Skip to main content

Device Authorization using OAuth2 and OpenAM

IoT and smart device style use cases, often require the need to authorize a device to act on behalf of a user.  A common example is things like smart TV's, home appliances or wearables, that are powerful enough to communicate over HTTPS, and will often access services and APIs on the end user's behalf.

How can that be done securely, without sharing credentials?  Well, OAuth2 can come to the rescue. Whilst not part of the ratified standard, many of the OAuth2 IETF drafts, describe how this could be acheived using what's known as the "Device Flow"  This flow leverages the same components of the other OAuth2 flows, with a few subtle differences.

Firstly, the device is generally not known to have a great UI, that can handle decent human interaction - such as logging in or authorizing a consent request.  So, the consenting aspect, needs to be handled on a different device, that does have standard UI capabilities.  The concept, is to have the device trigger a request, before passing the authorization process off to the end user on a different device - basically accessing a URL to "authorize and pair" the device.


From an OpenAM perspective, we create a standard OAuth2 (or OIDC) agent profile with the necessary client identifier and secret (or JWT config) with the necessary scope.  The device starts the process by send a POST request to /oauth2/device/code end point, with arguments such as the scope, client ID and nonce in the URL.  If the request is successful, the response is a JSON payload, with a verification URL, device_code and user_code payload.


The end user views the URL and code (or perhaps notified via email or app) and in a separate device, goes to the necessary URL to enter the code.


This triggers the standard OAuth2 consent screen - showing which scopes the device is trying to access.


Once approved, the end user dashboard in the OpenAM UI shows the authorization - which importantly can be revoked at any time by the end user to "detach" the device.


Once authorized, the device can then call the ../oauth2/device/token? endpoint with the necessary client credentials and device_code, to receive the access and refresh token payload - or OpenID Connect JWT token as well.



The device can then start accessing resources on the users behalf - until the user revokes the bearer token.

NB - this OAuth2 flow is only available in the nightly OpenAM 13.0 build.

DeviceEmulator code that tests the flows is available here.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

WebAuthn Authentication in AM 6.5

ForgeRock AccessManagement 6.5, will have out of the box integration for the W3C WebAuthn. This modern “FIDO2” standard allows cryptographic passwordless authentication – integrating with a range of native authenticators, from USB keys to fingerprint and facial recognition systems found natively in many mobile and desktop operating systems.
Why is this so cool? Well firstly we know passwords are insecure and deliver a poor user experience. But aren’t there loads of strong MFA solutions out there already? Well, there are, but many are proprietary, require complex integrations and SDK’s and ultimately, don’t provide the level of agility that many CISO’s and application designers now require. 
Rolling out a secure authentication system today, will probably only result in further integration costs and headaches tomorrow, when the next “cool” login method emerges.
Having a standards based approach, allows for easier inter-operability and a more agile platform for change.
AM 6.5 has int…

Implementing Zero Trust & CARTA within AM 6.x

There is an increasing focus on perimeterless approaches to security design and the buzzy "defensive security architectures".  This blog will take a brief look at implementing a contextual and continuous approach to access management, that can help to fulfil those design aspirations.

The main concept, is to basically collect some sort of contextual data at login time, and again at resource access time - and basically look for differences between the two.  But why is this remotely interesting?  Firstly, big walls, don't necessarily mean safer houses.  The classic firewall approach to security.  Keeping the bad out and the good in.  That concept no longer works for the large modern enterprise.  The good and bad are everywhere and access control decisions should really be based on data above and beyond that directly related to the user identity, with enforcement as close as possible to the protected resource as possible.

With Intelligent AuthX, we can start to collect and s…

Forget Passwordless, What About Usernameless?

A year or so ago, I blogged about the wonderful world of passwordless and how WebAuthn was going to save the world!  Gone will be insecure passwords, with their terrible user experience, and contributions to data breaches and in with a standards driven, crypto based, technology agnostic way of authenticating a user. The panacea!  Well, the panacea might just be getting be getting a little better.

Take a look at the above blog for a quick "reccy" on how WebAuthn works and the main flows.  TLDR; we're using public/private key pairs for each website or service we want to authenticate against.  The private key gets stored somewhere safe - namely within the dedicated USB authenticator fob, or within the secure element on an operating system.

In ForgeRock Access Management 7.0 EA, the WebAuthn registration authentication node has been modified to now include a "Username to device" switch.  This essentially allows a user handle to be sent back down to the authenticato…