Oauth is a web authorisation protocol that allows "single sign on". It's key to note oauth is authorisation, not authentication, as the protocol in it's default forms do not provide identity or authentication information, only information that an entity is authorised for the requested resources.

Oauth can tie into extensions allowing an identity provider to reveal information about authorised sessions. This extends oauth from an authorisation only system to a system capable of identity and authorisation. Two primary methods of this exist today: rfc7662 token introspection, and openid connect.

How Does Oauth2 Work?

A user wishes to access a service (resource, resource server). The resource server does not have an active session for the client, so it redirects to the authorisation server (Kanidm) to determine if the client should be allowed to proceed, and has the appropriate permissions (scopes) for the requested resources.

The authorisation server checks the current session of the user and may present a login flow if required. Given the identity of the user known to the authorisation sever, and the requested scopes, the authorisation server makes a decision if it allows the authorisation to proceed. The user is then prompted to consent to the authorisation from the authorisation server to the resource server as some identity information may be revealed by granting this consent.

If successful and consent given, the user is redirected back to the resource server with an authorisation code. The resource server then contacts the authorisation server directly with this code and exchanges it for a valid token that may be provided to the users browser.

The resource server may then optionally contact the token introspection endpoint of the authorisation server about the provided oauth token, which yields extra metadata about the identity that holds the token from the authorisation. This metadata may include identity information, but also may include extended metadata, sometimes refered to as "claims". Claims are information bound to a token based on properties of the session that may allow the resource server to make extended authorisation decisions without the need to contact the authorisation server to arbitrate.

It's important to note that oauth2 at it's core is an authorisation system which has layered identity providing elements on top.

Resource Server

This is the server that a user wants to access. Common examples could be nextcloud, a wiki or something else. This is the system that "needs protecting" and wants to delegate authorisation decisions to Kanidm.

It's important for you to know how your resource server supports oauth2. For example, does it support rfc7662 token introspection or does it rely on openid connect for identity information? Does the resource server support PKCE S256?

In general Kanidm requires that your resource server supports:

  • HTTP basic authentication to the authorisation server
  • PKCE S256 code verification to prevent certain token attack classes
  • OIDC only - JWT ES256 for token signatures

Kanidm will expose it's oauth2 apis at the following urls:

  • user auth url: https://idm.example.com/ui/oauth2
  • api auth url: https://idm.example.com/oauth2/authorise
  • token url: https://idm.example.com/oauth2/token
  • token inspect url: https://idm.example.com/oauth2/inspect

OpenID Connect discovery - you need to substitute your oauth2 client id in the following urls:

  • openid connect issuer uri: https://idm.example.com/oauth2/openid/:client_id:/
  • openid connect discovery: https://idm.example.com/oauth2/openid/:client_id:/.well-known/openid-configuration

For manual OpenID configuration:

  • openid connect userinfo: https://idm.example.com/oauth2/openid/:client_id:/userinfo
  • token signing public key: https://idm.example.com/oauth2/openid/:client_id:/public_key.jwk

Scope Relationships

For an authorisation to proceed, the resource server will request a list of scopes, which are unique to that resource server. For example, when a user wishes to login to the admin panel of the resource server, it may request the "admin" scope from kanidm for authorisation. But when a user wants to login, it may only request "access" as a scope from kanidm.

As each resource server may have it's own scopes and understanding of these, Kanidm isolates scopes to each resource server connected to Kanidm. Kanidm has two methods of granting scopes to accounts (users).

The first are implicit scopes. These are scopes granted to all accounts that Kanidm holds.

The second is scope mappings. These provide a set of scopes if a user is a member of a specific group within Kanidm. This allows you to create a relationship between the scopes of a resource server, and the groups/roles in Kanidm which can be specific to that resource server.

For an authorisation to proceed, all scopes requested must be available in the final scope set that is granted to the account. This final scope set can be built from implicit and mapped scopes.

This use of scopes is the primary means to control who can access what resources. For example, if you have a resource server that will always request a scope of "read", then you can limit the "read" scope to a single group of users by a scope map so that only they may access that resource.


Create the Kanidm Configuration

After you have understood your resource server requirements you first need to configure Kanidm. By default members of "system_admins" or "idm_hp_oauth2_manage_priv" are able to create or manage oauth2 resource server integrations.

You can create a new resource server with:

kanidm system oauth2 create <name> <displayname> <origin>
kanidm system oauth2 create nextcloud "Nextcloud Production" https://nextcloud.example.com

If you wish to create implicit scopes you can set these with:

kanidm system oauth2 set_implicit_scopes <name> [scopes]...
kanidm system oauth2 set_implicit_scopes nextcloud login read_user

You can create a scope map with:

kanidm system oauth2 create_scope_map <name> <kanidm_group_name> [scopes]...
kanidm system oauth2 create_scope_map nextcloud nextcloud_admins admin

WARNING If you are creating an openid connect (OIDC) resource server you MUST provide a scope map OR implicit scope named 'openid'. Without this, openid clients WILL NOT WORK

HINT openid connect provides a number of scopes that affect the content of the resulting authorisation token. Supported scopes and their associated claims are:

  • profile - (name, family_name, given_name, middle_name, nickname, preferred_username, profile, picture, website, gender, birthdate, zoneinfo, locale, and updated_at)
  • email - (email, email_verified)
  • address - (address)
  • phone - (phone_number, phone_number_verified)

Once created you can view the details of the resource server.

kanidm system oauth2 get nextcloud
class: oauth2_resource_server
class: oauth2_resource_server_basic
class: object
displayname: Nextcloud Production
oauth2_rs_basic_secret: <secret>
oauth2_rs_name: nextcloud
oauth2_rs_origin: https://nextcloud.example.com
oauth2_rs_token_key: hidden

Configure the Resource Server

On your resource server, you should configure the client id as the "oauth2_rs_name" from kanidm, and the password to be the value shown in "oauth2_rs_basic_secret". Ensure that the code challenge/verification method is set to S256.

You should now be able to test authorisation.

Resetting Resource Server Security Material

In the case of disclosure of the basic secret, or some other security event where you may wish to invalidate a resource servers active sessions/tokens, you can reset the secret material of the server with:

kanidm system oauth2 reset_secrets

Each resource server has unique signing keys and access secrets, so this is limited to each resource server.

Extended Options for Legacy Clients

Not all resource servers support modern standards like PKCE or ECDSA. In these situations it may be necessary to disable these on a per-resource server basis. Disabling these on one resource server will not affect others.

To disable PKCE for a resource server:

kanidm system oauth2 warning_insecure_client_disable_pkce <resource server name>

To enable legacy cryptograhy (RSA PKCS1-5 SHA256):

kanidm system oauth2 warning_enable_legacy_crypto <resource server name>

Example Integrations

Apache mod_auth_openidc

Add the following to a mod_auth_openidc.conf. It should be included in a mods_enabled folder or with an appropriate include.

OIDCRedirectURI /protected/redirect_uri
OIDCCryptoPassphrase <random password here>
OIDCProviderMetadataURL https://kanidm.example.com/oauth2/openid/<resource server name>/.well-known/openid-configuration
OIDCScope "openid" 
OIDCUserInfoTokenMethod authz_header
OIDCClientID <resource server name>
OIDCClientSecret <resource server password>
OIDCCookieSameSite On
# Set the `REMOTE_USER` field to the `preferred_username` instead of the UUID.
# Remember that the username can change, but this can help with systems like Nagios which use this as a display name.
# OIDCRemoteUserClaim preferred_username

Other scopes can be added as required to the OIDCScope line, eg: OIDCScope "openid scope2 scope3"

In the virtual host, to protect a location:

<Location />
    AuthType openid-connect
    Require valid-user


Install the module from the nextcloud market place - it can also be found in the Apps section of your deployment as "OpenID Connect user backend".

In nextcloud's config.php you need to allow connection to remote servers:

'allow_local_remote_servers' => true,

You may optionally choose to add:

'allow_user_to_change_display_name' => false,
'lost_password_link' => 'disabled',

If you forget this, you may see the following error in logs:

Host was not connected to because it violates local access rules

This module does not support PKCE or ES256. You will need to run:

kanidm system oauth2 warning_insecure_client_disable_pkce <resource server name>
kanidm system oauth2 warning_enable_legacy_crypto <resource server name>

In the settings menu, configure the discovery url and client id and secret.

You can choose to disable other login methods with:

php occ config:app:set --value=0 user_oidc allow_multiple_user_backends

You can login directly by appending ?direct=1 to your login page still. You can re-enable other backends by setting the value to 1