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Showing posts from 2018

Notifications During Authentication Life Cycle

A quick blog discussing some of the simpler ways of handling authentication session life cycle notification in ForgeRock Access Management.

Firstly, a few definitions.  Authentication - working out who someone or something claims to be.  Generally handled via a login flow.  Authentication life cycle?  Well, that login process needs a start and an end - and also, at the end of the login process, there is typically a session life cycle process too. So what are notifications.  Pretty simply, messages sent to 3rd party systems that rely on either the authentication or session service to perform local actions.  Eg an application using a session token to allow access.
So why is this interesting?  An example couple of use cases include notifying a 3rd party when a user on a particular device has logged in - perhaps a honey pot system - or notifying a relying party that a session has ended, in order to terminate any local sessions within an application.

Webhooks Let's start at the end fir…

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…

OAuth2 Key Rotation in AM 6.5

With OAuth2 being the defacto authorization model many of our customers use, we made a few improvements to how AM handles the use of secrets in v6.5 that is released later this year.  The nightly build features some neat improvements in the secrets management API.

The API has been overhauled, to make it simpler to use, simpler to integrate and more secure.  As you'd expect. A neat focus was on simplifying the use case of key rotation.  Rotation is an essential part of deployment models - either as a reaction to a breach (and implementing the 3 R's paradigm) or a simple best practice.  Here I'll show a simple demo for rotating an RSA key used to sign OAuth2 stateless access tokens.

Firstly few intro bits regarding the new Secrets Management setup.  We now have a new global configure option, for Secret Stores.


Here we see two out of the box key stores configured.  The basic Java keytore.jceks and a default-passwords-keystore used for bootstrapping access.



The default-keystor…

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…

Enhancing User Privacy with OpenID Connect Pairwise Identifiers

This is a quick post to describe how to set up Pairwise subject hashing, when issuing OpenID Connect id_tokens that require the users sub= claim to be pseudonymous.  The main use case for this approach, is to prevent clients or resource servers, from being able to track user activity and correlate the same subject's activity across different applications.

OpenID Connect basically provides two subject identifier types: public or pairwise.  With public, the sub= claim is simply the user id or equivalent for the user.  This creates a flow something like the below:


This is just a typical authorization_code flow - end result is the id_token payload.  The sub= claim is simply clear and readable.  This allows the possibility of correlating all of sub=jdoe activity.

So, what if you want a bit more privacy within your ecosystem?  Well here comes the Pairwise Subject Identifier type.  This allows each client to be basically issued with a non-reversible hash of the sub= claim, preventing cor…

Enhancing OAuth2 introspection with a Policy Decision Point

OAuth2 protection of resource server content, is typically either done via a call to the authorization service (AS) and the ../introspect endpoint for stateful access_tokens, or, in deployments where stateless access_tokens are deployed, the resource server (RS) could perform "local" introspection, if they have access to the necessary AS signing material.  All good.  The RS would valid scope values, token expiration time and so on.

Contrast that to the typical externalised authorization model, with a policy enforcement point (PEP) and policy decision point (PDP).  Something being protected, sends in a request to a central PDP.  That request is likely to contain the object descriptor, a token representing the subject and some contextual data.  The PDP will have a load of pre-built signatures or policies that would be looked up and processed.  The net-net is the PDP sends back a deny/allow style decision which the PEP (either in the form of an SDK or a policy agent) complies w…