Migrating oidc-client-js to use the OpenID Connect Authorization Code Flow and PKCE

11 January 2019 Angular

Recently, there’s been a bit of a palaver around a draft specification proposed to the OAuth Working Group and its recommendation of abandoning the implicit flow in browser-based applications, e.g. Single Page Applications (SPAs), in favor of the authorization code flow with Proof-Key for Code Exchange (PKCE).

This article is going to look at how to update the Angular application found in my previous article “SPA Authentication using OpenID Connect, Angular CLI and oidc-client”, to start using the authorization code flow and PKCE.

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Software Tokens Won't Save You

09 January 2019 Authentication

Software tokens, such as those you use in software token apps such as Google Authenticator and Authy, have been getting a bit of flack recently thanks to the growing adoption of FIDO2 and WebAuthn. Software tokens (aka soft tokens) still have their benefits and are easily one of the most widely adopted second factors used alongside passwords; however, I think a lot of us are using them for the wrong reasons. Not only are soft tokens phishable, but in the event of a breach, soft tokens won’t save you.

In this article, I’m going to look how a typical TOTP software token implementation works, and then pick apart their advantages and disadvantages.

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Year in Review: 2018 Catch Up

01 January 2019 General

The past few years since joining Rock Solid Knowledge have been a bit of a blur. I’ve gone from living in a small flat in Cornwall with no central heating, sat all year in a small office of 3, to being married, living in a city, and becoming sick of flying.

I know I’ve accomplished a lot these past few years, but I still seem to feel like I’m not moving fast enough or that someone will eventually discover me for the fraud that I am.

So, to combat this feeling, and since my wife keeps telling me that I should share what I do more often, I’m going to publicly take stock of the past couple of years and think about what I want from 2019. In true social media fashion, I’m going to only discuss the positives, but obviously there were some lows; however, those are private.

Hopefully, this will be useful for me to review again in 2020.

What’s Happened since 2016

In the mad rush since 2016, I have...

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Creating Your Own IdentityServer4 Storage Library

11 December 2018 Identity Server

Over the years I’ve experienced many opinions about the default IdentityServer4 storage libraries; however, no matter your views on entity framework, clustered indexes, and varchar lengths, if you have concerns with the defaults then my advice is always the same: If you have database expertise in-house, use it and create your own storage layer.

Creating your own IdentityServer4 persistence store is very simple. There are only a handful of interfaces to implement, each with just a few read and write methods. They are not full repository layers, nor do they dictate database type or structure.

So, let’s take a look and see what’s involved with implementing our own IdentityServer4 storage library...

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Removing Shared Secrets for OAuth Client Authentication

02 October 2018 OAuth

Passwords suck. We all complain about them and constantly look for alternatives or add multiple factors to secure our user authentication. So why do many of us still use passwords to authenticate our OAuth clients? After all, a client ID and client secret is just a username and password with a different name.

One of the easiest ways to remove the use of shared secrets for client authentication is to replace them with public-key cryptography by using JWT Bearer Token for Client Authentication defined in RFC 7523 and again detailed in the core OpenID Connect specification as the private_key_jwt client authentication method.

This flow makes use of signed JSON Web Tokens (JWTs) to simplify public-key cryptography, allowing us to use well known and established libraries to simplify our implementation.

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