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EOSIO authentication transport protocol specification for consistent request-response lifecycle
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README.md

EOSIO Authentication Transport Protocol Specification

EOSIO Labs

Specification Version: 0.0.1

Challenge

Mobile EOSIO wallets and app explorers restrict integrating app developers to a mobile web application form factor, and force users to access integrating apps within a blockchain-only browser. Most users expect native applications, or to access mobile web applications from their general purpose browser.

Overview

This specification provides a framework that wallet developers can use to respond to requests from external applications, with consistent handling logic in a request-response lifecycle. It aims to eliminate the need for niche, blockchain-only browsers and to more generally improve the user's overall experience and security.

Related Reading

This is just one of several thought leadership pieces focusing on wallets, key management and authentication, and the relating user experience. For more context and related reading, check out these these pieces:

About EOSIO Labs

EOSIO Labs repositories are experimental. Developers in the community are encouraged to use EOSIO Labs repositories as the basis for code and concepts to incorporate into their applications. Community members are also welcome to contribute and further develop these repositories. Since these repositories are not supported by Block.one, we may not provide responses to issue reports, pull requests, updates to functionality, or other requests from the community, and we encourage the community to take responsibility for these.

Transports

Request Transports

URL Query String Payload

An integrating application uses either an Apple Universal Link or a Deep Link to invoke an authenticator application, including the transaction payload in the query string as a hex-encoded value, and the recipient public key if the payload is encrypted.

  • Deep Link: {customProtocol}://request?payload={hexPayload}&key={publicKey}
  • Universal Link: https://{siteUrl}/auth?payload={hexPayload}&key={publicKey}

Universal Links are encouraged, as they are unique to authenticator applications and cannot be assumed by other apps installed on a user’s device.

Similar transports are available on other platforms (e.g., Android).

Server Fetch via Another Transport (QR, etc.)

The requesting application provides a requestUrl in the payload. Authenticator applications will then fetch the request from the requestUrl. The requestUrl must be at the same domain or subdomain as the referrerUrl, if present.

This is particularly useful for outgoing transports like QR in which an entire transaction cannot be included in the initial request.

Server Request via Push Notification

The integrating application submits the transaction request to a push notification server and the transaction request is delivered to the user via push notification. Details of this request transport are not yet defined.

Response Transports

URL Hash Fragment Identifier

Authenticator applications will return a response to the request’s returnUrl with the payload appended as a hex-encoded URL hash fragment identifier. If the payload is encrypted the public key is provided at the end preceded by -.

  • URL or Universal Link: https://{siteUrl}/some-resource/resource-id#{hexPayload}-{publicKey}
  • Deep Link: {customProtocol}://transaction-response#{hexPayload}-{publicKey}

Webhook Callback URL

Authenticator applications will POST the transaction response to the request’s callbackUrl appending /transaction/{requestId}. E.g., https://{siteUrl}/transaction/{requestId}.

Transport Encryption

Payloads should be encrypted/decrypted with an agreed-up algorithm.

Request Envelope

The top level properties of each request payload make up the "request envelope". Envelopes may contain several keys:

version (required)

The protocol version in semantic versioning format. This will help facilitate backwards-compatible protocol updates in the future.

id (required)

The unique ID of the request as a UUIDv4. Most transports are not idempotent. This key ensures that the requesting application is able to connect a response to an initial request.

declaredDomain (required)

Integrating applications (both web and native) must self-report a declaredDomain. Authenticator applications should not blindly trust this URL.

returnUrl (required)

The URL to which an authenticator application will return the user after the request has been processed and the user has taken any necessary action. For certain response transports (e.g., urlHashFragmentIdentifier), the response payload will be appended to this returnUrl.

callbackUrl

The URL an authenticator application will post the response to. Only required for some transports (e.g., webhook).

responseKey (optional for now)

An elliptic curve 65 byte public key. If provided, the response will be encrypted with this key using the agreed-upon algorithm.

securityExclusions (optional)

Integrating application developers working on integrating with a conforming authenticator application may request relaxed security settings for the sake of troubleshooting integration with an authenticator. Best practice dictates that authenticator applicationss should only respect these requests if 1) the user has explicitly enabled an authenticator's insecure mode and 2) the user has added the requesting domain to its securityExclusion whitelist. If both prerequisites are in place, an authenticator application may relax or ignore certain validation checks for the stated overrides.

  • addAssertToTransactions: If true, an authenticator may skip adding assert actions to the transaction
  • appMetadataIntegrity: If true, an authenticator may skip chain manifest and app metadata integrity checks
  • domainMatch: If true, an authenticator may not enforce the same-origin policy
  • whitelistedActions: If true, an authenticator may allow signing of non-manifest-whitelisted actions
  • iconIntegrity: If true, an authenticator may skip app-, action-, and/or chain-icon-integrity checks
  • relaxedContractParsing: If true, an authenticator may allow for parsing of non-compliant Ricardian contracts

The securityExclusion key is only required if exclusions are being requested, and all keys will default to false if not explicitly listed.

request (required)

The request payload consisting of one or more request types.

Security and the Same-Origin Policy

At request time, authenticator applications will perform several checks:

  1. assert that referrerUrl (if present in OS-supplied headers), returnUrl and callbackUrl are all paths of the declaredDomain
  2. fetch chain-manifests.json from the root of the declaredDomain
  3. assert that the values for domain declared therein all match one another and the declaredDomain
  4. assert that the appmeta hashes from all chain manifests match one another
  5. fetch app-metadata.json from the appmeta url in the manifest and assert that the file's hash matches the hash declared in the manifests
  6. assert that any OS-supplied app identifier (e.g., bundle ID or package name) is whitelisted in the appIdentifiers field in app-metadata.json (for native applications only)

If all those checks pass, the request will be processed and the integrating application's information will be presented to the user. If any of those checks fails, an authenticator application will consider any returnUrl as invalid. No response will be sent to the integrating application and the authenticator application will display an error to the user.

Responses will never be sent back to domains other than the requesting domain, unless the response transport is domainless (e.g., deep link).

Request Types

Transport Authorization Request

NOTE: Transport Authorization Request is still being defined. It should stay simple at first. Something like:

  • The request will include a preferred response transport.
  • Action permissions will be tied only to the integrating app, not tranports.
  • If the integrating app / action combination has been previously approved by the user, an authenticator application signs and send the response.

END NOTE

This request type carries out two functions:

  1. It negotiates and establishes communication with an authenticator application over one or more transports.
  2. It requests user authorization for the transaction actions that may be requested through each transport. The idea here is that integrating applications or users may restrict which actions are authorized over less secure transports.

Request:

  • MUST: include a prioritized list of app-supported response transports
  • MUST: include a list of requested action permissions for each response transport, which must, in turn be a subset of the whitelisted actions in the manifest
  • MAY: be sent in the same payload as one or more "Selective Disclosure" or "Authentication" requests

Authenticator:

  • MUST: prompt user for approval if this is the first time encountering this Transport Authorization Request for the given manifest
  • MAY: respond automatically if the user has previously approved an identical Transport Authorization Request for the given manifest

Response:

  • MUST: include a prioritized list of vault-supported request transports
  • MUST: include a prioritized list of vault-supported response transports
  • MAY: be sent through one of the app-supported response transports (SHOULD favor the highest priority app-supported transport that is also vault-supported)

Authentication Request

Allows an integrating application to request proof of a user’s possession of one or more private keys corresponding to any public keys they have disclosed. This enables passwordless authentication flows so that integrating applcations can display private data to the authenticated user.

Selective Disclosure Request

Allows an app to request private user data (e.g., availableKeys, authorizers).

Request:

  • MUST: include one or more requested attributes (e.g., availableKeys)

Authenticator:

  • MUST: prompt user to approve any disclosures they have not previously approved for an identical Selective Disclosure Request
  • MAY: respond automatically if the user has previously approved an identical Selective Disclosure Request (for the same manifest scope)

Transaction Request

Allows an integrating application to request a user signature for a transaction.

Authenticator:

  • MUST: reject the transaction request automatically if the transaction contains any actions not whitelisted in the integrating application's manifest for the given chain
  • MUST: reject the transaction request automatically if the transaction contains any actions that have not been allowed by a previous Transport Authorization Request for the given response transport
  • MUST: prompt the user for permission to sign if the transaction contains any actions that have been allowed by a previous Action Permission Request, without autosign privileges
  • MAY: approve the Transaction Request automatically if the transaction contains only actions that have been allowed by a previous Action Permission Request, with autosign privileges

Examples

Example Request

The following example demonstrates various request formats all in one envelope. In practice, it doesn't make sense to combine all these request types in one request envelope.

{
  "version": "0.0.1",
  "id": "{UUIDv4_ID}",
  "declaredDomain": "https://{siteUrl}",
  "returnUrl": "https://{siteUrl}/some-resource/resource-id?requestId={UUIDv4_ID}",
  "callbackUrl": "",
  "responseKey": "{RESPONSE_KEY}",
  "securityExclusions": {
    "addAssertToTransactions": false,
    "appMetadataIntegrity": false,
    "domainMatch": false,
    "whitelistedActions": false,
    "iconIntegrity": false,
    "relaxedContractParsing": false
  },
  "request": {
    "transportAuthorization": {
      "response": [
        {
          "type": "urlHashFragmentIdentifier",
          "actions": [
            {
              "contract": "eosio.token",
              "action": "transfer"
            },
            {
              "contract": "example.contract",
              "action": 0 // all actions
            }
          ]
          // other types may require more data, which would go here
        }
      ]
    },
    "selectiveDisclosure": {
      "disclosures": [
        {
          "type": "availableKeys"
          // other types may require more data, which would go here
        }
      ]
    },
    "transactionSignature": {
      "chainId": "{CHAIN_ID}",
      "publicKeys": [
        "{PUBLIC_KEY_1}",
        "{PUBLIC_KEY_2}"
      ],
      "abis": [
        {
          "accountName": "eosio.token",
          "abi": "{ABI_STRING}"
        }
      ],
      "transaction": {
        "signatures": ["{SIGNATURE}"],
        "compression": 0,
        "packedContextFreeData": "",
        "packedTrx": "{TRANSACTION_HEX}"
      }
    }
  }
}

Request Protocol

Request Envelope

{
  version: string, // protocol semver for facilitating backwards-compatible protocol updates
  id: string, // uuidv4
  declaredDomain: string, // URL self-declared by requesting application; not trustworthy but helpful
  returnUrl: string, // URL an authenticator application should return user to after user action; must match referrerUrl domain or domain associated with the auth token
  callbackUrl: string, // for webhook response transports, must match
  responseKey: string, // public key for encrypting response
  securityExclusions: {
    addAssertToTransactions: boolean,
    appMetadataIntegrity: boolean,
    domainMatch: boolean,
    whitelistedActions: boolean,
    iconIntegrity: boolean,
    relaxedContractParsing: boolean
  },
  request: {
    transportAuthorization: {
      response: [{
        type: RequestTransports, // prioritized list of request transports supported by requesting application
      }]
    },
    selectiveDisclosure: {
      disclosures: [
        {
          type: SelectiveDisclosures
          // other types may require more data, which would go here
        }
      ]
    },
    authentication: undefined,
    transactionSignature: TransactionSignatureRequest,
  },
}

enum RequestTransports

  • urlQueryString
  • serverFetch
  • pushNotification

enum SelectiveDisclosures

  • availableKeys
  • more forthcoming (name, email, etc.)

TransactionSignatureRequest

{
  chainId: string,
  publicKeys: string[],
  abis: HexAbi[],
  transaction: Transaction,
}

HexAbi

{
  accountName: string,
  abi: string, // hexadecimal
}

Transaction

{
  signatures: string[],
  compression: 0,
  packedContextFreeData: "",
  packedTrx: ""
}

Response Protocol

{
  id: string, // uuidv4
  deviceKey: string // device public key for encrypting future requests to this device
  response: {
    transportAuthorization: {
      request: RequestTransports[], // prioritized list of request transports supported by an authenticator application
      response: ResponseTransports[], // prioritized list of response transports supported by an authenticator application
      token: string, // JWT or similar token for authenticating future requests
      deviceId: string, // SE private key used only for device identification purposes
      error: ErrorResponse? // In case of error, this will be returned
    },
    selectiveDisclosure: {
      [type]: undefined,
      error: ErrorResponse? // In case of error, this alone will be returned
    },
    authentication: undefined,
    transactionSignature: {
      signedTransaction: Transaction,
      error: ErrorResponse? // In case of error, this alone will be returned
  }
}

Transaction

{
  signatures: string[],
  compression: 0,
  packedContextFreeData: "",
  packedTrx: ""
}

ErrorResponse

{
  errorCode: ErrorCodes, // one of a fixed list of error codes
  reason: string, // the reason for the error
  contextualInfo: string, // any additional contextual information useful for debugging
}

enum ErrorCodes

Not all error codes will be supported by all authenticators.

  • biometricsDisabled
  • keychainError
  • manifestError
  • metadataError
  • networkError
  • parsingError
  • resourceIntegrityError
  • resourceRetrievalError
  • signingError
  • transactionError
  • vaultError
  • whitelistingError
  • unexpectedError

enum ResponseTransports

  • urlHashFragmentIdentifier
  • webhook

Contributing

Contributing Guide

Code of Conduct

License

MIT

Important

See LICENSE for copyright and license terms. Block.one makes its contribution on a voluntary basis as a member of the EOSIO community and is not responsible for ensuring the overall performance of the software or any related applications. We make no representation, warranty, guarantee or undertaking in respect of the software or any related documentation, whether expressed or implied, including but not limited to the warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and noninfringement. In no event shall we be liable for any claim, damages or other liability, whether in an action of contract, tort or otherwise, arising from, out of or in connection with the software or documentation or the use or other dealings in the software or documentation. Any test results or performance figures are indicative and will not reflect performance under all conditions. Any reference to any third party or third-party product, service or other resource is not an endorsement or recommendation by Block.one. We are not responsible, and disclaim any and all responsibility and liability, for your use of or reliance on any of these resources. Third-party resources may be updated, changed or terminated at any time, so the information here may be out of date or inaccurate. Any person using or offering this software in connection with providing software, goods or services to third parties shall advise such third parties of these license terms, disclaimers and exclusions of liability. Block.one, EOSIO, EOSIO Labs, EOS, the heptahedron and associated logos are trademarks of Block.one.

Wallets and related components are complex software that require the highest levels of security. If incorrectly built or used, they may compromise users’ private keys and digital assets. Wallet applications and related components should undergo thorough security evaluations before being used. Only experienced developers should work with this software.

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