Skip to main content

Transactional Device Checking

I've blogged several times over the past couple of years on zero trust and CARTA (thinking OAuth2 and Contextual Binding, Implementing Zero Trust in AM 6.0, Set Session Limits Using Context) and the topic came up again this week with a customer.  A did a simple demo based on the transactional authorization strategy within the AM PDP along with a simple user-agent comparator Intelligent Access tree, so I thought I'd blog it out.

Capture Context During Login

There are lots of authentication nodes we ship in AM and in the ForgeRock marketplace that capture and analyse context.  For simplicity I just capture the user-agent - and for the demo just pop the value into the session properties object.  In a real world, you'd probably use something more granular and probably hash the value too for privacy preservation.

The login process occurs are normal, but the resulting session object then contains extra context, which we can re-use in a minute.

Sessions are only really useful, if you use them - typically to access resource or perform a transaction.  The AM PDP has an environmental condition called transactional - which needs fulfilling on every request - a bit like a stateless event.  In this case, I'll create a simple REST resource object that a single page app will request access to.

The AM authorization policy is trivial and simply requires the user to have a valid session and then pass a transactional condition - and this condition will perform a simple contextual compare.

The transactional condition is based on a tree from Intelligent Access, which is basically just a few lines of script to perform a compare of the session properties user agent and the current user agent.  

Processing the event is simply a set of REST calls to the PDP - firstly one to perform an policy evaluate, which responds back with a TX (transaction) Id. 

The TXid is then sent to the Intelligent Access tree via a composite advice payload to go through the DeviceCheck tree.  Once that is complete (as it's script driven, no interactive callbacks need completing), a final call is made back to the PDP with the associated transaction ID to get the go ahead with a set of actions that are allowed.  In this case a basic GET:true.

If a difference occurs (which is simple to demo with a user-agent chooser plugin) the event is stopped - but more likely especially in a CARTA world, an advice payload could explain why and perhaps allow a restricted or reduced set of actions to take place.


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 chan

Set Session Limits Using Context

Session limits typically cover 4 main items: total number of sessions a user can have at any one time, the max length of each session, the max idle time and max caching time. In an out of the box deployment in ForgeRock AM, these settings are configured via the session service.  However there are few tweaks than can be made to allow these settings to be run via a per user or per tree flow.  For example. think of the following scenario - user is logging via a device, location or network that has a higher risk rating.   Perhaps you would like to reduce session length on a BYOD device running an out of support version of Android to have a length of only 15 minutes.  If they switched back to their main trusted device, we can spin that back to 1hr. Another example, could be the spotting of a higher suspicion of bot activity for a particular user.  Maybe we need to set the entire quota limit to 1, to stop a bot spawning multiple sessions with the same credentials. This is all pretty trivial

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 an