The user session receives a message that indicates that the session was terminated by an administrative user. Any currently running queries are immediately terminated, and any outstanding queries to underlying databases are canceled.

  4. To close the Session Manager, click Close.

To terminate an active query:

  1. In the Administration Tool, open a repository in online mode and select Manage then Sessions.

  2. Select the user session that initiated the query in the top pane of the Session Manager.

    After the user is highlighted, any active query requests from that user are displayed in the bottom pane.

  3. Select the request that you want to terminate.

  4. Click Kill Request to terminate the selected request.

    The user receives a message indicating that the query was terminated by an administrative user. The query is immediately terminated, and any outstanding queries to underlying databases are canceled.

    Repeat this process to terminate any other requests.

  5. To close the Session Manager, click Close.

A.2 Alternative Authorization Options

For backward capability, this release supports the ability to manage catalog object privileges using Catalog groups, and the ability to set application role membership for users using initialization blocks, when authentication is also being performed by initialization blocks.

Note:

It is not possible to set application role membership using initialization blocks, when authentication is performed by Oracle Platform Security Services.

This section contains the following topics:

A.2.1 Changes Affecting Security in Presentation Services

If you have upgraded from a previous release, the best practice is to begin managing catalog privileges and catalog objects using application roles maintained in the policy store.

Oracle Business Intelligence uses the Oracle Fusion Middleware security model and its resources are protected by a role-based system. This has significance for upgrading users as the following security model changes affect privileges in the Oracle BI Presentation Catalog:

  • Authorization is now based on fine-grained JAAS permissions. Users are granted permissions by membership in corresponding application roles.

  • Users and groups are maintained in the identity store and are no longer maintained in the BI Server. Members of BI Server groups are no longer automatically made members of Catalog groups having the same name, as was the practice in earlier releases.

  • Privileges continue to be stored in the Oracle BI Presentation Catalog and cannot be accessed from the administrative interfaces used to manage the policy store.

  • The Everyone Catalog group is no longer available and has been replaced by the AuthenticatedUser application role. Members of the Everyone Catalog group automatically become members of AuthenticatedUser role after upgrade.

  • Catalog groups can no longer be password protected. All Catalog groups migrated during upgrade no longer have a password.

A.2.2 Managing Catalog Privileges Using Catalog Groups

Existing Catalog groups are migrated during upgrade and available for your use. You can continue to create new Catalog groups. For information about how to create, edit, or delete Catalog groups, see Section D.2.2, "Working with Catalog Groups".

You can grant these privileges by assigning other Catalog groups, users, or application roles to a Catalog group.

Note:

Assigning Catalog groups to become members of an application role creates complex group inheritance and maintenance situations, and is not considered a best practice.

To grant privileges using a Catalog group:

  1. From the Home page in Presentation Services, select Administration.

  2. Click the Manage Privileges link to display the Manage Privileges page.

  3. Click the link for the privilege from the Manage Privileges page.

  4. To assign the privilege to the Catalog group:

    • Click Add Users/Roles.

    • Select Catalog Groups from the list and click Search.

    • Select the Catalog group from the results list.

    • Use the shuttle controls to move the Catalog group to Selected Members.

  5. Click OK.

  6. Set the permission for the Catalog group by selecting Granted or Denied in the Privileges dialog.

    Explicitly denying a Presentation Services privilege takes precedence over user access rights either granted or inherited as a result of group or application role hierarchy.

  7. Click OK.

  8. Repeat Steps 3 through 7 until the privileges have been granted or denied as needed.

A.2.3 Setting Up Authorization Using Initialization Blocks

To set application role membership for users using initialization blocks, the following conditions apply:

  • Initialization blocks to set ROLES or GROUP session variables will only function when the user fails to authenticate through an authenticator configured in the WebLogic security realm, and the user instead authenticates through an initialization block.

  • You must set up an initialization block to set the values of either ROLES or GROUP, and the BI Server will make the values of both variables the same.

  • When using an initialization block to set ROLES or GROUP session variables, the values of the variables should be set to match by name against one or more application roles configured using Fusion Middleware Control, for example, BIConsumer. A user will be assigned these application roles and associated permissions during authentication.

  • For information about application roles, and how to add a new application role, see Section 2.4, "Managing Application Roles and Application Policies Using Fusion Middleware Control".

  • When using initialization blocks to set ROLES or GROUP session variables, the association of groups to application roles is performed using the logic previously described. Assignment of groups to application roles in the policy store is not used in this case.

  • Any value of the ROLES or GROUP variable that does not match an application role will be matched by name against the available Catalog groups in the Oracle BI Presentation Catalog. The user will be assigned these Catalog groups and associated privileges.

  • Any value of ROLES or GROUP that does not match an application role or a Catalog group will be ignored.

To define the ROLES session variable for database authorization:

  1. Open a repository in the Administration Tool in either offline or online mode.

  2. Select Manage, then Variables from the Administration Tool menu.

  3. Select the Session -> Initialization Blocks leaf of the tree in the left pane.

  4. Right-click in the right pane and select New Initialization Block.

  5. In the Session Variable - Initialization dialog box, enter Authorization in the Name field.

  6. Click Edit Data Source.

  7. Select Database from the Data Source Type drop down list.

  8. Enter the SQL.

    The SQL can be anything that returns either a list of groups, or a single group if row-wise initialization is not used.

    For more information, see "Using Variables in the Oracle BI Repository" in the Oracle Fusion Middleware Metadata Repository Builder's Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition.

  9. Click Browse to select a connection pool.

  10. Click Select.

  11. Click OK.

  12. Click OK.

  13. Click Edit Data Target.

  14. Click New.

  15. Enter ROLES in the Name field.

  16. Click OK.

  17. Click Yes to the warning message about the ROLES session variable having a special purpose.

  18. Click OK.

  19. Clear the Required for Authentication checkbox.

  20. Click OK.