A token plays a crucial role in enhancing the overall security mechanism of an organization that helps to deliver flawless and secure authentication and authorization on their website or application.
However, there’s much confusion regarding relying on access tokens. Businesses find it challenging to choose between OpenID Connect and OAuth 2.0.
As a result, many organizations deploy insecure web applications that compromise their consumers’ identities and crucial business information.
It’s always better to learn about the aspects of tokens and leverage the best token management mechanism that offers robust security.
This post will help you better understand what a token is, what is a JWT, and its pros that will help you decide why you need to invoke the potential of JWT for your API product.
A token is a digitally encoded signature used to authenticate and authorize a user to access specific resources on a network.
A token is always generated in the form of an OTP (One-Time Password), which depicts that it could only be used once and is generated randomly for every transaction.
The token-based authentication allows users to verify their unique identity, and in return, they receive a unique token that provides access to specific resources for a particular time frame.
Users can easily access the website or network for which the token is issued and need not enter the credentials again and again until the permit expires.
Tokens are widely used for regular online transactions for enhancing overall security and accuracy.
JWT (JSON Web Token) is a token format. It is digitally signed, self-contained, and compact. It provides a convenient mechanism for transferring data.
JWT is not inherently secure, but the use of JWT can ensure the authenticity of the message so long as the signature is verified and the integrity of the payload can be guaranteed. JWT is often used for stateless authentication in simple use cases involving non-complex systems.
On the other hand, OAuth 2.0 is an authorization protocol that builds upon the original OAuth protocol created in 2006, arising out of a need for authorization flows serving different applications from the web and mobile apps to IoT.
OAuth 2.0 specifies the flows and standards under which authorization token exchanges should occur. OAuth 2.0 does not encompass authentication, only authorization.
- Information Exchange - JWT can be used between two parties to exchange information. JWT is digitally signed and can be used in a secure public/private key pair. Data is verified using the public key on the other end.
- Authentication- JWT can contain user information in the payload and be used in the session to authenticate the user. Once authenticated, users can access protected applications using the JWT included in the request. So, every request will be authenticated by verifying the JWT.
Since tokens like JWT are stateless, only a secret key can validate it when received at a server-side application, which was used to create it. Hence they’re considered the best and the most secure way of offering authentication.
Tokens act as a storage for the user’s credentials, and when the token travels between the server or the web browser, the stored credentials are never compromised.
As we know that tokens must be stored on the user’s end, they offer a scalable solution.
Moreover, the server just needs to create and verify the tokens and the information, which means that maintaining more users on a website or application at once is possible without any hassle.
Flexibility and enhanced overall performance are other vital aspects of JWT-based authentication. They can be used across multiple servers and can offer authentication for various websites and applications at once.
This helps in encouraging more collaboration opportunities between enterprises and platforms for a flawless experience.
The security of consumer identity is becoming a significant challenge for online platforms collecting consumer information.
JWT can be a game-changer when it comes to performing secure authentication.
The precise use of secure token management through a robust consumer identity and access management (CIAM) solution can help businesses secure consumer information without hampering the overall user experience.
JWT can be the right option in most scenarios if implemented correctly and securely by following the proper security measures.