Validating JWT tokens with RS256 signatures in PL/SQL
JSON Web Token (JWT) is a popular open standard that enables web applications to transfer information between parties asn JSON object. For example single-sign on authentication information. The information can be trusted, because the token also includes a signature. Verifying this signature is essential, otherwise anyone can fake the token contents.
Oracle APEX does provide APEX_JWT package, which handles the parsing and validity checking very well, but it can only verify the signature, if JWT was created using HS256 signature. HS256 is loosing popularity, since it is based on symmetric cryptography, meaning all parties must have access to the same encryption key.
Another, much more secure signature is now gaining popularity, based on RSA public key encryption – RS256. Here JWT is signed using a private key, but it can be verified using the corresponding public key. As the name suggests, public key is completely public and can be downloaded from the internet using kid attribute value present in JWT header (this service is called JWKS – JSON Web Key Sets). This is also the signature system AWS Cognito uses.
At the time of writing (APEX 23.1 and Oracle database 19.20), I did not find and ready code on the internet for verifying JWT RS256 signatures – so I had to create one. It lets APEX_JWT do the JWT parsing and validity checking, but I needed to add RS256 signature checking and downloading keys from JWKS store. It is intended to be used from APEX flows.
A quick example how to use the package as APEX page sentry function in custom authentication scheme.
create or replace FUNCTION JWT_PAGE_SENTRY RETURN BOOLEAN AS v_required_group varchar2(30):= 'important_people'; -- Group needed to access the app v_iss varchar2(200):= 'https://cognito-idp.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/eu-central-1_ZZxxZZxx11'; -- ISS that issued the JWT, YOU MUST CHANGE THIS to point to your own ISS jwt_cookie owa_cookie.cookie; v_jwt_payload varchar2(2000); v_jwt_json json_object_t; v_groups json_array_t; v_group_found boolean:= false; BEGIN -- Do JWT token validation and check that correct group is granted to user -- 2023 Ilmar Kerm jwt_cookie:= owa_cookie.get('JWT_COOKIE_NAME'); IF jwt_cookie.vals.COUNT = 0 THEN apex_debug.error('JWT session cookie not found'); RETURN false; END IF; IF apex_jwt_rs256.decode_and_validate(jwt_cookie.vals(1), v_iss, v_jwt_payload) THEN -- JWT validated, now check the required group v_jwt_json:= json_object_t.parse(v_jwt_payload); v_groups:= v_jwt_json.get_array('cognito:groups'); FOR i IN 0..v_groups.get_size - 1 LOOP IF v_groups.get_string(i) = v_required_group THEN v_group_found:= true; EXIT; END IF; END LOOP; IF NOT v_group_found THEN apex_debug.error('Required group is missing from JWT: '||v_required_group); RETURN false; END IF; IF v_jwt_json.get_string('token_use') != 'access' THEN apex_debug.error('Invalid value for JWT attribute token_use'); RETURN false; END IF; IF V('APP_USER') IS NULL OR V('APP_USER') = 'nobody' OR V('APP_USER') != v_jwt_json.get_string('username') THEN APEX_CUSTOM_AUTH.DEFINE_USER_SESSION( p_user => v_jwt_json.get_string('username'), p_session_id => APEX_CUSTOM_AUTH.GET_NEXT_SESSION_ID ); END IF; RETURN true; ELSE RETURN false; END IF; END JWT_PAGE_SENTRY;