NetScaler nFactor authentication – Google reCAPTCHA first factor LDAP second

Integrating reCAPTCHA by Google with Citrix NetScaler is a great move towards protecting internal resources from attackers. If someone or even a bot of computers are trying to brute force an account, or break in to your system, having reCAPTCHA is sure to defer such activies and make it a very difficult task to achieve.

In this post, I’ll describe how you can place reCAPTCHA in the first line of authentication with WebAuth, and LDAP as the second factor. This is all using nFactor for NetScaler Unified Gateway which was released in versions 11.1. I’ve previously described how you can use RADIUS, LDAP and Azure authentication technologies with nFactor to create a dynamic real-time authentication system. You can read more about that here

To begin integrating reCAPTCHA with NetScaler, you first need to sign up to the free service

Select reCATPCHA V2. Specify a descriptive label and enter your domain name which will be the FQDN of NetScaler Gateway.

Note: Invisible reCAPTCHA has not been released for GA so do not choose this.

Agree to the ToS and click Register.

You’ll be given a Site key and Secret key. Keep these secure and safe, you’ll need them later.

Log on to NetScaler using a program such as WinSCP and create a new Login Schema file. This file will generate the UI users see when logging on to NetScaler, containing the reCAPTCHA box and a username field. The username is extracted and placed in the next Login Schema for LDAP authentication. Login Schemas that you create should reside in /nsconfig/loginschema/.

The XML code you need is here, take a copy:

Now add a Login Schema Profile to NetScaler. Log on to the GUI, navigate to Security -> AAA – Application Traffic -> Login Schema -> Profiles -> Add.

Specify an appropriate name and click on the edit button under noschema.

Select the Google Captcha Login Schema. Click Select.

Click Create.

Next create a Login Schema Policy. Click the Policies tab -> Add.

Specify an appropriate name, under Profile choose the Login Schema Profile you created. Under Rule enter true. Click Create.

Edit your AAA vServer and bind the Login Schema directly to this server. I’m assuming you have already created the AAA vServer, Authentication Profile and other parks to use nFactor. If you have not, use the link at the top of this post for guidance. This Login Schema will now apply to all users logging on to my NetScaler. This is the first schema/UI that will be shown to users.

We need another Login Schema, this is for the second factor using LDAP. The Login Schema contains a username and password box, however the username is extracted from the previous WebAuth/reCAPTCHA schema. Create a new Login Schema file as below.

The XML code you need is here, take a copy:

Create another Login Schema Profile for the username extraction piece as shown below, using the XML file you created. You don’t need to create a Login Schema Policy.

Next create a Policy Label for the second LDAP factor. Navigate to Security -> AAA – Application Traffic -> Policies -> Authentication -> Advanced Policies -> Authentication Policy Labels -> Add.

Enter a name, under Login Schema choose the Username Extract Login Schema you just created. Click Continue.

Click on Click to select under Select Policy.

Bind your LDAP policy, if you don’t have one, create one first. Click Select.

Under Goto Expression select END. No other factors will be used. Click Bind.

Click Done.

Next using WinSCP or similar, navigate to var/netscaler/logon/LogonPoint/custom on NetScaler. Edit the script.js file and enter the following JavaScript code:

Note: Replace the key beside var reCaptchaSiteKey = with your own Site key.

Navigate to Security -> AAA – Application Traffic -> Policies -> Authentication -> Basic Policies -> WEB -> Servers -> Add. The Web Auth policy is used for reCAPTCHA verification with Google.

Enter an appropriate name, the Web Server IP Address should resolve to The Port/Protocol should be 443 and HTTPS. In the HTTP Request Expression field, secret= should match your Site secret provided by Google. Under Expression to validate the Authentication change the hostname to your NetScaler Gateway FQDN. Click Create.

Now navigate to Security -> AAA – Application Trafic -> Policies -> Authentication -> Advanced Policies -> Authentication Policies -> Add.

Enter an appropriate name. Under Action Type choose WEBAUTH. Under Action choose the WebAuth server you just created. Enter true under Expression. Click Create.

Navigate back to the AAA vServer and add a new Authentication Policy.

Select the Web Auth policy as first factor, choose the LDAP Only/Username Extracted Policy Label for Next Factor. Click Bind.

Your Authentication Policy should look like this. It’s time to test it out.


When navigating to NetScaler Gateway, the first Login Schema CaptchaLoginSchema displays with a username and captcha field. Enter your username and then tick I’m not a robot.

You will be challenged to select a number of specific pictures, in my case, there was nothing to select so I clicked SKIP.

Next I was challenged to select all squares with a street sign. Click VERIFY.

Captcha verification is complete and you’ll be able to continue to the next factor. Click Log On. At this stage, the username you entered will be captured and fed through to next factor. You could in theory do something such as Group Extraction or other methods and apply many different factors based on who the user is.

In my case, I’m only selecting LDAP. Notice the second Username Extract Login Schema now shows, with my username extracted from previous factor. Enter password and click Log On.

Log on to Unified Gateway is successful.


Leave a Reply