Why TLS?

You may have noticed that Kanidm requires you to configure TLS in your container.

We are a secure-by-design rather than secure-by-installation system, so TLS for all connections is considered mandatory.

What are Secure Cookies?

secure-cookies is a flag set in cookies that asks a client to transmit them back to the origin site if and only if HTTPS is present in the URL.

Certificate authority (CA) verification is not checked - you can use invalid, out of date certificates, or even certificates where the subjectAltName does not match, but the client must see https:// as the destination else it will not send the cookies.

How Does That Affect Kanidm?

Kanidm's authentication system is a stepped challenge response design, where you initially request an "intent" to authenticate. Once you establish this intent, the server sets up a session-id into a cookie, and informs the client of what authentication methods can proceed.

If you do NOT have a HTTPS URL, the cookie with the session-id is not transmitted. The server detects this as an invalid-state request in the authentication design, and immediately breaks the connection, because it appears insecure.

Simply put, we are trying to use settings like secure_cookies to add constraints to the server so that you must perform and adhere to best practices - such as having TLS present on your communication channels.