Documentation > Administration > Authentication

Authentication

Authentication is about identifying WAMP clients to Crossbar.io. A WAMP session connected to a realm is authenticated under an authid and authrole.

The authrole is then used for the static authorization of actions (publish, subscribe, call, register) for the client. (Dynamic authorization may base the authorization on more factors.)

Crossbar.io provides a range of authentication methods.

  1. WAMP-Anonymous
  2. WAMP-Ticket
  3. WAMP-CRA
  4. WAMP-Cryptosign
  5. WAMP-Cookie
  6. WAMP-TLS

These can be classed according to whether

  • they use transport or session level mechanisms
  • they are based on a shared secret or on public key cryptography

Session vs Transport Level

WAMP session level authentications use WAMP messages at the WAMP session opening handshake, and can be used over any transport.

WAMP transport level authentications use the underlying transport for the WAMP session, and the result of the authentication is then passed on to the WAMP session level (i.e. the resulting authid and authrole are passed there).

Shared Secret vs. Public Key

Shared secret authentication is based on the client and the router (or the authentication component) having access to a common secret.

Public Key based authentication relies on asymetric key pairs, i.e. the router (or authentication componenet) only has knowledge of the client's public key (and vice versa). This has the advantage that a compromised store of keys does not enable impersonation of the other participant(s).

Static, Dynamic and Database Authentication

It is possible to configure an authentication methods

  • statically - the credentials stored in the Crossbar.io configuration, or
  • dynamically - an authorizer component is specified which is called and returns an authentication or denial (read more).

The latter allows full flexibility, e.g. integration with external authorization mechanisms, storing larger sets of authentication data in a database of your choice.

We are planning the implementation of a storage mechanism for credentials within Crossbar.io. This will be a secure, transactional database which can be managed via the node management API and which spans all authentication methods.

Authentication Per Transport

Authentication methods are set for a WAMP transport endpoint, and it is possible to define multiple methods per endpoint.

As an example, the following extract from a configuration file allows anonymous authentication (and assigns this a role public) as well as authentication via WAMP-CRA (and defines two roles here depending on the authid used during authentication):

"auth": {
   "wampcra": {
      "type": "static",
      "users": {
         "joe": {
            "secret": "secret2",
            "role": "admin"
         },
         "peter": {
            "secret": "secret3",
            "role": "dataentry"
         }
      }
   },
   "anonymous": {
      "type": "static",
      "role": "public"
   }
}