OAuth Working Group M. Jones
Internet-Draft Microsoft
Intended status: Standards Track P. Hunt
Expires: May 17, 2017 Oracle
A. Nadalin
November 13, 2016

Authentication Method Reference Values


The amr (Authentication Methods References) claim is defined and registered in the IANA "JSON Web Token Claims" registry but no standard Authentication Method Reference values are currently defined. This specification establishes a registry for Authentication Method Reference values and defines an initial set of Authentication Method Reference values.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction

The amr (Authentication Methods References) claim is defined and registered in the IANA "JSON Web Token Claims" registry [IANA.JWT.Claims] but no standard Authentication Method Reference values are currently defined. This specification establishes a registry for Authentication Method Reference values and defines an initial set of Authentication Method Reference values.

For context, the amr (Authentication Methods References) claim is defined by Section 2 of the OpenID Connect Core 1.0 specification [OpenID.Core] as follows:


OPTIONAL. Authentication Methods References. JSON array of strings that are identifiers for authentication methods used in the authentication. For instance, values might indicate that both password and OTP authentication methods were used. The definition of particular values to be used in the amr Claim is beyond the scope of this specification. Parties using this claim will need to agree upon the meanings of the values used, which may be context-specific. The amr value is an array of case sensitive strings.

The amr values defined by this specification is not intended to be an exhaustive set covering all use cases. Additional values can and will be added to the registry by other specifications. Rather, the values defined herein are an intentionally small set that are already actually being used in practice.

For context, while the claim values registered pertain to authentication, note that OAuth 2.0 [RFC6749] is designed for resource authorization and cannot be used for authentication without employing appropriate extensions, such as those defined by OpenID Connect Core 1.0 [OpenID.Core]. The existence of the amr claim and values for it should not be taken as encouragement to try to use OAuth 2.0 for authentication without employing extensions enabling secure authentication to be performed.

When used with OpenID Connect, if the identity provider supplies an amr claim in the ID Token resulting from a successful authentication, the relying party can inspect the values returned and thereby learn details about how the authentication was performed. For instance, the relying party might learn that only a password was used or it might learn that iris recognition was used in combination with a hardware-secured key. Whether amr values are provided and which values are understood by what parties are both beyond the scope of this specification. The OpenID Connect MODRNA Authentication Profile 1.0 [OpenID.MODRNA] is one example of an application context that uses amr values defined by this specification.

1.1. Requirements Notation and Conventions

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [RFC2119].

1.2. Terminology

This specification uses the terms defined by JSON Web Token (JWT) [JWT] and OpenID Connect Core 1.0 [OpenID.Core].

2. Authentication Method Reference Values

The following is a list of Authentication Method Reference values defined by this specification:


Facial recognition

Fingerprint biometric

Use of geolocation information

Proof-of-possession (PoP) of a hardware-secured key. See Appendix C of [RFC4211] for a discussion on PoP.

Iris scan biometric

Knowledge-based authentication [NIST.800-63-2] [ISO29115]

Multiple-channel authentication. The authentication involves communication over more than one distinct communication channel. For instance, a multiple-channel authentication might involve both entering information into a workstation's browser and providing information on a telephone call to a pre-registered number.

Multiple-factor authentication [NIST.800-63-2] [ISO29115]. When this is present, specific authentication methods used may also be included.

One-time password. One-time password specifications that this authentication method applies to include [RFC4226] and [RFC6238].

Personal Identification Number or pattern (not restricted to containing only numbers) that a user enters to unlock a key on the device. This mechanism should have a way to deter an attacker from obtaining the PIN by trying repeated guesses.

Password-based authentication

Risk-based authentication [JECM]

Retina scan biometric

Smart card

Confirmation using SMS message to the user at a registered number

Proof-of-possession (PoP) of a software-secured key. See Appendix C of [RFC4211] for a discussion on PoP.

Confirmation by telephone call to the user at a registered number

User presence test

Voice biometric

Windows integrated authentication, as described in [MSDN]

3. Relationship to "acr" (Authentication Context Class Reference)

The acr (Authentication Context Class Reference) claim and acr_values request parameter are related to the amr (Authentication Methods References) claim, but with important differences. An Authentication Context Class specifies a set of business rules that authentications are being requested to satisfy. These rules can often be satisfied by using a number of different specific authentication methods, either singly or in combination. Interactions using acr_values request that the specified Authentication Context Classes be used and that the result should contain an acr claim saying which Authentication Context Class was satisfied. The acr claim in the reply states that the business rules for the class were satisfied -- not how they were satisfied.

In contrast, interactions using the amr claim make statements about the particular authentication methods that were used. This tends to be more brittle than using acr, since the authentication methods that may be appropriate for a given authentication will vary over time, both because of the evolution of attacks on existing methods and the deployment of new authentication methods.

4. Privacy Considerations

The list of amr claim values returned in an ID Token reveals information about the way that the end-user authenticated to the identity provider. In some cases, this information may have privacy implications.

While this specification defines identifiers for particular kinds of credentials, it does not define how these credentials are stored or protected. For instance, ensuring the security and privacy of biometric credentials that are referenced by some of the defined Authentication Method Reference values is beyond the scope of this specification.

5. Security Considerations

The security considerations in OpenID Connect Core 1.0 [OpenID.Core] and OAuth 2.0 [RFC6749] and the OAuth 2.0 Threat Model [RFC6819] apply to applications using this specification.

As described in Section 3, taking a dependence upon particular authentication methods may result in brittle systems, since the authentication methods that may be appropriate for a given authentication will vary over time.

6. IANA Considerations

6.1. Authentication Method Reference Values Registry

This specification establishes the IANA "Authentication Method Reference Values" registry for amr claim array element values. The registry records the Authentication Method Reference value and a reference to the specification that defines it. This specification registers the Authentication Method Reference values defined in Section 2.

Values are registered on an Expert Review [RFC5226] basis after a three-week review period on the jwt-reg-review@ietf.org mailing list, on the advice of one or more Designated Experts. To increase potential interoperability, the experts are requested to encourage registrants to provide the location of a publicly-accessible specification defining the values being registered, so that their intended usage can be more easily understood.

Registration requests sent to the mailing list for review should use an appropriate subject (e.g., "Request to register Authentication Method Reference value: otp").

Within the review period, the Designated Experts will either approve or deny the registration request, communicating this decision to the review list and IANA. Denials should include an explanation and, if applicable, suggestions as to how to make the request successful. Registration requests that are undetermined for a period longer than 21 days can be brought to the IESG's attention (using the iesg@ietf.org mailing list) for resolution.

Criteria that should be applied by the Designated Experts includes determining whether the proposed registration duplicates existing functionality, whether it is likely to be of general applicability or whether it is useful only for a single application, whether the value is actually being used, and whether the registration description is clear.

IANA must only accept registry updates from the Designated Experts and should direct all requests for registration to the review mailing list.

It is suggested that the same Designated Experts evaluate these registration requests as those who evaluate registration requests for the IANA "JSON Web Token Claims" registry [IANA.JWT.Claims].

6.1.1. Registration Template

Authentication Method Reference Name:

The name requested (e.g., "otp"). Because a core goal of this specification is for the resulting representations to be compact, it is RECOMMENDED that the name be short -- that is, not to exceed 8 characters without a compelling reason to do so. This name is case sensitive. Names may not match other registered names in a case-insensitive manner unless the Designated Experts state that there is a compelling reason to allow an exception.
Authentication Method Reference Description:

Brief description of the Authentication Method Reference (e.g., "One-time password").
Change Controller:

For Standards Track RFCs, state "IESG". For others, give the name of the responsible party. Other details (e.g., postal address, email address, home page URI) may also be included.
Specification Document(s):

Reference to the document or documents that specify the parameter, preferably including URIs that can be used to retrieve copies of the documents. An indication of the relevant sections may also be included but is not required.

6.1.2. Initial Registry Contents

7. References

7.1. Normative References

[IANA.JWT.Claims] IANA, "JSON Web Token Claims"
[JWT] Jones, M., Bradley, J. and N. Sakimura, "JSON Web Token (JWT)", RFC 7519, May 2015.
[OpenID.Core] Sakimura, N., Bradley, J., Jones, M., de Medeiros, B. and C. Mortimore, "OpenID Connect Core 1.0", November 2014.
[RFC2119] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997.
[RFC5226] Narten, T. and H. Alvestrand, "Guidelines for Writing an IANA Considerations Section in RFCs", BCP 26, RFC 5226, DOI 10.17487/RFC5226, May 2008.
[RFC6749] Hardt, D., "The OAuth 2.0 Authorization Framework", RFC 6749, DOI 10.17487/RFC6749, October 2012.

7.2. Informative References

[ISO29115] International Organization for Standardization, "ISO/IEC 29115:2013 -- Information technology - Security techniques - Entity authentication assurance framework", ISO/IEC 29115:2013, April 2013.
[JECM] Williamson, G., "Enhanced Authentication In Online Banking", Journal of Economic Crime Management 4.2: 18-19, 2006.
[MSDN] Microsoft, "Integrated Windows Authentication with Negotiate", September 2011.
[NIST.800-63-2] National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), "Electronic Authentication Guideline", NIST Special Publication 800-63-2, August 2013.
[OpenID.MODRNA] Connotte, J. and J. Bradley, "OpenID Connect MODRNA Authentication Profile 1.0", September 2016.
[RFC4211] Schaad, J., "Internet X.509 Public Key Infrastructure Certificate Request Message Format (CRMF)", RFC 4211, DOI 10.17487/RFC4211, September 2005.
[RFC4226] M'Raihi, D., Bellare, M., Hoornaert, F., Naccache, D. and O. Ranen, "HOTP: An HMAC-Based One-Time Password Algorithm", RFC 4226, DOI 10.17487/RFC4226, December 2005.
[RFC6238] M'Raihi, D., Machani, S., Pei, M. and J. Rydell, "TOTP: Time-Based One-Time Password Algorithm", RFC 6238, DOI 10.17487/RFC6238, May 2011.
[RFC6819] Lodderstedt, T., McGloin, M. and P. Hunt, "OAuth 2.0 Threat Model and Security Considerations", RFC 6819, DOI 10.17487/RFC6819, January 2013.

Appendix A. Examples

  "amr": ["iris"]

In some cases, the amr claim value returned may contain a single Authentication Method Reference value. For example, the following amr claim value indicates that the authentication performed used an iris scan biometric:

  "amr": ["pwd", "kba"]

In other cases, the amr claim value returned may contain multiple Authentication Method Reference values. For example, the following amr claim value indicates that the authentication performed used a password and knowledge-based authentication:

Appendix B. Acknowledgements

Caleb Baker participated in specifying the original set of amr values. John Bradley, Brian Campbell, William Denniss, James Manger, Nat Sakimura, and Mike Schwartz provided reviews of the specification.

Appendix C. Document History

[[ to be removed by the RFC editor before publication as an RFC ]]






Authors' Addresses

Michael B. Jones Microsoft EMail: mbj@microsoft.com URI: http://self-issued.info/
Phil Hunt Oracle EMail: phil.hunt@yahoo.com
Anthony Nadalin Microsoft EMail: tonynad@microsoft.com