ASP.NET Web API (OWIN) Authorization

Sample Project

Download a sample project specific to this tutorial configured with your Auth0 API Keys.

System Requirements
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 Update 3
  • Microsoft.Owin.Security.Jwt NuGet Package V3.0.1
  • System.IdentityModel.Tokens.Jwt NuGet Package v4.0.2
  • Auth0.OpenIdConnectSigningKeyResolver NuGet Package v1.0.0
Show requirements

At some point, your APIs may need to allow limited access to users, servers, or servers on behalf of users. This tutorial demonstrates how to use the OAuth 2.0 authorization features of Auth0 to give your applications (or third-party applications) limited access to your APIs on behalf of users. For more information, check out our documentation.

This Quickstart will guide you through the various tasks related to using Auth0-issued Access Tokens to secure your ASP.NET (OWIN) Web API.

Seed and Samples

If you would like to follow along with this Quickstart you can download the seed project. The seed project is just a basic ASP.NET Web API with a simple controller and some of the NuGet packages which will be needed included. It has also defined some of the required Auth0-related settings in the appSettings key of the Web.config.

The final project after each of the steps is also available in the Sample repository. You can find the final result for each step in the relevant folder inside the repository.

Create a Resource Server (API)

In the APIs section of the Auth0 Dashboard, click the Create API button. Provide a Name and Identifier for your API. The identifier you set will later be used as the audience when configuring access_token verification. Be sure to choose the RS256 signing algorithm.

Create API

Also update the web.config file in your project with the correct Domain and API Identifier for your API, e.g.

<appSettings>
  <add key="Auth0Domain" value="YOUR_AUTH0_DOMAIN" />
  <add key="Auth0ApiIdentifier" value="{YOUR_API_IDENTIFIER}" />
</appSettings>

Add API Authorization

To restrict access to the resources served by your API, a check needs to be made to determine whether the incoming request contains valid authorization information. There are various methods for including authorization information in a request, but for integration with Auth0, your API needs to check for a valid JSON Web Token (JWT). When users log into your application, they will receive an id_token and an access_token which are both JWTs. The specific JWT that needs to be sent to your API is the access_token.

This sample demonstrates how to check for a JWT in the Authorization header of an incoming HTTP request and verify that it is valid using the standard ASP.NET (OWIN) JWT middleware.

Install Dependencies

To use Auth0 Access Tokens with ASP.NET Core you will use the OWIN JWT Middleware which is available in the Microsoft.Owin.Security.Jwt NuGet package. Also install the Auth0.OpenIdConnectSigningKeyResolver NuGet package which will assist you in verifying the token signature.

Install-Package Microsoft.Owin.Security.Jwt
Install-Package Auth0.OpenIdConnectSigningKeyResolver

Configuration

By default, your API will be set up to use RS256 as the algorithm for signing tokens. Since RS256 works by using a private/public keypair, tokens can be verified against the public key for your Auth0 account. This public key is accessible at https://YOUR_AUTH0_DOMAIN/.well-known/jwks.json.

It is highly recommended that you use the default signing algorithm of RS256 for your API. If you do require HS256 as the algorithm, see the HS256 integration sample.

The Auth0.OpenIdConnectSigningKeyResolver package which you installed will automatically download the JSON Web Key Set which was used to sign the RS256 tokens by interrogating the OpenID Connect Configuration endpoint (at /.well-known/openid-configuration). You can then use it subsequently to resolve the Issuer Signing Key, as will be demonstrated in the JWT registration code below.

Go to the Configuration method of your Startup class and add a call to UseJwtBearerAuthentication passing in the configured JwtBearerAuthenticationOptions.

The JwtBearerAuthenticationOptions needs to specify your Auth0 API Identifier in the ValidAudience property, and the full path to your Auth0 domain as the ValidIssuer. You will need to configure the IssuerSigningKeyResolver to use the instance of OpenIdConnectSigningKeyResolver to resolve the signing key:

// Startup.cs

public void Configuration(IAppBuilder app)
{
    var domain = $"https://{ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["Auth0Domain"]}/";
    var apiIdentifier = ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["Auth0ApiIdentifier"];

    var keyResolver = new OpenIdConnectSigningKeyResolver(domain);
    app.UseJwtBearerAuthentication(
        new JwtBearerAuthenticationOptions
        {
            AuthenticationMode = AuthenticationMode.Active,
            TokenValidationParameters = new TokenValidationParameters()
            {
                ValidAudience = apiIdentifier,
                ValidIssuer = domain,
                IssuerSigningKeyResolver = (token, securityToken, identifier, parameters) => keyResolver.GetSigningKey(identifier)
            }
        });

    // Configure Web API
    WebApiConfig.Configure(app);
}

Do not forget the trailing backslash

Please ensure that the URL specified for ValidIssuer contains a trailing backslash as this needs to match exactly with the issuer claim of the JWT. This is a common misconfiguration error which will cause your API calls to not be authenticated correctly.

The JWT middleware integrates with the standard ASP.NET Authentication and Authorization mechanisms, so you only need to decorate your controller action with the [Authorize] attribute to secure an endpoint:

// Controllers/PingController.cs

[RoutePrefix("api")]
public class PingController : ApiController
{
    [Authorize]
    [HttpGet]
    [Route("ping/secure")]
    public IHttpActionResult PingSecured()
    {
        return Ok(new
        {
            Message = "All good. You only get this message if you are authenticated."
        }
        );
    }
}

Configuring Scopes

The JWT middleware above verifies that the access_token included in the request is valid; however, it doesn't yet include any mechanism for checking that the token has the sufficient scope to access the requested resources.

Scopes provide a way for you to define which resources should be accessible by the user holding a given access_token. For example, you might choose to permit read access to a messages resource if a user has a manager access level, or a create access to that resource if they are an administrator.

To configure scopes in your Auth0 dashboard, navigate to your API and select the Scopes tab. In this area you can define any scopes you wish. For this sample you can define ones called read:messages and create:messages.

To ensure that a correct scope is present in order to execute a particular API endpoint, you can create a custom Authorization Attribute.

Create a class called ScopeAuthorizeAttribute which inherits from System.Web.Http.AuthorizeAttribute. This Authorization Attribute will check that the scope claim issued by your Auth0 tenant is present, and if so it will ensure that the scope claim contains the requested scope.

// Controllers/ScopeAuthorizeAttribute.cs

public class ScopeAuthorizeAttribute : AuthorizeAttribute
{
    private readonly string scope;

    public ScopeAuthorizeAttribute(string scope)
    {
        this.scope = scope;
    }
    public override void OnAuthorization(HttpActionContext actionContext)
    {
        base.OnAuthorization(actionContext);

        ClaimsPrincipal principal = actionContext.ControllerContext.RequestContext.Principal as ClaimsPrincipal;
        if (principal != null)
        {
            // If user does not have the scope claim, get out of here
            if (principal.HasClaim(c => c.Type == "scope"))
            {

                // Split the scopes string into an array
                var scopes = principal.Claims.FirstOrDefault(c => c.Type == "scope").Value.Split(' ');

                // Succeed if the scope array contains the required scope
                if (scopes.Any(s => s == scope))
                    return;
            }
        }

        HandleUnauthorizedRequest(actionContext);
    }
}

To ensure that a scope is present in order to call a particular API endpoint, you simply need to decorate the action with the ScopeAuthorize attribute, and pass the name of the required scope in the scope parameter:

// Controllers/TimesheetsController.cs

[RoutePrefix("api/messages")]
public class MessagesController : ApiController
{
    [ScopeAuthorize("read:messages")]
    [Route("")]
    [HttpGet]
    public IHttpActionResult GetAll()
    {
        // Return the list of messages
    }

    [ScopeAuthorize("create:messages")]
    [Route("")]
    [HttpPost]
    public IHttpActionResult Create(Message message)
    {
        // Create a new message
    }
}

Further Reading

Next Tutorial
2. Using your API
Use Auth0 for FREECreate free Account