Re: [OAUTH-WG] embedded UA detection

Joseph Heenan <joseph@authlete.com> Thu, 24 October 2019 10:01 UTC

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From: Joseph Heenan <joseph@authlete.com>
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Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2019 11:00:59 +0100
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To: Giada Sciarretta <giada.sciarretta@fbk.eu>
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Subject: Re: [OAUTH-WG] embedded UA detection
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Hi Giada,

All methods can be bypassed by an attacker that has control of the app in question, it’s just a matter of effort. I believe many AS’s use client side javascript to provide a harder to bypass implementation.

Your aim here is probably mainly to prevent naive developers “accidentally” (or with good but misplaced intentions) using an embedded user agent.

In general the real state of the art would be for the party that owns the AS to have an associated first-party native mobile app, as that improves the user experience and greatly reduces the associated risks. I wrote about the pattern for doing this here:

https://josephheenan.blogspot.com/2019/08/implementing-app-to-app-authorisation.html

That said all the choices and risks here are very complex and interact with each other - from the information given I definitely can’t say whether app2app is a good approach in your use case.

Cheers

Joseph


> On 11 Oct 2019, at 15:44, Giada Sciarretta <giada.sciarretta@fbk.eu>; wrote:
> 
> Hello,
>  
> We are working on a project that involves mobile native applications.
>  
> The OAuth for native apps (RFC8252) spec "requires that native apps MUST NOT use embedded user-agents  to perform authorization requests and allows that authorization endpoints MAY take steps to detect and block authorization requests  in embedded user-agents".
>  
> We would like to integrate in our AS the state-of-the-art techniques for detecting and blocking authorization requests in embedded user-agents. We are aware of the following techniques (link <https://stackoverflow.com/questions/31848320/detect-android-webview>):
> doing a string checking on the User agent string value. In the chromium based-WebView
> in the older versions it adds the “Version/X.X” string into the UA field. For example: Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.2.1; en-us; Nexus One Build/FRG83) AppleWebKit/533.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/533.1
> in the newer version it will add, “;wv”. For example: Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 5.1.1; Nexus 5 Build/LMY48B; wv) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Chrome/43.0.2357.65 Mobile Safari/537.36
> checking the presence of X-Requested-With HTTP header, the value of this header will be the application's name that is running the webview.
>  
> but we know that these detection methods can be bypassed by an attacker. Do you have any suggestions in this regard?
>  
> Thank you in advance for your response.
>  
> Kind regards,
> Giada Sciarretta
>  
> 
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