For more information about JWTs, see the JWT overview and API docs.

Before you begin

  1. Complete the multicluster getting started guide to set up the following testing environment.

    • Three clusters along with environment variables for the clusters and their Kubernetes contexts.
    • The Gloo meshctl CLI, along with other CLI tools such as kubectl and istioctl.
    • The Gloo management server in the management cluster, and the Gloo agents in the workload clusters.
    • Istio installed in the workload clusters.
    • A simple Gloo workspace setup.
  2. Install Bookinfo and other sample apps.

Configure JWT policies

You can apply a JWT policy at the destination or route level, but you cannot apply multiple JWT policies to the same destination or to the same route in a route table. If you try to apply multiple policies, only the policy that you created first takes effect. In general, you apply policies to routes to protect ingress traffic through the gateway, and to destinations to protect traffic within the service mesh. For more information, see Applying policies.

The following example is for a basic JWT policy with a local JWT issuer and inline public key. The policy does the following:

  • Enables JWT authentication for the selected destinations.
  • Adds the value of an org claim from the JWT payload to an X-Org header in the request, if present.
  • Adds the value of an email claim from the JWT payload to an X-Email header in the request, if present.
  • Checks requests by using the token found in the X-Auth header with the prefix Bearer <token>, or in a query parameter auth_token=<token>. Note that if a request has both the header and query parameter, both tokens must be valid for Gloo Mesh Enterprise to accept the request.

Review the following table to understand this configuration. For more information, see the API docs.

SettingDescription
applyToDestinationsConfigure which destinations to apply the policy to, by using labels. Destinations can be a Kubernetes service, VirtualDestination, or ExternalService. If you do not specify any destinations or routes, the policy applies to all destinations in the workspace by default. If you do not specify any destinations but you do specify a route, the policy applies to the route but to no destinations.
phaseSet when to apply the JWT filter in the request chain, either before (preAuthz) or after (postAuthz) authorization to have access to the JWT token. You can also set the priority if you have multiple policies in the same phase. The lowest numbered priority is run first. For more information, see Phase considerations. This example sets no priority, so the default value of zero is used.
providersSet up the JWT providers for the policy. You can name the providers to help you map the provider when viewing logs to debug. However, the provider name does not affect the policy’s behavior and cannot be used by other resources to select the policy. In this example, only one provider is set up, with the name dev-example. For an example with more than one provider, see Multiple JWT providers.
claimsToHeadersOptionally set the claims from the JWT payload that you want to extract and add as headers to the request before the request is forwarded to the upstream destination. This example extracts one claim and adds it as a header.
claimsToHeaders.appendEnter a boolean value to add a claim’s value if the header exists in the request. Use true to append the claim’s value to the header, and false to overwrite any existing value in the header.
claimsToHeaders.claimEnter the name of the claim in the JWT payload to get the value for the header. In this example, the claim is org.
claimsToHeaders.headerEnter the request header that the value of the claim is copied to. In this example, the header is x-org.
issuerOptionally, set the JWT issuer, usually as a URL or email address. If set, the iss field in the JWT token must match this field, or else the request is denied. If unset, the iss field in the JWT token is not checked. In this example, the issuer is an internal developer portal, https://dev-example.com.
localProvide the PEM-formatted public key to verify the JWT token. In this example, the public key is written inline to the policy for testing purposes. For production scenarios, you can set a remote reference to your JSON Web Key Set (JWKS) server instead of this local setting.
tokenSourceSpecify where Gloo Mesh Enterprise looks for the token to use for JWT authentication. If unset, the default locations are tried in the following order:
  1. The authorization header X-Auth with the value Bearer <token>.
  2. The query parameter for access_token, such as https://<path>?access_token=<token>.
You can set up multiple JWT tokens to verify per request. If a request has multiple header and query parameters, all tokens must be valid for Gloo Mesh Enterprise to accept the request.
tokenSource.headersSpecify the header to get the JWT from. By default, Gloo Mesh Enterprise uses the authorization header X-Auth and expects a value with a prefix of Bearer <token>. In this example, the header and prefix are explicitly set to the default values, X-Auth and 'Bearer '.
tokenSource.queryParametersSpecify a query parameter to get the token from. The default value is access_token. This example uses a different query parameter, auth_token.

Try out JWT policies

To verify that the JWT policy protects your destinations, you must have a JWT and a set of keys to validate the JWT. Choose from the following options:

Use sample keys and JWT

For quick testing, you can use sample keys and a dev-example JWT. For more details about the sample JWT, see the GitHub readme.

  1. Apply the JWT policy. For more information about this policy, see the configuration example.

      kubectl apply -f https://gist.githubusercontent.com/artberger/efc0c2271052fba00636a19113b885ab/raw/0584f0d9a0f3cb46a4adb4e81b447ed8c56d06ca/jwt-policy-basic.yaml
      
  2. Send a request to the httpbin app without any authentication. Notice that your request is denied with a 401 error.Create a temporary curl pod in the bookinfo namespace, so that you can test the app setup. You can also use this method in Kubernetes 1.23 or later, but an ephemeral container might be simpler.

    1. Create the curl pod.
        kubectl run -it -n httpbin --context ${REMOTE_CONTEXT1} curl --image=curlimages/curl:7.73.0 --rm  -- sh
        
    2. Send a request to the httpbin app.
        http://httpbin:8000/get
        

    Example output:

      HTTP/1.1 401 Unauthorized
    www-authenticate: Bearer realm="http://httpbin.httpbin:8000/get"
    ...
    Jwt is missing
      
  3. Get a sample JWT that is preconfigured to meet the validation requirements that you set in the JWT policy for the dev-example provider.

      TOKEN=$(curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/solo-io/gloo-mesh-use-cases/main/gloo-gateway/jwt/dev-example.jwt -s) && echo "$TOKEN" | cut -d '.' -f2 - | base64 --decode
      

    Example output:

      {"iss":"https://dev.example.com","exp":4804324736,"iat":1648651136,"org":"internal","email":"dev1@solo.io","group":"engineering","scope":"is:developer%  
      
  4. Try the request to the httpbin app again, this time with your JWT token. Notice that your request is now accepted!

    1. Send a request to the app.
        curl -H "X-Auth: Bearer ${TOKEN}" -v http://httpbin:8000/get
        
    2. Exit the temporary pod. The pod deletes itself.
        exit
        

    In the example output you get back a 200 response. You also can see the X-Email and X-Org headers that you appended in the claimsToHeaders section of the policy.

      HTTP/1.1 200 OK 
    ...
    {
    "args": {}, 
    "headers": {
     "Accept": [
       "*/*"
     ],
     "Host": [
       "httpbin.httpbin:8000"
     ],
     "X-Email": [
       "dev1@solo.io"
     ],
     "X-Org": [
       "internal"
     ],
     ...
      
  5. You can optionally remove the resources that you set up as part of this guide.
      kubectl delete jwtpolicy -n httpbin jwt-policy
      

Create your own keys and JWT

To learn more about the basics, you can walk through steps to create your own private-public key pair with OpenSSL. Then, you use jwt.io to configure a JWT.

  1. Save the example JWT policy for the httpbin destination. For more information about this policy, see the configuration example.

      wget -L https://gist.githubusercontent.com/artberger/efc0c2271052fba00636a19113b885ab/raw/0584f0d9a0f3cb46a4adb4e81b447ed8c56d06ca/jwt-policy-basic.yaml
      
  2. Create a private-public key pair by using OpenSSL. You use this pair to create your own JWT token.

    1. Create a private key to sign the JWT.
        openssl genrsa 2048 > private-key.pem
        
    2. Extract the public key from the private key.
        openssl rsa -in private-key.pem -pubout
        
  3. Open the downloaded JWT policy.

      open jwt-policy_basic.yaml
      
  4. In the inline section, copy in the public key value from the output of the previous step, including the BEGIN/END parts. Make sure the indentation is kept.

  5. Create the JWT policy with your new public key value, which is used to verify the JWT token in subsequent requests.

      kubectl apply -f jwt-policy_basic.yaml
      
  6. Create a JWT that uses your private key. Refer to the following image to help understand the UI location of the steps.

    JWT token

    1. In your browser, go to https://jwt.io/. For the subsequent steps, you can refer to the following image.
    2. From the Algorithm dropdown, select RS256.
    3. From the Decoded section, scroll to the Payload: Data pane. Replace the content by pasting the following JWT payload information.
        {
        "iss": "https://dev.example.com",
        "exp": 4804324736,
        "iat": 1648651136,
        "org": "internal",
        "email": "dev1@solo.io",
        "group": "engineering",
        "scope": "is:developer"
      }
        
    4. From the Decoded section, scroll to the Verify Signature pane. In the first input box for -----BEGIN PUBLIC KEY-----, replace the content by pasting the value of your public key from the previous output of your terminal.
    5. In your terminal, copy the contents of your private key.
        cat private-key.pem | pbcopy
        
    6. Return to your browser and go to the Verify Signature pane in the Decoded section. In the second input box for -----BEGIN PRIVATE KEY-----, replace the content by pasting the value of your private key.
    7. Optional: Click Share JWT and paste the JWT values into a file to refer to later.
    8. From the Encoded section, copy the token value to your clipboard, such as eyJhbG.....
    9. Add the token value to an environment variable on your local machine.
        export TOKEN="Bearer <token_value>"
        
  7. Send a request to the httpbin app without any authentication. Notice that your request is denied with a 401 error.Create a temporary curl pod in the bookinfo namespace, so that you can test the app setup. You can also use this method in Kubernetes 1.23 or later, but an ephemeral container might be simpler.

    1. Create the curl pod.
        kubectl run -it -n httpbin --context ${REMOTE_CONTEXT1} curl --image=curlimages/curl:7.73.0 --rm  -- sh
        
    2. Send a request to the httpbin app.
        http://httpbin:8000/get
        

    Example output:

      HTTP/1.1 401 Unauthorized
    www-authenticate: Bearer realm="http://httpbin.httpbin:8000/get"
    ...
    Jwt is missing
      
  8. Try the request to the httpbin app again, this time with your JWT token. Notice that your request is now accepted!

    1. Send a request to the app.
        curl -H "X-Auth: Bearer ${TOKEN}" -v http://httpbin:8000/get
        
    2. Exit the temporary pod. The pod deletes itself.
        exit
        

    In the example output you get back a 200 response. You also can see the X-Email and X-Org headers that you appended in the claimsToHeaders section of the policy.

      HTTP/1.1 200 OK 
    ...
    {
    "args": {}, 
    "headers": {
     "Accept": [
       "*/*"
     ],
     "Host": [
       "httpbin.httpbin:8000"
     ],
     "X-Email": [
       "dev1@solo.io"
     ],
     "X-Org": [
       "internal"
     ],
     ...
      

Cleanup

You can optionally remove the resources that you set up as part of this guide.
  kubectl delete jwtpolicy -n httpbin jwt-policy