[Openid-specs-ab] Bootstrapping a web session with OpenID Connect and OAuth2?

Torsten Lodderstedt torsten at lodderstedt.net
Thu Jan 3 11:46:04 UTC 2013

Hi George,

we have similar use cases.

- I doubt the standard OpenId connect messages would be appropriate 
here. The app, which started the process, is not supposed to receive the 
login response. And the portal the user wants to access in the newly 
spawned user agent typically initiates it own login request. This 
renders at least the following parameters (if not the whole scheme) 
useless for this use case:
* response_type
* scope
* redirect_uri
* nonce

- I'm also unsure whether id tokens would add any benefit over "plain 
old" access tokens.

- In my opinion, it makes sense to more or less stick to your original 
design. I would use an access token with a special scope to secure the 
process. The client could sent this access token to a bootstrap endpoint 
exposed by the OP (or its web/sso part to be more precisely). So in this 
case, the web/sso part of the OP is the resource server consuming this 
access token.
- In order to support this use cases, I would issue a (long-living) 
refresh token to the native app, which can in turn be used to acquire 
access tokens for SSO session boostrapping (or any other access token as 
- It might be advisable to make access tokens for this use case one time 
use in order to reduce the risk if such an (login) access token is leaked.
- I would assume that the URL the user agent shall be redirected to is 
the landing page of one of the other RPs linked to the particular OP. So 
the request could refer to one of them.

best regards,

Am 02.01.2013 20:59, schrieb George Fletcher:
> I'm trying to define the best way to accomplish the following scenario 
> using the latest OpenID Connect / OAuth2 specs.
>     Basically, one of our currently supported APIs is something we
>     call 'client2web' which allows a client with a long lived token
>     (think OAuth2 token with offline_access) to construct a signed URL
>     (signing mechanism based on OAuth1) to load into a browser. The
>     'client2web' API endpoint processes the requests by first
>     validating the signature, and then validating the passed
>     "access_token" to determine the user. If everything validates
>     correctly, the AS/OP constructs a new web session for the user and
>     redirects the browser to the requested destination (one of the
>     signed URL parameters) setting authentication session cookies in
>     the process.
>     A few other features of this process. The access_token is an
>     encrypted blob, and the signing secret is unique to each
>     authorization where the user authenticates with their password
>     (i.e. the signing secret is a function of the password). Also, the
>     RP to which the browser is redirected can determine the identity
>     of the user in the browser by making an AJAX API call back to the
>     AS (note that this has negative security ramifications).
>     The two main use cases for the above scenario are desktop based
>     application and/or mobile apps (all more or less fall into the
>     native apps category).
> So, in OpenID Connect, an id_token can be passed as a hint to the OP, 
> but that's about all I could find that the OP allows as it relates to 
> the "client" providing an assertion for the user. Assuming the native 
> app starts with OpenID Connect, then it could save the id_token and 
> present it later... though I don't believe that works well for really 
> long lived tokens.
> I was thinking that it might make sense to allow an id_token to be 
> constructed from an access_token via an endpoint at the OP (token 
> endpoint, grant=refresh_token&...) and then pass the id_token in the 
> normal OpenID Connect flow. Sort of an STS flow... exchange 
> access_token for id_token. The privilege of doing so would require an 
> explicit scope so that the user could consent to this behavior by the 
> native app.
> Problems with this approach are...
> * in the normal OpenID Connect flow that contains an id_token as a 
> hint, the id_token is compared against browser cookies to determine if 
> the user and session are the same. In this case there wouldn't be any 
> browser cookies to compare against.
> * using the callback_url as the redirect URL causes registration 
> problems (native app has to register the web app as one of it's 
> callback urls)
> * using the callback_url as the redirect URL forces all RPs to have a 
> special endpoint that can handle OpenID Connect semantics. In our 
> case, I really want the OP to just set browser cookies and let the RP 
> figure out who the user is (e.g. implicit flow with prompt=none).
> Does anyone else have this use case and/or interested is defining a 
> standard way to do it? I have a few ideas:)
> Thanks,
> George
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