OIF: SP initiated call after response from IdP redirecting to SP /fed/sp/art20?SAMLart=** with 401 Unauthorized

Oracle Identity Federation (OIF) is federation solution from Oracle that provides cross domain Single Sign-On (SSO). OIF can act as Service Provider (SP), Identity Provider (IdP), or both (IdP & SP).

I recently integrated two OIF instances, one acting as IdP and second acting as SP. Both OIF had their own Identity Store (as OID) where user with attribute employeeNumber (on IdP side) was linked to user with attribute uid (on SP side).

Note: This type of federation is called as Linked Federation, other types are Transient, Mapped, and Attribute or Role-based Federation  . Step by step integration of Linked-based federation in OIF is covered in Oracle By Example (OBE) 

To add further complexity to solution OAM (Oracle Access Manager) was integarted with OIF (SP side) as Service Provider Integration Module (i.e. OAM authentication was delegated to OIF SP and any user session at OIF should automatically create session at OAM). 

During testing a resource protected in OAM by OIF Scheme (Challenge URL pointing to http(s)://OIF_SP_Host/fed/user/sposso ) , OAM was re-directing user browser to OIF_SP (/fed/user/sposso?osso_spToken) which in turn was redirecting to OIF_IdP (/fed/idp/samlv20?SAMLRequest) for authentication.

Note: Use browser tools like IEHTTPHeaders (IE)  or HTTP Header Plug-In(Firefox) to display HTTP Header to see how URLs are redirected in user session.

After authentication at IdP (using default ldap authentication engine which is OID), request was redirected back to OIF_SP (/fed/sp/art20?SAMLart=) and error message on browser reported was

From RFC 2068 Hypertext Transfer Protocol — HTTP/1.1:
10.4.2 401 Unauthorized

The request requires user authentication. The response MUST include a WWW-Authenticate header field (section 14.46) containing a challenge applicable to the requested resource. The client MAY repeat the request with a suitable Authorization header field (section 14.8). If the request already included Authorization credentials, then the 401 response indicates that authorization has been refused for those credentials. If the 401 response contains the same challenge as the prior response, and the user agent has already attempted authentication at least once, then the user SHOULD be presented the entity that was given in the response, since that entity MAY include relevant diagnostic information. HTTP access authentication is explained in section 11.

Note: Authorization related errors in OIF are mainly because of wrong nameID mapping done beween OIF IdP and SP .


To troubleshoot OIF configuration issue

1. First thing to check is look for any errors in wls_oif<N>.out at both SP and IDP side under $DOMAIN_HOME/servers/<oif_server_name>/logs/

In my case error at IdP side in wls_oid<N>.out was

<Apr 17, 2012 4:48:30 PM BST> <Error> <oracle.security.fed.eventhandler.profiles.idp.sso.v20.AuthnRequestEventHandler> <FED-15003> <No value in user record for NameIDPolicy requested: urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:1.1:nameid-format:emailAddress>

Note: Value of attribute email for user is NULL in OID configured with IDP & SP but why is IDP trying to query emailAddress for user ?


Error at SP side in wls_oid<N>.out was

<Apr 17, 2012 4:24:20 PM BST> <Error> <oracle.security.fed.eventhandler.authn.engines.osso.OssoFinishSPSSOEventHandler> <FED-15134> <The service providercould not map the identity provider response to a user>

Looking at error message on IdP and SP , it was clear that error was related to nameid-format (more on nameid-format or NameIDPolicy in SAML Token later).

To debug what nameID format is requested by OIF SP, enable trace in OIF for logger oracle.security from Enterprise Manager (/em)



After enabling TRACE in OIF at SP side, access URL in OAM protected by OIF Authentication scheme and query what NameID format SP is requesting in SAML token ( This information is recorded in trace at  $DOMAIN_HOME/servers/<oif_server>/logs/wls_oif-diagnotics.log )


[2012-04-12T11:49:16.339+01:00] [wls_oif1] [TRACE] [] [oracle.security.fed.http.translator.SenderProtocolMessageTranslator] [tid: [ACTIVE].ExecuteThread: ‘1’ for queue: ‘weblogic.kernel.Default (self-tuning)’] [userId: <anonymous>] [ecid: 004jV7Dh5Eo5e_r_CHXBig0007RO000IIb,0:1] [SRC_CLASS: oracle.security.fed.http.translator.SenderProtocolMessageTranslator] [APP: OIF#] [SRC_METHOD: translateSAML2MessageToQuery] [URI: /fed/user/sposso] Outgoing QUERY message:

<samlp:AuthnRequest xmlns:samlp=”urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:protocol” Destination=”http://idpHost.idpDomain:8888/fed/idp/samlv20” ForceAuthn=”false”
ID=”id-MaNTZObsPFZEn7mqeHE1ETWAnAU-” IssueInstant=”2012-04-18T10:49:16Z” ProtocolBinding=”urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:bindings:HTTP-Artifact” Version=”2.0″>
<saml:Issuer xmlns:saml=”urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:assertion”
Format=”urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:entity”> http://spHost.spDomain:9888/fed/sp</saml:Issuer>
<samlp:NameIDPolicy AllowCreate=”true” Format=”urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:1.1:nameid-format:emailAddress“/>

If you notice in SAML token requested by OIF SP, it is requesting nameid-format in NameIDPolicy as emailAddress


Q: How to change OIF_SP to request  for attribute employeeNumber at OIF_IdP and map this to attribute uid at OIF_SP ?

A: To achieve this, configure OIF at SP side (Service Provider) Default Authentication Request NameID format to Custom (or unspecified) (first screen shot) and update value of Custom (or unspecified) to employeeNumber.  You also need to select option Map User via Attribute Query (with value like (&(uid=%enumuid%))) (first screenshot)

Note: You also need to configure OIF at IdP side (Identity Provider) custom (or unspecified) to enabled with value as employeeNumber (second screenshot) and configure Attribute Mapping and Filters (for SP at IdP side) to return employeeNumber as enumid (third and fourth screenshot)





Configuration at IdP side for Identity Provider 



To configure SP metadata at IDP side from OIF_IdP : Administration -> Federations -> select SP metadata (registered earlier) and click edit -> select tab Oracle Identity Federation Settings and click Edit next to Attribute Mapping and Filters




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About the Author Atul Kumar

Oracle ACE, Author, Speaker and Founder of K21 Technologies & K21 Academy : Specialising in Design, Implement, and Trainings.

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Leave a Comment:

kjj1983 says May 2, 2012

Get the same error

But even after increasing the trace it doesnt give me detailed error in the wls_oif1.log.

Please help

Sourabh says May 4, 2012

Hi Atul,

I too have SP and IDP OIFs on two different machines. I have configured the two OIFs with each others’ metadata. In SP, I have put in the SP integration module to be OAM and have configured the same. However problem is once the OIF redirects me to IDP for authentication and I put in the credentials, I am not getting redirected to SP URL which I wanted to access. If I configure SP Integration module as Test SP Engine I am able to get the Authentication Successful SAML Details. But since I want redirection I set the above module and voila I have this error staring in my face.

The diagnostic logs tell me that there’s this error -“oracle.security.fed.event.EventException: com.oblix.access.ObAccessException: Unprotected resource GET http://vpunvfpctnsz-05.ad.infosys.com:8080/fed/user/oam/OIF-password-protected used in an ObAuthenticationScheme or ObUserSession constructor.” I checked in OAM and saw that this URL is automatically protected under the policy that is created by OIF by default i.e. the “OIF SP Policy – Do Not Modify”. Could you plz shed some light on this if you have any expreienced this before.


Sourabh says May 7, 2012

Hi Atul,

I have deployed the page at C:\Oracle\Middleware\user_projects\domains\OIFDomain\autodeploy\test through Eclipse. It was accessible directly as http://host:port/Test/SP_LandingPage.html.

During the configuration I was doing, I protected the /Test/SP_LandingPage.html using the OIF policy domain I had created in which I had also protected the /fed/user/authnoam needed for the OIF configuration. Both were protected with different policies. For instance I protected /fed/user/authnoam using OIF_Policy policy and the /Test/SP_LandingPage.html using SP_Landing Policy in that policy domain. After that if i try to access the SP_LandingPage i designed, it gets redirected to the /fed/user/spoam of which I am not sure what it might be. Then i get the /fed/idp/samlv20 so i think maybe this lead to sp initiated sso coz what i generally get on going through the idp website is the /fed/sp/authnresponse20 assertion before i get the error. Anyways so in this case i got this saml and then in next step it went to the idp website instead of opening the page. And this all happened without me providing any authentication for any user. Anyways this scenario aside, i want the user to go through idp itself and in that case i get the flow and error that i input in the first post. Any pointers?

    Atul Kumar says May 8, 2012

    @ Sourabh,
    Please update your requirement and I’ll suggest what to do .

Sourabh says May 10, 2012

I am trying to simulate the scenario where federation exists between two partners. Service provider uses OIF to understand the SAML response from the IDP and hence authenticate user. It is a SP-Initiated SSO login. So when user tries to access a protected page i.e. the landing page here, he gets redirected to my custom login page and the URL of the place where he is now is set in a cookie simultaneously. He then puts in credentials. IDP checks these against its database and generates a SAML response. He is then redirected to OIF of SP with the SAML generated and is authenticated there using this and a session will be maintained for him. Now the problem in my simulation is that OIF is authenticating the user successfully as can be seen when I configure it to be Test SP Engine. However when I integrate it with OAM as SP Integration module, the user does not get redirected to the landing page he requested as set in the cookie nor is he getting logged in on IDP or SP. But configured as Test SP Engine, I am able to get the authnresponse20 page which has details of user login along with the fact that he was authenticated successfully. So how to achieve the redirection using the OAM configured as SP Integration module?

KaranR says August 20, 2013

Hi Atul,

I have very similar problem as described above.
But even after trying all I am not able to get pass this 401 Unauthorized error.

Its SP initiated SSO solution where OIF is integrated with OAM on SP side. Here the IdP is a third party custom built solution.

I am sending the SAML Request as well as SAML Response for reference. Please suggest what can be the issue.




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David says October 7, 2014

Hi Atul,
I met the same problem Sourabh faced. Till now, any idea?

Thanks a lot!

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