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Creating OpenID Connect Identity Management

Before understanding OpenID Connect, it is important to understand what is OAuth 2.0.

Understanding OAuth 2.0: A Brief Overview

OAuth 2.0 is an authorization framework that allows third-party applications to access the users' protected resources.

That gives the standard way for users to allow access to resources, though one does not have to share the access credentials with third-party applications.

The OAuth 2.0 framework supports granting access tokens to authorize a request to be performed for other grant types based on the specific use case being solved.

Some common scenarios of the use of OAuth 2.0 are logging into social media accounts, pulling or pushing data between different cloud storage services, and having a single sign-on to many applications.

Exploring OpenID Connect: How it Differs from OAuth 2.0

OpenID Connect is an authentication layer built on top of OAuth 2.0.

While OAuth 2.0 focuses on authorization, OpenID Connect adds an identity layer to enable user authentication.

It is the process in which applications can check the identity of users by exchanging the identity tokens, which contain user information, with an OpenID Connect Provider.

Most popular among them is OpenID Connect for single sign-on, where an already existing account from the respective identity provider like Google or Facebook will be used to sign in to different applications.

In the OAuth 2.0 framework, the main aim is to issue an access token, and the process of authenticating the user is limited only to the check of the current user.

Use Cases for OAuth 2.0

For example, if a third-party application wants access to the user's data or wants access to some resource that is owned by the user, the application would request actions based on the identity of that user.

Some common use cases for OAuth 2.0 include:

·       Social media integration: OAuth 2.0 provides an interface, allowing users to authorize posting updates, retrieval of information, or any other interaction from his respective social network by allowing an application access to his social media account.

·       Cloud storage integration: Using OAuth json 2.0, an application can get granted access to its files and other data stored otherwise in cloud storage services like Google Drive or Dropbox, in a way that does not involve sharing login credentials by the user.

·       API authorization: In OAuth 2.0, it is specified how the authorization for access to APIs should be done in a manner such that only authorized apps gain access to a particular set of resources.

·       Single sign-on (SSO): As an extensible one, the OAuth 2.0 protocol can be used as an underlying protocol to implement SSO, hence, allowing the user to log in with the same set of credentials to many applications.

Use Cases for OpenID Connect

OpenID Connect is commonly used in scenarios where user authentication and identity verification are required.

Some use cases for OpenID Connect include:

·       Single Sign-On (SSO): An OpenID Connect that allows a user to use the identity token received from the successful authentication by its Identity Provider, which permits its holder to have access to many applications without separate authentications to the respective applications.

·       User profile enrichment: OpenID Connect allows an application to have access to user information from an identity provider, such as JSON with fields for name, email, and picture profile, with the final aim of giving an enhanced experience to the end user.

·       Federated identity: This is the most perfect solution when one seeks a trust model between two or more organizations, enabling common identity accounts from one organization to sign in to applications from another.

·       User consent and authorization: OpenID Connect standardizes a way in which users can be at liberty to give permissions to applications, hence still being in control of the data they share.

Key Differences and When to Choose Each Protocol

The key differences between OpenID Connect and OAuth 2.0 can be summarized as follows:

OAuth 2.0 focuses on authorization, while OpenID Connect adds an identity layer for authentication.

OAuth 2.0 access tokens authorize requests, while OpenID Connect identity tokens verify the identity of the user.

Use "OAuth 2.0" if the sole aim is to provide access to resources without necessarily authenticating a user, and use "OpenID Connect" if the requirement is to give a chance for authentication and claiming or verification of identity.

Therefore, depending on the exact nature of your application, you can choose OAuth 2.0 if you only have a requirement to have authorization or OpenID Connect in case both authentication and authorization are required.

OAuth 2.0 would therefore be used in the above scenarios where the application is wanting to access protected resources on behalf of a user, and yet the user would not need to authenticate.

The OpenID Connect is more suitable for cases where your application is supposed to authenticate users or, yet still, use a case to introduce single sign-on and enrich user profiles.

Here's how OpenID Connect works:

1.       Whenever a user tries to log in to the client application, the application first redirects the user to an OpenID Connect provider (OP) for authentication.

2.       The OP authenticates the user by means of username/password, multi-factor authentication, or social login.

3.       Authorization: After a successful user authentication, it issues a redirect back to the client application along with an ID token. In this token, it bears claims about the user, such as the unique identifier (sub), name, email, and other optional claims.

4.       Token Validation: The client application SHOULD validate the ID token for authenticity and integrity. Normally, this validation includes verifying the digital signature in the token with the public key of the OP to be accurate and that it has not been tinkered with or forged.

5.       User Information Access: On successful validation, the content that is present in the ID token received from the server will be accessible to the client application in order to personalize the user experience, show the user relevant content, or take some actions on behalf of the user, etc.

OpenID Connect is an open standard protocol of user authentication for the safe exchange control of his identity applications and services between. OpenID Connect allows simple user login procedures over various applications while ensuring their personal information remains confidential and intact.




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