How to Implement OpenID on AWS

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Content level: Intermediate
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This guide explains implementing OpenID on AWS

Authentication protocols are a set of rules and procedures that are used to establish and verify the identity of a user or a system in a network. The main goal of authentication protocols is to ensure that only authorized users or systems are able to access protected resources.

OpenID is an open standard and decentralized authentication protocol that allows users to authenticate with different web-based services using a single set of login credentials, rather than having to create new ones for each service. With OpenID, users can authenticate with an identity provider (IdP), such as Google or Facebook, and then use that authentication to access other service providers (SPs) that trust the IdP.

OpenID enables users to have more control over their personal data and eliminates the need for them to remember multiple usernames and passwords. It also enables service providers to authenticate their users without having to store sensitive information, such as passwords, on their own servers.

The OpenID authentication process typically works as follows:

  1. The user attempts to access a protected resource on the service provider's website.
  2. The service provider redirects the user to the OpenID provider for authentication.
  3. The user provides their login credentials to the OpenID provider.
  4. The OpenID provider verifies the credentials and sends an assertion to the service provider to confirm the user's identity.
  5. The service provider grants the user access to the protected resource.

OpenID Connect (OIDC) is the most widely used version of OpenID, it is an authentication protocol built on top of OAuth 2.0, and it allows for the exchange of authentication and user information between the identity provider and the service provider.

OpenID providers are identity providers (IdPs) that support the OpenID authentication protocol. They are responsible for verifying the identity of users and providing an assertion to service providers (SPs) to confirm that a user is who they claim to be. Here are some examples of popular OpenID providers:

  • Google: Google's OpenID provider allows users to authenticate with their Google account and use it to access other services that support OpenID.
  • Facebook: Facebook's OpenID provider allows users to authenticate with their Facebook account and use it to access other services that support OpenID.
  • Yahoo: Yahoo's OpenID provider allows users to authenticate with their Yahoo account and use it to access other services that support OpenID.
  • PayPal: PayPal's OpenID provider allows users to authenticate with their PayPal account and use it to access other services that support OpenID.
  • Steam: Steam's OpenID provider allows users to authenticate with their Steam account and use it to access other services that support OpenID.
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn's OpenID provider allows users to authenticate with their LinkedIn account and use it to access other services that support OpenID.
  • Amazon: Amazon's OpenID provider allows users to authenticate with their Amazon account and use it to access other services that support OpenID.
  • Microsoft: Microsoft's OpenID provider allows users to authenticate with their Microsoft account and use it to access other services that support OpenID.
  • These are just a few examples of popular OpenID providers, there are many more providers available, including smaller ones that may be specific to certain regions or industries.

To implement OpenID on AWS, you can use the AWS Cognito service. Cognito allows you to add authentication and authorization to your web and mobile apps quickly and easily. Here are the basic steps you can take to implement OpenID using Cognito:

  • Create a Cognito User Pool: This is where you will store your user's information, such as email and password.
  • Create an App Client: This is the client that will be able to interact with your user pool.
  • Configure App Client Settings: This step includes adding the callback and sign-out URLs, as well as any other settings you may need.
  • Integrate the Cognito SDK into your app: You will need to use the Cognito SDK to integrate the authentication and authorization process into your app.
  • Test the integration: Once you have completed the integration, you can test the authentication and authorization process to ensure that everything is working correctly.
  • Add the OpenId Connect (OIDC) identity provider in your user pool and configure it to your needs,
  • In your app, use the OIDC endpoint to authenticate your user with the provider and receive the id_token, access_token and refresh_token.
  • Use these tokens to access protected resources in your app and/or in your backend.

It is important to note that implementing OpenID requires knowledge of the OpenID Connect protocol and how it can be integrated into an application. If you are not familiar with this, you may want to consult with a developer or expert in the field. Here is an example of how to use the AWS SDK for JavaScript to authenticate a user using OpenID in a web application:

Import the AWS SDK and configure it to use your Cognito User Pool and App Client:

import { CognitoIdentityCredentials, CognitoUserPool, CognitoUser } from 'amazon-cognito-identity-js';

const poolData = {
    UserPoolId: 'YOUR_USER_POOL_ID',
    ClientId: 'YOUR_APP_CLIENT_ID'
};

const userPool = new CognitoUserPool(poolData);

Create a CognitoUser object and initiate the authentication process:

const user = new CognitoUser({
    Username: 'YOUR_USERNAME',
    Pool: userPool
});

const authData = {
    Username: 'YOUR_USERNAME',
    Password: 'YOUR_PASSWORD'
};

const authDetails = new AuthenticationDetails(authData);

user.authenticateUser(authDetails, {
    onSuccess: (result) => {
        // Retrieve the ID token from the result object
        const idToken = result.getIdToken().getJwtToken();
        // Use the ID token to access protected resources
    },
    onFailure: (err) => {
        // Handle authentication failure
    }
});
To refresh the token or get the user session:
user.getSession((err, session) => {
    if (err) {
        console.log(err);
        return;
    }
    console.log('session validity: ' + session.isValid());
    const idToken = session.getIdToken().getJwtToken();
    // Use the ID token to access protected resources
});

user.refreshSession(refreshToken, (err, session) => {
    if (err) {
        console.log(err);
        return;
    }
    console.log('session validity: ' + session.isValid());
    const idToken = session.getIdToken().getJwtToken();
    // Use the ID token to access protected resources
});
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published a year ago1345 views
2 Comments

Reference:

Configuring OpenID Connect providers in (Cognito identity pools) https://docs.aws.amazon.com/cognito/latest/developerguide/open-id.html

Creating OpenID Connect (OIDC) identity providers in (IAM) https://docs.aws.amazon.com/IAM/latest/UserGuide/id_roles_providers_create_oidc.html

AWS
replied 9 months ago

Why we have two configurations for OIDC in cognito and IAM? which one is better to use IAM or cognito

dv
replied 4 months ago