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

George Fletcher gffletch at aol.com
Thu Jan 3 19:00:27 UTC 2013

Hi Torsten,

Thanks for the response! I agree with your assessment.

A couple other tweaks I've been considering...
1. using short-lived tokens instead of one-time use (though I agree 
one-time-use tokens are better)
2. specify the re-direct URL as part of the refresh_token request
   -- I think it's legal to profile the token endpoint this way, RFC 
6749 says that the AS must ignore unrecognized parameters. If I define a 
profile that supports additional parameters then they aren't unexpected. 
Is that valid? :)
   -- basically the URL is meta-data for the client2web scope and must 
be supplied in order to get the token
   -- put the re-direct URL in the client2web token (either directly or 
via server session). This protects any replay attemptes from being able 
to change the redirect endpoint
3. all requests to the the OP endpoint are SSL (to protect the token as 
much as possible)


On 1/3/13 6:46 AM, Torsten Lodderstedt wrote:
> 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 well).
> - 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,
> Torsten.
> 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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>> Openid-specs-ab at lists.openid.net
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