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Showing posts from January, 2016

Bearer v MAC

I've been struggling recently to get my head around OAuth2 access tokens - bearer and MAC tokens specifically... Bearer tokens are essentially just static tokens valid for some predefined period before they need to be refreshed. They can essentially be passed around willy-nilly and will be accepted by a resource server so long as they can be validated. If a 3rd party manages to hijack one then they can use it to perform whatever the token is authorised to do just by submitting it in the correct manner. Consequently these tokens need to be looked after carefully. Shuffled over encrypted channels and protected by the client. They're arguably even less secure than session cookies since there's no "HTTP Only" option on an access token so preventing malicious access to tokens from dodgy code on clients is something the developer needs to manage. And given the number of clients around and quality of code out there we can pretty much assume a good chunk will be piss poor