Use Verified Email in User Profiles
email_verified field of a user profile indicates whether the user has verified their email address. Email verification is optional, but valid email addresses are required for certain actions, such as sending email communications, password reset/recovery links, and passwordless magic links to users.
An email is usually verified immediately after the user account is created or when the user logs in to the application for the first time. It's a good way to know that the person signing up actually owns the email at that moment.
Since email verification happens once at that specific moment, we can't ensure that a person who logs in with the user account at a later time still owns the email address that was verified.
In case of federated identity providers, they sometimes report if the user has a verified email, and based on that, Auth0 sets the
email_verified field in the user profile. This, however, transfers the responsibility to the identity provider to do it properly - something we can't ensure. We also don't know if the verified email from that provider is still owned by the user.
For all of these reasons, we need to be careful on what we can assume based on a verified email.
When does Auth0 set emails as verified?
When users signup with email and password, they get a verification email with a link. When they click the link, Auth0 verifies their email. To learn more, read Customize Email Templates.
When users authenticate with a federated identity provider (e.g. a social or enterprise connection), the value of the
email_verified field will match what the identity provider returns in the user profile. If they identity provider does not return any value, it will be set to
Verified Emails and Account Linking
When you want to link two user accounts, you need to make sure that the user still has access to both accounts. The only way to achieve that is to have users authenticate with both accounts before linking them.
You should not automatically link accounts based on the user's emails. Always prompt users to authenticate again before doing that. This will prevent scenarios like:
John Doe, an employee of Travel0, signs up to a site using his corporate email
firstname.lastname@example.org a password. Months later, John Doe leaves Travel0, and a new John Doe is hired, with the same email account. That person goes to the same website, and authenticates with his corporate identity provider (such as Google Workspace), and gets the account automatically linked to the other user.
Federated identity providers can make mistakes on how they handle email verification and can report that users own an email they do not.
On the other hand, we recommend you to still check for the
email_verified field before performing account linking, to mitigate scenarios like:
An attacker creates a Google account
Attacker creates a new database users with the victim's email (e.g.
Attacker links both accounts.
Attacker sends a phishing attack to victim.
The victim tries to sign-up, they are told the user already exists and get offered to reset the password.
The user enters their password and logs into the attacker's account, which now has access to whatever data the victim enters in the application.
Verified Emails and Authorization Decisions
In the same way that you can't fully trust the email, you can't fully trust the email domain either.
If your application needs to restrict access based on the user's employer, the fact that a user is logged in with an email from a specific corporate domain does not guarantee that it should be granted access.
If your application allows customers to sign up for new accounts, and employees from different companies authenticate using their corporate credentials, a user that signs up with a
email@example.com shouldn't be granted access to the same feature set that a user authenticating with acme.com's corporate directory.
If your application supports authenticating with Azure AD, and the directory supports guest users, you can get users from any domain logging-in from that Azure AD tenant. You should not give guest users the same access level as the rest of the users authenticating with that tenant.
As a general recommendation, you should not use the email's domain to make authorization decisions. If you need to check if the user belongs to a specific organization, it's better to rely on the connection they used to authenticate, or in connection-specific attributes like the Azure AD's tenant id.