OAuth 2.0 and OpenID Connect are two of the most widely used protocols to support secure and frictionless access delegation and single sign-on login solutions, which have been extensively integrated within web and mobile native applications. While securing the OAuth and OpenID Connect implementations within the web applications is widely investigated, this is not true for mobile native applications due to their peculiarities compared to web applications. Given that, we investigate the availability of necessary information to mobile native application developers. Our investigation reveals that mobile native application developers need to access many sparse documents and understand technical security writing, when they are not necessarily security experts that leads to insecure integration of OAuth and OpenID Connect solutions due to various implementation flaws. Thus, to assist mobile native application developers in the understanding of OAuth and OpenID Connect documentations, we demystify the OAuth and OpenID Connect core documentations and two of the most security-critical profiles for governmental and financial domains, namely “International Government Assurance” and “Financial Grade API” to extract the wealth information and summarize them in plain English. To secure the integration of OAuth and OpenID Connect solutions, the OAuth working group and the OpenID foundation have produced many security-related documents to provide general guidelines and best current practices. These documents explain the features that OAuth and OpenID Connect providers must support and how web and mobile native application developers should implement these solutions for the different use case scenarios. In addition, due to the peculiarities of mobile native applications, the OAuth working group has published the “OAuth 2.0 for Na- tive Apps” documentation dedicated to assist mobile native application developers. Recently, the OAuth working group released AppAuth SDK to support mobile native application developers in the secure implementation of access delegation and single sign-on login solutions within mobile native applications. It enables mobile native applications to authorize and authenticate users by communicating with OAuth and OpenID Connect providers, beside embedding the security and usability best current practices described in [DB17]. We thus perform a comprehensive analysis to investigate the compliance with the best current practices of the main OAuth and OpenID Connect providers and top-ranked Google Play Store applications. Our analysis shows that 7 out of 14 providers, and 5 out of 87 top-ranked Google Play Store applications are fully compliant with the best current practices and none of the Google Play Store applications use AppAuth SDK. We conjecture that the root-causes of the non-compliant solutions are different for OAuth and OpenID Connect providers and Google Play Store applications. Concerning providers, they might be aware of these best current practices violations and their non-compliant solutions can be due to legacy reasons. Concerning Google Play Store applications, their non-compliant solutions can be due to the following: (i) the best current practices documents for OAuth and OpenID Connect are sparse, and mobile native application developers may be either unaware of them or misinterpret them as they are not (necessarily) security expert, (ii) lack of the best current practices adoption by OAuth and OpenID Connect providers that leads to the difficulty in integration of AppAuth SDK within mobile native applications. In addition, even in the case of compliant OAuth and OpenID Connect providers, the mobile native application developers still need to properly configure the AppAuth SDK and write the secure code to invoke the SDK properly within their mobile native applications, which is not a daunting task, and (iii) the pressure on mobile native application developers to provide new functionalities for the mobile native applications may result in prioritizing the functionality over the security—as performing a risk as- assessment procedure is a complex task in the context of OAuth and OpenID Connect solutions—they could not have the resources to perform a risk assessment procedure. The above-mentioned problems motivate us to propose methodologies to assist mobile native application developers with the secure implementation of OAuth and OpenID Connect solutions within their mobile native applications. To this aim, we provide a reference model for OAuth and OpenID Connect solutions by utilizing the extracted information from various documents that can be used within a risk as- assessment approach to enable mobile native application developers with an informed decision w.r.t. their implementation choices. In addition, we design a wizard-based approach and implement it within an Android Studio plugin called mIDAssistant that assists mobile native application developers with automatic integration of the core functionalities and ensures the enforcement of the best current practices by leveraging AppAuth SDK. The effectiveness of our approach has been verified in several real-world scenarios (e.g., pull printing), research and innovation projects (e.g., the EIT Digital activity API Assistant), and in the context of industrial collaborations (Poste Italiane, IPZS). Furthermore, we had the opportunity to present our work to the OAuth working group experts (during the OAuth Security Workshop), and they have shown interest in our approach.

Analysis of Best Current Practices to Assist Native App Developers with Secure OAuth/OIDC Implementations

SHARIF, AMIR
2021-07-27

Abstract

OAuth 2.0 and OpenID Connect are two of the most widely used protocols to support secure and frictionless access delegation and single sign-on login solutions, which have been extensively integrated within web and mobile native applications. While securing the OAuth and OpenID Connect implementations within the web applications is widely investigated, this is not true for mobile native applications due to their peculiarities compared to web applications. Given that, we investigate the availability of necessary information to mobile native application developers. Our investigation reveals that mobile native application developers need to access many sparse documents and understand technical security writing, when they are not necessarily security experts that leads to insecure integration of OAuth and OpenID Connect solutions due to various implementation flaws. Thus, to assist mobile native application developers in the understanding of OAuth and OpenID Connect documentations, we demystify the OAuth and OpenID Connect core documentations and two of the most security-critical profiles for governmental and financial domains, namely “International Government Assurance” and “Financial Grade API” to extract the wealth information and summarize them in plain English. To secure the integration of OAuth and OpenID Connect solutions, the OAuth working group and the OpenID foundation have produced many security-related documents to provide general guidelines and best current practices. These documents explain the features that OAuth and OpenID Connect providers must support and how web and mobile native application developers should implement these solutions for the different use case scenarios. In addition, due to the peculiarities of mobile native applications, the OAuth working group has published the “OAuth 2.0 for Na- tive Apps” documentation dedicated to assist mobile native application developers. Recently, the OAuth working group released AppAuth SDK to support mobile native application developers in the secure implementation of access delegation and single sign-on login solutions within mobile native applications. It enables mobile native applications to authorize and authenticate users by communicating with OAuth and OpenID Connect providers, beside embedding the security and usability best current practices described in [DB17]. We thus perform a comprehensive analysis to investigate the compliance with the best current practices of the main OAuth and OpenID Connect providers and top-ranked Google Play Store applications. Our analysis shows that 7 out of 14 providers, and 5 out of 87 top-ranked Google Play Store applications are fully compliant with the best current practices and none of the Google Play Store applications use AppAuth SDK. We conjecture that the root-causes of the non-compliant solutions are different for OAuth and OpenID Connect providers and Google Play Store applications. Concerning providers, they might be aware of these best current practices violations and their non-compliant solutions can be due to legacy reasons. Concerning Google Play Store applications, their non-compliant solutions can be due to the following: (i) the best current practices documents for OAuth and OpenID Connect are sparse, and mobile native application developers may be either unaware of them or misinterpret them as they are not (necessarily) security expert, (ii) lack of the best current practices adoption by OAuth and OpenID Connect providers that leads to the difficulty in integration of AppAuth SDK within mobile native applications. In addition, even in the case of compliant OAuth and OpenID Connect providers, the mobile native application developers still need to properly configure the AppAuth SDK and write the secure code to invoke the SDK properly within their mobile native applications, which is not a daunting task, and (iii) the pressure on mobile native application developers to provide new functionalities for the mobile native applications may result in prioritizing the functionality over the security—as performing a risk as- assessment procedure is a complex task in the context of OAuth and OpenID Connect solutions—they could not have the resources to perform a risk assessment procedure. The above-mentioned problems motivate us to propose methodologies to assist mobile native application developers with the secure implementation of OAuth and OpenID Connect solutions within their mobile native applications. To this aim, we provide a reference model for OAuth and OpenID Connect solutions by utilizing the extracted information from various documents that can be used within a risk as- assessment approach to enable mobile native application developers with an informed decision w.r.t. their implementation choices. In addition, we design a wizard-based approach and implement it within an Android Studio plugin called mIDAssistant that assists mobile native application developers with automatic integration of the core functionalities and ensures the enforcement of the best current practices by leveraging AppAuth SDK. The effectiveness of our approach has been verified in several real-world scenarios (e.g., pull printing), research and innovation projects (e.g., the EIT Digital activity API Assistant), and in the context of industrial collaborations (Poste Italiane, IPZS). Furthermore, we had the opportunity to present our work to the OAuth working group experts (during the OAuth Security Workshop), and they have shown interest in our approach.
OAuth 2.0, OpenID Connect, Android Security, Digital Identity
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
phdunige_4543475.pdf

embargo fino al 31/01/2022

Tipologia: Tesi di dottorato
Dimensione 4.31 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
4.31 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11567/1050122
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact