What is Auth0? Features, Benefits And Its Implementation

A number of web applications and mobile applications get launched every day. These applications need authentication platforms to perform the sign-in/ login activities, through which users can access the data. Authentication acts as a major line of defense that secures valuable data. The user is put through a process of authentication which determines whether the user should be permitted access to data or the system. 

Many developers try to build the authentication/ authorization module from scratch using different technologies. But most of them often face issues and end up spending a lot of effort on repeatable modules. To avoid such complications and make the process faster, authentication modules like Auth0 are introduced to the systems. 

You can check out our video on Introduction To Auth0 below

What is Auth0?

Auth0 is basically an authentication and authorization platform for your application. It provides all the tools necessary to build and run a secure identity infrastructure including authentication, data protection, and password management. 

Auth0 can be used to implement single sign-on (SSO), passwordless, multi-factor authentication, and more. It offers an API so developers can use Auth0 in their own apps to provide authentication for their users. There are various reasons to choose Auth0 as an authentication platform such as 

  • Token-based authentication 
  • Social network authentication 
  • Multi-factor authentication 
  • Integrate change password and forgot password flows.

Auth0 Features

Billions of users are signing up or logging into a web application to opt for your services. They are probably placing an order or performing the buying process. Building a secured authentication process is necessary for any such flow of activities. 

Auth0 can assist to prepare the best-secured application. It has many features that make it a great option for developers to use. Some of the features are: 

  • Universal login 
  • Single sign-on 
  • Multifactor authentication
  • Passwordless 

Universal login 

Auth0 provides traditional login activity boosting the user experience. It enables the user to have consistent authentication and alerts them about the attempt of phishing. The universal login design makes the user have only one form for the credentials. If there is anything suspicious, it gets rejected. 

Whenever the user logs in, he/she is redirected to the universal server which represents the login form of your business. All the login, as well as authentication process, happens at the same, ensuring security. 

Single sign-on 

Single sign-on enables the user to have access to all the applications they have through single login information. For example; you can use your Google account to sign in to a service application. However, building a single sign-on can be both time-consuming and expensive. 

But, implementing single sign-on through Auth0 can do wonders in less time. It supports over 40 identity providers. You can increase the conversion rates by linking the accounts across multiple platforms. Provides the freedom to write the code once and integrate different connections. 

Multifactor authentication: 

Multi-factor authentication is a type of verification that requires more than one type of identifying information. This increases the security of the application reducing the risk of unauthorized access. The type of information includes; 

  • Knowledge: something the user is aware of (password)
  • Possession: something the user already has (mobile device) 
  • Inheritance: something that differentiates the user (fingerprint or retina scan)

Auth0 enables you to customize your multi-factor authentication experience. 

Passwordless 

Every user is skeptical about their information security. This passwordless system enables the user to perform the authentication procedure without entering their password. The user is allowed to log in by entering the email address or phone number. The user probably receives a letter with a one-time link or code for logging in. 

Auth0 Benefits

Auth0 scales down various benefits to both the developers as well as the businesses. They can be listed as follows; 

  • Security 
  • Multiple UI options 
  • Auth0 analytics
  • Other benefits 

Security

The security in Auth0 is provided by the OAuth 2.0 authentication protocol. This determines the application grants access right to the resources on another service. Through the protocol, you can control the access right at will. It notifies the user if the password is used on any other site which has not been visited in the previous period. 

Multiple UI options

One of the benefits of Auth0 is that you can either build or custom any UI. While developing an application you can decide between native or browser-based login flows. Browser-based UI redirects the user to the login page of Auth0. While in native UI the user can perform the authentication in the application itself. Therefore, Auth0 provides flexibility in its service. 

Auth0 Analytics 

Apart from attractive features, Auth0 facilitates tools that help you track down the actions of the users. It contains metrics such as; 

  • Number of existing and new users on the application 
  • Number of users registered in an application 
  • Login activities in an application in the part-year 
  • Number of new users registered in the current day and last week 
  • Identity providers are used for the login into any application 

Auth0 displays the data in graphs and charts. This data can also be filtered according to the requirements. Therefore, accurate data about the activities can be tracked down easily. Eventually, this data can be used in decision-making processes.

Other benefits 

We have listed down some benefits of Auth0, but there are a few others such as; 

  • Many social networks are supported by Auth0
  • Documented and coded examples in programming languages 
  • Large libraries of technologies 
  • Quality API
  • Number of settings available  

Dashboard and applications setup Auth0 

Every aspect of Auth0 starts with creating a tenant for you. Creating a tenant unlocks the assets of Auth0 for your usage. They include applications, connections, and user profiles. These all assets are developed, stored, and managed through the tenants. You can gain access to the tenant on the dashboard, where an additional tenant can also be created easily. As it enables the creation of multiple tenants, you can create separate user domains and manage them accordingly.  

The steps to create a tenant are as follows; 

  • Click on the new tenant tab in the dashboard 
  • Enter the name of the domain of your choice. (remember: Once the tenant is named it cannot be changed or deleted) 
  • Select the region and environment tag 
  • Click on the create button 

Choosing the level of isolation is a very crucial step as it determines the number of tenants required in an environment. These numbers grow rapidly, therefore an efficient decision is essential before creating multiple tenants for production. 

After creating a domain, the next step comes down to registering each application. There are different types of applications that can be created on Auth0. It can be a native mobile app or a web application on a server or a single-page application on a browser. The applications are categorized into application type, credential security, and ownership. 

The applications are differentiated through a client ID which is an alphanumeric string. This string acts as a unique identifier for your application. Here are the steps to follow to create an application;

  • Select created tenant and create a new application 
  • Copy your domain and client secret we need this in react application 
  • Add your social connection from the authentication tab 
  • Create your google developer account 
  • Create a new application in the google developer console 
  •  Copy your google client secret and app Id and paste it into Auth0 
  • Set up your Auth0 domain in the google dev console application. 

Library and SDK of Auth0

Auth0 libraries act as an advantage for developers. The libraries help developers to integrate and interact with the assets of Auth0. The developers can easily explore libraries on GitHub, download various sample applications, or with the help of a quick start customize the service.

There are various Auth0 libraries and SDK in the market; 

  • Auth0-react
  • Auth0-spa-js
  • Auth0-js

Each one has its own features. The most feasible one for social authentication is Auth0-spa-js. 

Auth0 Implementation (server-side setup)

Through Auth0 you can support the linking of users’ accounts from multiple identity providers. The users can be linked to the regular web applications by asking for permissions. The user gets authenticated by the code using their email addresses. The application sends a link to the user’s account targeting credentials and then links to the account. 

Here’s how you can do it in a few steps; 

  • Log the user into the application

The user gets authenticated using universal logins. 

  • Enter the email address to search for the user. 

The user list and profile can be accessed through the same verified email address 

  • Prompt the user to link accounts to the application 
    • If there is more than one record matching the email address, the user will be able to see the list along with the message to link the account 
    • If the user wants to link the account, they can click the link next to the respective account. 
  • As soon as the user clicks the link, the application asks for authentication and then completes the linking process

Back-end set-up 

For the backend setup we will require a few things namely; Clientid/ client secret from the Auth0 account. The other important part is to add dependencies accordingly. There are a lot of dependencies available in the market today. You can use libraries to decode the token. 

The dependency used here is: Maven dependency 

JWT process bean 

It is a snippet that is used on the backend to establish a connection with the Auth0 server. Through this snippet few features like; making connections, connection read time out. A cache mechanism is added to the snippet which makes the process of validating the user token to the Auth0 server smoother.

Every token has to clear three checks i.e. algorithm check, signature check, and JWT claim check. Therefore, if any of the checklists is failed, you will be unauthorized to access the backend. The token will get rejected. 

Algorithm Check 

The JWS algorithm specifies whether the header matches the agreed/ expected header ( e.g RS256 for RSA PKCS #1 signature with SHA-256). The check prevents downgrade and other attacks which becomes possible if a token with any JOSE algorithm gets accepted. 

Signature check 

The digital signature check is performed by trying an appropriate public key from the server JWK set. 

JWT claims check

The JWT is validated, for example, to ensure the token is not expired and therefore matches the expected issues, audience, and other claims. 

JWT Token Validator 

This is the method where the token gets validated. It accepts every token and checks if the token is validated. There are two different methods included; 

  • Verifying the audience: It checks the audience that is configured on the application.

  • Verifying the issuer: This method will check whether the issuer is the same. If someone uses a different token from a different issuer. This method will check the validator. However, If the issuer doesn’t match, then the request will be rejected in the backend.

Pricing

Auth0 has three plans according to the features provided. Following are the types of plans available; 

Free

The free plan includes the facility of unlimited logins. It can have up to 7000 active users. This plan doesn’t require any credit cards to obtain the services. 

B2C (essential)

The essential plan comes for $23/mo. There can be up to 10,000 external monthly active users. It provides the feature of unlimited social connections. It also supports custom domains for the application 

B2B (Professional) 

The professional plan is for $240/mo. This plan also includes up to 10,000 external monthly active users. Through a professional plan, you can have access to professional multi-factor authentication and also support external databases.

Auth0 also provides a customized quote for enterprises. These include support for custom connections and user tiers. With advanced deployment options available, you can also have enterprise support for the best practices. 

Security 

Security can be implemented in various ways with the help of the Auth0 feature- role-based access control.  You can also build your own security mechanism as per your requirements with the help of spring security or JWT features. 

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Conclusion 

In conclusion, there are many challenges in the field of authentication and authorization. However, Auth0 can help address these challenges by providing a more secure and efficient way to authenticate and authorize users. 

Content Team

This blog is from Mindbowser‘s content team – a group of individuals coming together to create pieces that you may like. If you have feedback, please drop us a message on contact@mindbowser.com

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