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· 3 min read
Jeffrey Aven

This article demonstrates a simple command line utility to login to an authorization server (Okta in this case) using a PKCE (Proof Key for Code Exchange) flow. This is the preferred flow for public clients (such as Single Page Applications).

The code for this article is available on GitHub

Example

Okta PKCE cli login example

Overview

This application can be used to illustrate the authorization/authentication flow discussed in Simple SSO with an external IdP using Active Directory and Okta. A flow which is pictured here:

PKCE Authorization t Okta using an AD IdP

Steps

The steps involved in the implementation of a PKCE login flow are as follows:

Generate a code_challenge

To implement a PKCE flow, you first need to generate a Code Verifier (which is a random value you create), the Code Verifier is then hashed using a SHA256 algorithm. The hash is then used as the Code Challenge. An example function to generate a code challenge is shown below:

For more information see Use PKCE to Make Your Apps More Secure.

Build the authorize url

The authorize url is used to initiate the authorization flow with the authorization server. An example function to construct the authorize url is shown below:

Get the authorization code via redirect uri

The redirecturi parameter supplied in the authorize url is used to retrieve the authorization code from the authorization server. In order to get this code using a front end flow, you need to define a handler that will get the authorization code, call the token endpoint, and close the HTTP server, as shown here:

Exchange the code for an access token

The access token is what you ultimatly want, as this is the token that will be used to access protected resources. An example function to exchange the authorization code for an access token is shown below:

(Optional) Get the user profile

The access token can be used to get the user profile, this is done by calling the userinfo endpoint using the token. An example function to get the user profile is shown below:

with inspiration from...

· 4 min read
Jeffrey Aven

This article describes a simple SSO pattern for authenticating and authorizing users from an external AD and to your application without requiring federation.

the Challenge

You need to authenticate external users to use your application, these users belong to an organization using Azure Active Directory with specific login policies (such as password strength and expiry, multi factor authentication, etc). Your requirements (if you choose to accept them) are:

  1. You are required to provide SSO to these users using their home AD tenant and policies
  2. The solution does not include SAML based federation between directories (yours and theirs)
  3. The solution does not require any changes on the external AD tenant (no new AAD applications, client secrets, etc)

the Solution

Using an IDAM/IDaaS platform (such as Okta in this case), along with an AAD application (in your AD tenant in your Azure subscription), you can create a local AD app using this magic property to accomplish all of the above requirements (requiring zero changes on the third-party AD).

Azure AD App Registration

This is what it looks like using the az cli:

the --available-to-other-tenants property is Microsoft's way of allowing you to implicitly trust other AAD/Office 365 tenants, meaning the authentication request is passed to the target AD tenant from your application.

Here is a context diagram which explains the interactions in the context of a Jamstack application (using a library such as Auth.js).

Okta AD SSO Context Diagram

Setup and Configuration

The following flowchart explains the steps involved in setting this up. The highlighted nodes are part of normal application lifecycle operations as users get created and deactivated.

Okta AD SSO Setup Flowchart

Authorisation flow

The authorization flow for a public client (SPA) using PKCE (Proof Key for Code Exchange) is shown here:

Okta AD SSO Authorization Flow

Next up

Code! Stay tuned...

· 2 min read
Jeffrey Aven

Okta Admin CLI

Identity and Access Management is a critical component of any application or SaaS architecture. I’m currently doing a spike of the Okta solution for an application development project I am on. Okta is a comprehensive solution built on the open OAuth2 and OIDC protocols, as well as supporting more conventional identity federation approaches such as SAML.

Okta has a clean and easy to use web-based Admin interface which can be used to create applications, users, claims, identity providers and more.

During my spike, which was done in a crash and burn test Okta organisation, I had associated my user account with a Microsoft Identity Provider for SSO, and subsequently had issues accessing the Microsoft Account my user was associated with, as a result I managed to lock myself (the super admin) out of the Okta Admin Console.

Fortunately, prior to doing this I had created an API token for my user. So, I went about looking at ways I could interact with Okta programmatically. My first inclination was to use a simple CLI for Okta to get me out of jail… but I found there wasn’t one that suited. There are, however, a wealth of SDKs for Okta across multiple front-end and back-end oriented programming languages (such as JavaScript, Golang, Python and more).

Being in lockdown and having some free time on my hands, I decided to create a simple open source command line tool which could be used to administer an Okta organisation. The result of this weekend lockdown is okta-admin

okta-admin cli

For this project I used the Golang SDK for Okta, along with the Cobra and Viper Golang packages (used by docker, kubectl and other popular command line utilities). To provide a query interface to JSON response payloads I use GJson.

Will keep adding to this so stay tuned...

Complete source code for this project is available at https://github.com/gammastudios/okta-admin