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Authenticating to Azure AD in daemon apps with certificates

Letzte Aktualisierung: 30.04.2018
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About this sample

Overview

In this sample, a .NET core console application (TodoListDaemonWithCert-core) calls an ASP.Net Core 2.0 Web API (TodoListService) using its app identity. This scenario is useful for situations where headless or unattended job or process needs to run as an application identity, instead of as a user's identity. The application uses the Active Directory Authentication Library (ADAL) to get a token from Azure AD using the OAuth 2.0 client credential flow, where the client credential is a certificate.

This sample is the equivalent, in .NET Core, to dotnet-daemon-certificate-credential, which is proposed for the .NET desktop.

Looking for previous versions of this code sample? Check out the tags on the releases GitHub page.

Scenario

Once the service started, when you start the TodoListDaemon desktop application, it repeatedly:

  • adds items to the todo list maintained by the service,
  • lists the existing items.

No user interaction is involved.

How to run this sample

To run this sample, you'll need:

  • Visual Studio 2017 or another editor. See Get Started with .NET Core for the list of tools you might want to use depending on your platform
  • An Internet connection
  • An Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) tenant. For more information on how to get an Azure AD tenant, see How to get an Azure AD tenant
  • A user account in your Azure AD tenant. This sample will not work with a Microsoft account (formerly Windows Live account). Therefore, if you signed in to the Azure portal with a Microsoft account and have never created a user account in your directory before, you need to do that now.

Step 1: Clone or download this repository

You can clone this repository from Visual Studio. Alternatively, from your shell or command line, use:

git clone https://github.com/Azure-Samples/active-directory-dotnetcore-daemon-certificate-credential.git

Given that the name of the sample is pretty long, and so are the name of the referenced NuGet pacakges, you might want to clone it in a folder close to the root of your hard drive, to avoid file size limitations on Windows.

Step 2: Register the sample with your Azure Active Directory tenant, create a certificate, and configure the code

There are two projects in this sample. Each needs to be separately registered in your Azure AD tenant. To register these projects, you can:

  • either follow the steps in the paragraphs below (Step 2 and Step 3)
  • or use PowerShell scripts that:
    • automatically create for you the Azure AD applications and related objects (passwords, permissions, dependencies)
    • modify the Visual Studio projects' configuration files.

If you want to use this automation, read the instructions in App Creation Scripts

For Windows Server 2012, creating a certificate with PowerShell is slightly different: See issue #37

First step: choose the Azure AD tenant where you want to create your applications

As a first step you'll need to:

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.
  2. On the top bar, click on your account and under the Directory list, choose the Active Directory tenant where you wish to register your application.
  3. Click on All services in the left-hand nav, and choose Azure Active Directory.

In the next steps, you might need the tenant name (or directory name) or the tenant ID (or directory ID). These are presented in the Properties of the Azure Active Directory window respectively as Name and Directory ID

Register the service app (TodoListService)

  1. In the Azure Active Directory pane, click on App registrations and choose New application registration.
  2. Enter a friendly name for the application, for example 'TodoListService' and select 'Web app / API' as the Application Type.
  3. For the sign-on URL, enter the base URL for the sample, which is by default https://localhost:44351/.
  4. Click on Create to create the application.
  5. In the succeeding page, Find the Application ID value and copy it to the clipboard. You'll need it to configure the Visual Studio configuration file for this project.

Register the client app (TodoListDaemon-Core)

  1. In the Azure Active Directory pane, click on App registrations and choose New application registration.
  2. Enter a friendly name for the application, for example 'TodoListDaemon' and select 'Web app / API' as the Application Type. > Even if this is a desktop application, this is a confidential client application hence the Application Type
  3. For the Redirect URI, enter https://<your_tenant_name>/TodoListDaemon, replacing <your_tenant_name> with the name of your Azure AD tenant.
  4. Click on Create to create the application.
  5. In the succeeding page, Find the Application ID value and copy it to the clipboard. You'll need it to configure the Visual Studio configuration file for this project.

Create a self-signed certificate

To complete this step, you will use the New-SelfSignedCertificate Powershell command. You can find more information about the New-SelfSignedCertificat command here.

Open PowerShell and run New-SelfSignedCertificate with the following parameters to create a self-signed certificate in the user certificate store on your computer:

$cert=New-SelfSignedCertificate -Subject "CN=TodoListDaemonWithCert" -CertStoreLocation "Cert:\CurrentUser\My"  -KeyExportPolicy Exportable -KeySpec Signature

If needed, you can later export this certificate using the "Manage User Certificate" MMC snap-in accessible from the Windows Control Panel. You can also add other options to generate the certificate in a different store such as the Computer or service store (See How to: View Certificates with the MMC Snap-in).

Add the certificate as a key for the TodoListDaemon application in Azure AD

Generate a textual file containing the certificate credentials in a form consumable by AzureAD

Copy and paste the following lines in the same PowerShell window. They generate a text file in the current folder containing information that you can use to upload your certificate to Azure AD:

$bin = $cert.RawData
$base64Value = [System.Convert]::ToBase64String($bin)
$bin = $cert.GetCertHash()
$base64Thumbprint = [System.Convert]::ToBase64String($bin)
$keyid = [System.Guid]::NewGuid().ToString()
$jsonObj = @{customKeyIdentifier=$base64Thumbprint;keyId=$keyid;type="AsymmetricX509Cert";usage="Verify";value=$base64Value}
$keyCredentials=ConvertTo-Json @($jsonObj) | Out-File "keyCredentials.txt"

The content of the generated "keyCredentials.txt" file has the following schema:

[
    {
        "customKeyIdentifier": "$base64Thumbprint_from_above",
        "keyId": "$keyid_from_above",
        "type": "AsymmetricX509Cert",
        "usage": "Verify",
        "value":  "$base64Value_from_above"
    }
]
Associate the certificate credentials with the Azure AD Application

To associate the certificate credential with the TodoListDaemon app object in Azure AD, you'll need to edit the application manifest. In the Azure portal app registrations for the click on Manifest. An editor opens enabling you to edit the manifest. You need to replace the value of the keyCredentials property (that is [] if you don't have any certificate credentials yet), with the content of the keyCredential.txt file

To do this replacement in the manifest, you have two options:

  • Option 1: Edit the manifest in place by clicking Edit, replacing the keyCredentials value, and then clicking Save. > Note that if you refresh the web page, the key is displayed with different properties than what you have input. In particular, you can now see the endDate, and stateDate, and the value is shown as null. This is normal.

  • Option 2: Download the manifest to your computer, edit it with your favorite text editor, save a copy of it, and Upload this copy. You might want to choose this option if you want to keep track of the history of the manifest.

Note that the keyCredentials property is multi-valued, so you may upload multiple certificates for richer key management. In that case copy only the text between the curly brackets.

  1. Configure Permissions for your application. To that extent, in the Settings menu, choose the 'Required permissions' section and then, click on Add, then Select an API, and type TodoListService in the textbox. Then, click on Select Permissions and select Access 'TodoListService'.

Step 3: Configure the sample to use your Azure AD tenant

In the steps below, "ClientID" is the same as "Application ID" or "AppId".

Open the solution in Visual Studio to configure the projects

Configure the service project

  1. Open the TodoListService\appsettings.json file
  2. Find the app key Domain and replace the existing value with your AAD tenant name.
  3. Find the app key TenantId and replace the existing value with Tenant ID.
  4. Find the app key ClientId and replace the existing value with the application ID (clientId) of the TodoListService application copied from the Azure portal.

Configure the client project

  1. Open the TodoListDaemonWithCert-Core\appsettings.json file
  2. Find the app key Tenant and replace the existing value with your AAD tenant name.
  3. Find the app key ClientId and replace the existing value with the application ID (clientId) of the TodoListDaemon application copied from the Azure portal.
  4. Find the app key CertName and replace the existing value with Certificate.
  5. Find the app key TodoListResourceId and replace the existing value with the application ID (clientId) of the TodoListService application copied from the Azure portal.
  6. Find the app key TodoListBaseAddress and replace the existing value with the base address of the TodoListService project (by default https://localhost:44351/).

Step 4: Run the sample

Option 1: Run the sample from Visual Studio

Clean the solution, rebuild the solution, and run it. You might want to go into the solution properties and set both projects as startup projects, with the service project starting first. To do this, you can for instance:

  1. Right click on the solution in the solution explorer and choose Set Startup projects from the context menu.
  2. choose Multiple startup projects
    • TodoListDaemonWithCert: Start
    • TodoListService: Start Start without debugging
  3. In the Visual Studio tool bar, press the start button: a web window appears running the service and a console application runs the daemon application under debugger. you can set breakpoints to understand the call to ADAL.NET.

The daemon will add items to its To Do list and then read them back.

Option 2: Run the sample from any platform

See Get Started with .NET Core to learn how to run the sample on Linux and Mac (dotnet run)

How to deploy this sample to Azure

This project has one WebApp / Web API projects. To deploy them to Azure Web Sites, you'll need, for each one, to:

  • create an Azure Web Site
  • publish the Web App / Web APIs to the web site, and
  • update its client(s) to call the web site instead of IIS Express.

Create and Publish the TodoListService to an Azure Web Site

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.
  2. Click New in the top left-hand corner, select Web + Mobile --> Web App, select the hosting plan and region, and give your web site a name, for example, TodoListService-contoso.azurewebsites.net. Click Create Web Site.
  3. Once the web site is created, click on it to manage it. For this set of steps, download the publish profile and save it. Other deployment mechanisms, such as from source control, can also be used.
  4. Switch to Visual Studio and go to the TodoListService project. Right click on the project in the Solution Explorer and select Publish. Click Import, and import the publish profile that you downloaded.
  5. On the Connection tab, update the Destination URL so that it is https, for example https://TodoListService-contoso.azurewebsites.net. Click Next.
  6. On the Settings tab, make sure Enable Organizational Authentication is NOT selected. Click Publish.
  7. Visual Studio will publish the project and automatically open a browser to the URL of the project. If you see the default web page of the project, the publication was successful.

Update the Active Directory tenant application registration for TodoListService

  1. Navigate to the Azure portal.
  2. On the top bar, click on your account and under the Directory list, choose the Active Directory tenant containing the TodoListService application.
  3. On the applications tab, select the TodoListService application.
  4. From the Settings -> Properties and Settings -> Reply URLs menus, update the Sign-On URL, and Reply URL fields to the address of your service, for example https://TodoListService-contoso.azurewebsites.net. Save the configuration.

Update the TodoListDaemon to call the TodoListService Running in Azure Web Sites

  1. In Visual Studio, go to the TodoListDaemon project.
  2. Open TodoListDaemonWithCert-Core\appsettings.json. Only one change is needed - update the todo:TodoListBaseAddress key value to be the address of the website you published, for example, https://TodoListService-contoso.azurewebsites.net.
  3. Run the client! If you are trying multiple different client types (for example, .Net, Windows Store, Android, iOS) you can have them all call this one published web API.

NOTE: Remember, the To Do list is stored in memory in this TodoListService sample. Azure Web Sites will spin down your web site if it is inactive, and your To Do list will get emptied. Also, if you increase the instance count of the web site, requests will be distributed among the instances. To Do will, therefore, not be the same on each instance.

About the Code

Code for the client

The code acquiring a token is entirely located in the TodoListDaemonWithCert-Core\Program.cs file. The AuthenticationContext is created line 55

authContext = new AuthenticationContext(authority);

Then a ClientAssertionCertificate is instantiated line 69, from the TodoListDaemonWithCert-Core application's Client ID and a certificate (cert) which was found from the certificate store (see lines 72-89).

certCred = new ClientAssertionCertificate(clientId, cert);

This instance of ClientAssertionCertificate is used in the GetAccessToken() method is as an argument to AcquireTokenAsync to get a token for the Web API (line 125) GetAccessToken() is itself called from PostTodo() and GetTodo() methods.

result = await authContext.AcquireTokenAsync(todoListResourceId, certCred);

This token is then used as a bearer token to call the Web API (line 164 and 194)

httpClient.DefaultRequestHeaders.Authorization = new AuthenticationHeaderValue("Bearer", result.AccessToken)

How to recreate this sample

First, in Visual Studio, create an empty solution to host the projects. Then, follow these steps to create each project.

Creating the TodoListService Project

  1. In the solution, create a new ASP.Net MVC web API project called TodoListService and while creating the project, click the Change Authentication button, select Organizational Accounts, Cloud - Single Organization, enter the name of your Azure AD tenant, and set the Access Level to Single Sign On. You will be prompted to sign in to your Azure AD tenant. NOTE: You must sign in with a user that is in the tenant; you cannot, during this step, sign in with a Microsoft account.
  2. In the Models folder, add a new class called TodoItem.cs. Copy the implementation of TodoItem from this sample into the class.
  3. Add a new, empty, Web API 2 controller called TodoListController.
  4. Copy the implementation of the TodoListController from this sample into the controller. Don't forget to add the [Authorize] attribute to the class.
  5. In TodoListController resolving missing references by adding using statements for System.Collections.Concurrent, TodoListService.Models, System.Security.Claims.

Creating the TodoListDaemon Project

See how the code was created for the service in the active-directory-dotnet-native-aspnetcore sample, except that here the controller is not expecting any user.

Community Help and Support

Use Stack Overflow to get support from the community. Ask your questions on Stack Overflow first and browse existing issues to see if someone has asked your question before. Make sure that your questions or comments are tagged with [adal dotnet].

If you find a bug in the sample, please raise the issue on GitHub Issues.

To provide a recommendation, visit the following User Voice page.

Contributing

If you'd like to contribute to this sample, see CONTRIBUTING.MD.

This project has adopted the Microsoft Open Source Code of Conduct. For more information, see the Code of Conduct FAQ or contact opencode@microsoft.com with any additional questions or comments.

More information

For more information, see ADAL.NET's conceptual documentation:

For more information about how OAuth 2.0 protocols work in this scenario and other scenarios, see Authentication Scenarios for Azure AD.

FAQ