Friday, June 7, 2019

WebSSOLifetime versus TokenLifetime

What is the difference between WebSSOLifetime versus TokenLifetime

The trick to understanding this is to think of WebSSOLifetime like a Kerberos TGT.

WebSSOLifetime (Default 480 minutes = 8 hours)
This parameter is server-wide. Meaning if you configure it, it’s active for all of the ADFS relying parties. Whenever a user asks a token for a given RP he will have to authenticate to the ADFS service first. Upon communicating with the ADFS service he will receive two tokens: a token which proves who he is (let’s call that the ADFS Token) and a token for the RP (let’s say the RP Token). All in all this seems very much like the TGT and TGS tickets of Kerberos.
Now the WebSSOLifetime timeout determines how long the ADFS token can be used to request new RP Tokens without having to re-authenticate. In other words a user can ask new tokens for this RP, or for other RP’s, and he will not have to prove who he is until the WebSSOLifetime expires the ADFS token.

TokenLifetime (Default 0 which means 10 hours!)
The TokeLifetime is now easy to explain. This parameter is configurable for each RP. Whenever a user receives a RP Token, it will expire at some time. At that time the user will have to go to the ADFS server again an request a new RP token. Depending on whether or not the ADFS Token is still valid or not, he will not have to re-authenticate. 
One argument to lower the TokenLifetime could be that you want the claims to be updated faster. With the default whenever some of the Attribute Store info is modified, it might potentially take 10 hours before this change reaches the user in its claims.

The TokenLifetime can be read using PowerShell

PS > Get-ADFSRelyingPartyTrust -Name "relying_party"

The WebSSOLifetime can be accessed from the ADFS management interface


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