C# – Token Based Authentication in ASP.NET Core (refreshed)

asp.net-coreasp.net-web-apiauthenticationauthorizationc++

I'm working with ASP.NET Core application. I'm trying to implement Token Based Authentication but can not figure out how to use new Security System.

My scenario:
A client requests a token. My server should authorize the user and return access_token which will be used by the client in following requests.

Here are two great articles about implementing exactly what I need:

The problem is – it is not obvious for me how to do the same thing in ASP.NET Core.

My question is: how to configure ASP.NET Core Web Api application to work with token based authentication? What direction should I pursue? Have you written any articles about the newest version, or know where I could find ones?

Thank you!

Best Solution

Working from Matt Dekrey's fabulous answer, I've created a fully working example of token-based authentication, working against ASP.NET Core (1.0.1). You can find the full code in this repository on GitHub (alternative branches for 1.0.0-rc1, beta8, beta7), but in brief, the important steps are:

Generate a key for your application

In my example, I generate a random key each time the app starts, you'll need to generate one and store it somewhere and provide it to your application. See this file for how I'm generating a random key and how you might import it from a .json file. As suggested in the comments by @kspearrin, the Data Protection API seems like an ideal candidate for managing the keys "correctly", but I've not worked out if that's possible yet. Please submit a pull request if you work it out!

Startup.cs - ConfigureServices

Here, we need to load a private key for our tokens to be signed with, which we will also use to verify tokens as they are presented. We're storing the key in a class-level variable key which we'll re-use in the Configure method below. TokenAuthOptions is a simple class which holds the signing identity, audience and issuer that we'll need in the TokenController to create our keys.

// Replace this with some sort of loading from config / file.
RSAParameters keyParams = RSAKeyUtils.GetRandomKey();

// Create the key, and a set of token options to record signing credentials 
// using that key, along with the other parameters we will need in the 
// token controlller.
key = new RsaSecurityKey(keyParams);
tokenOptions = new TokenAuthOptions()
{
    Audience = TokenAudience,
    Issuer = TokenIssuer,
    SigningCredentials = new SigningCredentials(key, SecurityAlgorithms.Sha256Digest)
};

// Save the token options into an instance so they're accessible to the 
// controller.
services.AddSingleton<TokenAuthOptions>(tokenOptions);

// Enable the use of an [Authorize("Bearer")] attribute on methods and
// classes to protect.
services.AddAuthorization(auth =>
{
    auth.AddPolicy("Bearer", new AuthorizationPolicyBuilder()
        .AddAuthenticationSchemes(JwtBearerDefaults.AuthenticationScheme‚ÄĆ‚Äč)
        .RequireAuthenticatedUser().Build());
});

We've also set up an authorization policy to allow us to use [Authorize("Bearer")] on the endpoints and classes we wish to protect.

Startup.cs - Configure

Here, we need to configure the JwtBearerAuthentication:

app.UseJwtBearerAuthentication(new JwtBearerOptions {
    TokenValidationParameters = new TokenValidationParameters {
        IssuerSigningKey = key,
        ValidAudience = tokenOptions.Audience,
        ValidIssuer = tokenOptions.Issuer,

        // When receiving a token, check that it is still valid.
        ValidateLifetime = true,

        // This defines the maximum allowable clock skew - i.e.
        // provides a tolerance on the token expiry time 
        // when validating the lifetime. As we're creating the tokens 
        // locally and validating them on the same machines which 
        // should have synchronised time, this can be set to zero. 
        // Where external tokens are used, some leeway here could be 
        // useful.
        ClockSkew = TimeSpan.FromMinutes(0)
    }
});

TokenController

In the token controller, you need to have a method to generate signed keys using the key that was loaded in Startup.cs. We've registered a TokenAuthOptions instance in Startup, so we need to inject that in the constructor for TokenController:

[Route("api/[controller]")]
public class TokenController : Controller
{
    private readonly TokenAuthOptions tokenOptions;

    public TokenController(TokenAuthOptions tokenOptions)
    {
        this.tokenOptions = tokenOptions;
    }
...

Then you'll need to generate the token in your handler for the login endpoint, in my example I'm taking a username and password and validating those using an if statement, but the key thing you need to do is create or load a claims-based identity and generate the token for that:

public class AuthRequest
{
    public string username { get; set; }
    public string password { get; set; }
}

/// <summary>
/// Request a new token for a given username/password pair.
/// </summary>
/// <param name="req"></param>
/// <returns></returns>
[HttpPost]
public dynamic Post([FromBody] AuthRequest req)
{
    // Obviously, at this point you need to validate the username and password against whatever system you wish.
    if ((req.username == "TEST" && req.password == "TEST") || (req.username == "TEST2" && req.password == "TEST"))
    {
        DateTime? expires = DateTime.UtcNow.AddMinutes(2);
        var token = GetToken(req.username, expires);
        return new { authenticated = true, entityId = 1, token = token, tokenExpires = expires };
    }
    return new { authenticated = false };
}

private string GetToken(string user, DateTime? expires)
{
    var handler = new JwtSecurityTokenHandler();

    // Here, you should create or look up an identity for the user which is being authenticated.
    // For now, just creating a simple generic identity.
    ClaimsIdentity identity = new ClaimsIdentity(new GenericIdentity(user, "TokenAuth"), new[] { new Claim("EntityID", "1", ClaimValueTypes.Integer) });

    var securityToken = handler.CreateToken(new Microsoft.IdentityModel.Tokens.SecurityTokenDescriptor() {
        Issuer = tokenOptions.Issuer,
        Audience = tokenOptions.Audience,
        SigningCredentials = tokenOptions.SigningCredentials,
        Subject = identity,
        Expires = expires
    });
    return handler.WriteToken(securityToken);
}

And that should be it. Just add [Authorize("Bearer")] to any method or class you want to protect, and you should get an error if you attempt to access it without a token present. If you want to return a 401 instead of a 500 error, you'll need to register a custom exception handler as I have in my example here.