Project demonstrating how to share authentication cookies between ASP.NET 4.5 and ASP.NET Core applications.
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readme.md

Sharing Authentication Cookies between ASP.NET 4.5 and .NET Core

This document is meant as a work in progress from which to update the official documentation. If anything is unclear, or doesn't work, please open an issue.

A commonly expressed scenario is a desire to share logins between an existing ASP.NET 4.5 application and an ASP.NET Core application. This can be achieved by creating a cookie which can be read by both applications.

Instructions

Sharing authentication cookies between ASP.NET 4.5 and .NET Core takes a number of steps. The steps need vary based on whether you are using ASP.NET Identity or the ASP.Net Cookie middleware without Identity. Please follow the correct instructions for your configuration.

  1. Install the interop packages into your applications.

    1. ASP.NET 4.5

      Open the nuget package manager, or the nuget console and add a reference to Microsoft.Owin.Security.Interop.

    2. ASP.NET Core

      Open the nuget package manager, or the nuget console and add a reference to Microsoft.AspNetCore.DataProtection.Extensions.

  2. Make the CookieName and AuthenticationType/AuthenticationScheme in both applications identical.

    1. ASP.NET 4.5

      In your ASP.NET 4.5 application find the app.UseCookieAuthentication() call. This is normally in App_Start\Startup.Auth.cs.

      In the CookieAuthenticationOptions parameter passed to app.UseCookieAuthentication() set the CookieName property to a value that will be shared between all applications and also set the AuthenticationType to a value that will be shared between applications,

      app.UseCookieAuthentication(new CookieAuthenticationOptions
      {
          AuthenticationType = "Cookie",
          AuthenticationMode =
              Microsoft.Owin.Security.AuthenticationMode.Active,
          LoginPath = new PathString("/Account/Login"),
          CookieName = ".AspNet.SharedCookie"
      });
    2. ASP.NET Core with ASP.NET Identity

      In the ASP.NET Core application and find the services.AddIdentity<ApplicationUser, IdentityRole> call. This is normally in the ConfigureServices() method in startup.cs

      You must create a new parameter for cookie configuration, and pass it as the Cookies property on the IdentityOptions parameter in the call to servicesAddIdentity<ApplicationUser, IdentityRole>(). In applications created by the ASP.NET templates this parameter does not exist - you will need to add it.

      Change the call to services.AddIdentity<ApplicationUser, IdentityRole>() to add the IdentityOptions parameter and set the CookieName property to be the same value you set in the ASP.NET 4.5 application and set the AuthenticationScheme property to be the same value you used for AuthenticationType in the ASP.NET 4.5 application

      services.AddIdentity<ApplicationUser, IdentityRole>(options =>
      {
          options.Cookies = new Microsoft.AspNetCore.Identity.IdentityCookieOptions
          {
              ApplicationCookie = new CookieAuthenticationOptions
              {
                  AuthenticationScheme = "Cookie",
                  LoginPath = new PathString("/Account/Login/"),
                  AccessDeniedPath = new PathString("/Account/Forbidden/"),
                  AutomaticAuthenticate = true,
                  AutomaticChallenge = true,
                  CookieName = ".AspNet.SharedCookie"
              };
          })
          .AddEntityFrameworkStores<ApplicationDbContext>()
          .AddDefaultTokenProviders();
    3. ASP.NET Core using Cookie Middleware directly

      In the ASP.NET Core application and find the app.UseCookieAuthentication() call. This is normally in the Configure() method in startup.cs

      In the CookieAuthenticationOptions parameter passed to app.UseCookieAuthentication() set the CookieName property to be the same value you set in the ASP.NET 4.5 application and set the AuthenticationScheme property to be the same value you used for AuthenticationType in the ASP.NET 4.5 application

      app.UseCookieAuthentication(new CookieAuthenticationOptions
      {
          AuthenticationScheme = "Cookie",
          LoginPath = new PathString("/Account/Login/"),
          AccessDeniedPath = new PathString("/Account/Forbidden/"),
          AutomaticAuthenticate = true,
          AutomaticChallenge = true,
          CookieName = ".AspNet.SharedCookie",
      });

    Remember the CookieName property must have the same value in each application, and the AuthenticationType (ASP.NET 4.5) and AuthenticationScheme (ASP.NET Core) properties must have the same value in each application.

    1. (Optionally) Change the cookie domain and HTTPS settings.

      Browsers naturally share cookies between the same domain name. For example if both your sites run in subdirectories under https://contoso.com then cookies will automatically be shared.

      However if your sites run on subdomains a cookie issued to a subdomain will not automatically be sent by the browser to a different subdomain, for example, https://site1.contoso.com would not share cookies with https://site2.contoso.com.

      If your sites run on subdomains you can configure the issued cookies to be shared by setting the CookieDomain property in CookieAuthenticationOptions to be the parent domain.

      For example, if you have two sites, https://site1.contoso.com and https://site2.contoso.com setting the CookieDomain value to .contoso.com will enable the cookie to be sent to both sites, or indeed any site under contoso.com. Note that the domain name is prefixed with a period. This is part of the RFC 2965 and RFC 2965 (section 5.1.3) standards.

      It is not possible to share cookies between sites on different host names, https://site1.contoso.com cannot share cookies with https://site2.fabrikam.com.

      Additionally a cookie which has the Secure flag set will not flow to an HTTP site. The ASP.NET Cookie middlewares will automatically set the secure flag when it is creating during an HTTPS request. While it is possible to override this behavior using the CookieSecure property this is not recommended due to security concerns. If one site you want to share cookies with is on HTTPS then all sites that share the cookie should be on HTTPS.

  3. Select a common data protection repository location accessible by both applications.

    In these instructions we're going to use a shared directory (C:\keyring). If your applications aren't on the same server, or can't access the same NTFS share you can use other keyring repositories.

    .NET Core 1.0 includes key ring repositories for shared directories and the registry.

    .NET Core 1.1 will add support for Redis, Azure Blob Storage and Azure Key Vault.

    You can develop your own key ring repository by implementing the IXmlRepository interface.

  4. Configure your applications to use the same cookie format

    1. ASP.NET 4.5

      Return to the location where your app calls app.UseCookieAuthentication();

      Add using Microsoft.Owin.Security.Interop; to the using declarations at the top of the file.

      Now add the following code before the call to app.UseCookieAuthentication().

      var protectionProvider = DataProtectionProvider.Create(
              new DirectoryInfo(@"c:\keyring"));
      var dataProtector = protectionProvider.CreateProtector(
              "CookieAuthenticationMiddleware",
              "Cookie",
              "v2");
      var ticketFormat = new AspNetTicketDataFormat(new DataProtectorShim(dataProtector));

      Finally update your CookieAuthenticationOptions to add a TicketDataFormat parameter, using the ticketFormat variable created in the code above.

      app.UseCookieAuthentication(new CookieAuthenticationOptions
      {
          AuthenticationType = "Cookie",
          CookieName = ".AspNet.SharedCookie",
          TicketDataFormat = ticketFormat
      });
    2. ASP.NET Core Return to the location where your app calls services.AddIdentity<ApplicationUser, IdentityRole>() or app.UseCookieAuthentication().

      Add using Microsoft.AspNetCore.DataProtection; to the using declarations at the top of the file.

      Now add the following code before the call to services.AddIdentity<ApplicationUser, IdentityRole>() or app.UseCookieAuthentication().

      var protectionProvider = DataProtectionProvider.Create(
              new DirectoryInfo(@"c:\keyring"));
      var dataProtector = protectionProvider.CreateProtector(
              "CookieAuthenticationMiddleware",
              "Cookie",
              "v2");
      var ticketFormat = new TicketDataFormat(dataProtector);

      Finally update your CookieAuthenticationOptions to add a TicketDataFormat parameter, using the ticketFormat variable created in the code above.

      1. ASP.NET Core with ASP.NET Identity

        services.AddIdentity<ApplicationUser, IdentityRole>(options =>
        {
            options.Cookies = new Microsoft.AspNetCore.Identity.IdentityCookieOptions
            {
                ApplicationCookie = new CookieAuthenticationOptions
                {
                    AuthenticationScheme = "Cookie",
                    CookieName = ".AspNet.SharedCookie",
                    TicketDataFormat = ticketFormat
                }
            };
         })
         .AddEntityFrameworkStores<ApplicationDbContext>()
         .AddDefaultTokenProviders();
      2. ASP.NET Core using Cookie Middleware directly

        app.UseCookieAuthentication(new CookieAuthenticationOptions
        {
            AuthenticationScheme = "Cookie",
            CookieName = ".AspNet.SharedCookie",
            TicketDataFormat = ticketFormat
        });

Adding compatibility for applications using ASP.NET Identity

The interop shim does not enabling the sharing of identity databases between applications. ASP.NET 4.5 uses Identity 1.0 or 2.0, ASP.NET Core uses Identity 3.0. If you want to share databases you must update the ASP.NET Identity 2.0 applications to use the ASP.NET Identity 3.0 schemas. If you are upgrading from Identity 1.0 you should migrate to Identity 2.0 first, rather than try to go directly to 3.0.